Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Un-Americans: Jews, the Blacklist, and Stoolpigeon Culture

“A candidate for instant classic of Jewish cultural studies, Joseph Litvak’s The Un-Americans displays the great capacity for work in that mode to revise our understanding of political-cultural history tout court. Realizing the originating ambition of Jewish cultural studies to arrive at a kind of Jew theory, Litvak’s book articulates the interanimations of queer and Jew theories in its reading of the Jew/queer as un-American comicosmopolitan through his frequently brilliant analyses of the performances of American Jewish writers and actors before the House Un-American Activities Committee. It would be, however, a violation of the very spirit of this spirited book were one to fail to note the gifts of Litvak as a comic writer himself. To misquote a line from the book, the Jewish issues of Litvak’s work are its universal issues.”—Daniel Boyarin, University of California, Berkeley... Book rec of the day.