The quest for Jewish anthropology in Germany post-1945

Dani Kranz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


While some of the founders of American cultural anthropology and British social anthropology were part of the transregional Jewish and non-Jewish German speaking community, Jewish anthropology, and anthropology by or on Jews in German-speaking countries, was seriously impacted by the Shoah. Some sources in the area of historical anthropology engage with Jews, who were anthropologists, and who were murdered or who fled, others focus on the appropriation of Jewish cultural heritage and zoom in on discourses about Jews. Living Jews are oftentimes covered in dissertations, after which the nascent ethnologist/anthropologist vanishes from academia, or leaves the country: research on living Jews seems an unsustainable career move. This paper is a first attempt to sketch out the developments of Jewish anthropology–in the broadest sense–in Germany post-1945. It will pay due attention to structures, societal, social, and academic; the place of anthropology within these structures; and Jews, as an ethno-religious group being researched by anthropologists (and other ethnographers); and the anthropologists/ethnographers who research them. By paying close attention to the anthropologists and ethnographers themselves, it is possible to “map the margins” (Crenshaw 1991) of anthropological and ethnographic work in an emotionalized, ideologized, and politicized field, a field that is indicative of post-genocidal intergroup relations in situ.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)65-89
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Modern Jewish Studies
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2024


  • Germany
  • Jews
  • gender
  • history of anthropology
  • memory politics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • History
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations


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