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A Culture of Tough Jews

Rhetorical Regeneration and the Politics of Identity

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David Moscowitz

From brutal Nazi killers to Hanukkah heroes in the ’hood, tough Jews refute images of doomed Holocaust victims, wandering Jews of exile before them, and the post-war ‘nice Jewish boys’ who followed. They foster belligerent responses to polemics of fear and self-hatred, and as such, materialize as a challenge for postmodern cultural identity. A Culture of Tough Jews reframes the tough Jew as an enduring act of rhetorical regeneration by reifying a related figure, the vital Jew. As corrective to the tough Jew, the vital Jew encourages robust cultural production and dialogue. For audiences of rhetoric and cultural studies, the book offers critical and theoretical study of rhetorical regeneration, including original constructs of postmodern blackface and transformative performativity, as a resource for contemporary rhetorical invention. It also constitutes a case study for the postmodern critique of identity by invoking concerns of (post)assimilation, gender and power, and the social construction of race, ethnicity, class, and power to advance conversations on fractious cultural exigencies. A Culture of Tough Jews is a spirited call for postmodern cultural vitality that responds to contemporary politics of identity and memory.
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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Moscowitz, David. A culture of tough Jews: rhetorical regeneration and the politics of identity / David Moscowitz. pages cm. — (Critical intercultural communication studies; v. 15) Includes bibliographical references and index. 1. Jews—Identity. 2. Jewish criminals. 3. Toughness (Personality trait). I. Title. DS143.M67 305.892’4—dc23 2014010340 ISBN 978-1-4331-2629-1 (hardcover) ISBN 978-1-4539-1362-8 (e-book) ISSN 1528-6118

Bibliographic information published by Die Deutsche Nationalbibliothek. Die Deutsche Nationalbibliothek lists this publication in the “Deutsche Nationalbibliografie”; detailed bibliographic data are available on the Internet at http://dnb.d-nb.de/.

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