The Jews’ Indian: Colonialism, Pluralism, and Belonging in America (Paperback)

The Jews’ Indian: Colonialism, Pluralism, and Belonging in America By David S. Koffman Cover Image

The Jews’ Indian: Colonialism, Pluralism, and Belonging in America (Paperback)


Special Order - Subject to Availability
Winner of the 2020 Jordan Schnitzer Book Award in Social Science, Anthropology, and Folklore​
Honorable Mention, 2021 Saul Viener Book Prize​

The Jews’ Indian investigates the history of American Jewish relationships with Native Americans, both in the realm of cultural imagination and in face-to-face encounters. These two groups’ exchanges were numerous and diverse, proving at times harmonious when Jews’ and Natives people’s economic and social interests aligned, but discordant and fraught at other times. American Jews could be as exploitative of Native cultural, social, and political issues as other American settlers, and historian David Koffman argues that these interactions both unsettle and historicize the often triumphant consensus history of American Jewish life. Focusing on the ways Jewish class mobility and civic belonging were wrapped up in the dynamics of power and myth making that so severely impacted Native Americans, this books is provocative and timely, the first history to critically analyze Jewish participation in, and Jews’ grappling with the legacies of Native American history and the colonial project upon which America rests.
DAVID S. KOFFMAN is an assistant professor of history at York University in Toronto, Canada. He is also the editor-in-chief of the journal Canadian Jewish Studies / Études juives canadiennes.
Product Details ISBN: 9781978800861
ISBN-10: 197880086X
Publisher: Rutgers University Press
Publication Date: February 8th, 2019
Pages: 286
Language: English
"The Jews' Indian bristles with original insights and suggests new ways of thinking about whiteness, and encounters between settlers and natives, in American history."
— Derek Penslar

"A fascinating account…Koffman masterfully reveals the complexities and contradictions in American Jewish inter-ethnic relations. The Jews’ Indian raises important questions about Jews’ relationships to the project of American colonialism and the politics of race."
— Eliyahu Stern

"A major scholarly contribution, The Jews' Indian is endlessly fascinating and truly original.  Koffman’s book is complex, distinctive, and—refreshingly—free of abstract polemics and sterile judgmentalism."
— Robert D. Johnston

The Jews’ Indian represents the best scholarship to date on the complex historical relationship between these two tribal peoples about which little has been written.”
— Walter C. Fleming

"A groundbreaking study revealing the tensions of identifying with marginalized peoples while participating in the colonial work of empires, The Jews’ Indian has implications for nearly all arenas of Jewish history."
— Michael Alexander

"America’s Jewish Colonizers," a conversation with David S. Koffman by Hadas Binyamini
— Jewish Currents

"The Jews’ Indian examines these scenarios of cultural exchange, borrowing, and appropriation with sensitivity and a researcher’s skill and patience."
— Canadian Jewish News

"Throughout, Koffman’s deep and original work in the archive is in abundant evidence, and the moral thrust of his argument is crystalline."
— The Great Plains Quarterly

"The Jews’ Indian represents a significant achievement in American Jewish history that addresses a serious gap in prior scholarship and should hold broad appeal for readers in ethnic studies and modern Jewish history. As a bridge between “the literatures on white-Indian relations and Black-Jewish relations,” it deserves consideration for inclusion on graduate and advanced undergraduate syllabi in Jewish identity studies, American Jewish history, and modern Jewish historiography."
— American Jewish Archives Journal

"Koffman’s excellent book serves as invitation for Jews and Native peoples to dialogue in both Canada and the United States, to find common ground but also appreciate differences, not only in terms of culture but also in communal objectives, contrasting pluralism with sovereignty."
— Canadian Jewish Studies

"Koffman’s book offers readers, scholars, and students a powerful chance to remember the insidious workings of white supremacy on American Jewish communities, and how those Jewish communities then affect other people."
— Journal of Jewish Identities

"An important contribution to both the study of encounter, perception and transformation by Jewish Americans as they participated in the westward expansion of the United States."
— Australian Journal of Jewish Studies