Are They Jews or Asians? A Cautionary Tale about Mountain Jewish Ethnography
In this article, Sascha L. Goluboff investigates the development of ethnographic knowledge about Mountain Jews in Azerbaijan to provide new ways of understanding who Mountain Jews are and to provoke scholars to reflect critically on empire, ethnicity, and religion in the Caucasus. Following Nicholas B. Dirks's recent call for anthropologists to pay attention to the "textual field that is the pretext to fieldwork," Goluboff analyzes how the work of the first ethnographers of Mountain Jews-Yehuda Chernyi (1835-1880) and Il'ia Anisimov (1862-1928)-created an image of Mountain Jews as both "savage Asians" and "primordial Jews" and how subsequent scholarship has reinforced this dichotomy as modern "fact." Goluboff believes that by paying more attention to the intersections among ethnic groups and refraining from making moral judgments, it is possible to open up new ground for creatively researching the relations between Islam and Judaism in the Caucasus.
Are They Jews or Asians? A Cautionary Tale about Mountain Jewish Ethnography. 2004: 113-140. https://archive.jpr.org.uk/object-aze3