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Postethnic Experience in Contemporary Jewish American Fiction

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Multiculturalism has meant something of a crisis for many Jews in the United States in that it has placed them in the paradoxical position of being part of the dominant white majority while they continue to maintain their particularity as an ethnic minority. Some scholars who subscribe to the ideal of a postethnic society as a means of resolving the divisiveness and fragmentation in multicultural America have, however, argued that this very dualism experienced by American Jews today may well point toward what they hope will come about in American society as a whole when it moves beyond multiculturalism. This essay explores some of the ways in which the contradictions experienced by Jewish Americans as members of an ethnic minority with majority status figure in recent Jewish American fiction. It concludes with a brief discussion of the possible implications of the anomalous position of American Jews for the place of contemporary Jewish writing within the rapidly changing canon of American literature.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Utrecht University

Publication date: January 1, 2002

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