Nathan P. Devir, Ph.D.

Devir photo

Research

Research Statement

My published research to date has investigated the sub-cultural particularities among divergent Jewish groups in order to illustrate the myriad ways in which varied interpretations of Jewish identity are codetermined. To do this, I have examined the conceptual and geopolitical frameworks through which Jews from differing backgrounds reference or reenvision ideologies about Jewish peoplehood, primarily by way of field-based, ethnographic analyses carried out in more than a dozen countries. Other methodologies, such as socio-historical criticism (especially involving postcolonial approaches) and hermeneutic, discourse, and communicative interaction analyses, have also been used.

Books:

Between Law and Grace: Messianic Jewish Movements in Sub-Saharan Africa (in progress; expected completion date: 2018).

New Children of Israel: Emerging Jewish Communities in an Era of Globalization. Salt Lake City: The University of Utah Press, forthcoming 2017.

Selected Journal Articles:

“African Judaizing Movements and the Question of Polygamy: Perspectives from Cameroon.” Journal of the Middle East and Africa 8.1 (2017): 75–96.

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/21520844.2017.1289496?journalCode=ujme20

“Exposing Pathology, Playing God: Parsing Psychosocial Discourse in ‘The Last Commander’ by A. B. Yehoshua.” Jewish Culture and History 15.3 (2014): 188–211.

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/1462169X.2014.973261

“Conceptions of Idolatry and Secular Art in Chaim Potok’s Asher Lev Novels.” Journal of Modern Jewish Studies 13.2 (2014): 150–166.

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/14725886.2014.918715

“History and Its Contagions: Rethinking the Legacy of Genesis 22 in A. B. Yehoshua’s ‘Early in the Summer of 1970.’” Biblical Reception 2 (2013): 229–251.

http://www.sheffieldphoenix.com/showbook.asp?bkid=241

“Maghrebian Feminism Meets the Bride of God.” Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion 29.2 (2013): 47–73.

http://www.fsrinc.org/article/1457/

“Reexamining the Allegorical Hermeneutic in A. B. Yehoshua’s A Late Divorce.” Religion and the Arts 16.5 (2012): 507–538.

http://booksandjournals.brillonline.com/content/journals/10.1163/15685292-12341237

Selected Book Chapters:

“Popular Perceptions of Israelite Genealogy in Madagascar: Dissociating Bio-racial Signifiers from Mainstream Jewish Religious Practice.” In African Jewish Journeys. Eds. Marla Brettschneider, Edith Bruder, and Magdel le Roux. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, forthcoming 2018.

“Propagating Modern Jewish Identity in Madagascar: A Contextual Analysis of One Community’s Discursive Strategies.” In Connected Jews: Expressions of Community in Analogue and Digital Culture. Eds. Caspar Battegay, Simon J. Bronner, and Andrea Lieber. Oxford: The Littman Library of Jewish Civilization, forthcoming 2018.

“The ‘Internet Jews’ of Cameroon: Inside the Digital Matrix of Globalized Judaism.” In The Shadow of Moses: New Jewish Movements in Africa and the Diaspora. Eds. Daniel Lis, William F. S. Miles, and Tudor Parfitt. Los Angeles: African Academic Press/Marymount Institute Press/Tsehai Publishers, 2016. 113–130.

http://www.store.tsehaipublishers.com/product_info.php/religion-spirituality/in-the-shadow-of-moses-p-168

“Origins and Motivations of Madagascar’s Normative Jewish Movement.” In Becoming Jewish: New Jews and Emerging Jewish Communities in a Globalized World. Eds. Netanel Fisher and Tudor Parfitt. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2016. 49–63.

http://www.cambridgescholars.com/becoming-jewish

“History and Responsibility: An Assessment of Potok’s ‘Non-Jewish’ I Am the Clay.” In Chaim Potok: Confronting Modernity through the Lens of Tradition. Ed. Daniel Walden. University Park: The Pennsylvania State University Press, 2013. 97–115.

http://www.psupress.org/books/titles/978-0-271-05981-5.html

Selected Presentations and Invited Lectures:

“The Role of Social Media in the Transnational Promulgation of Central African Judaism.” Association for the Study of the Middle East and Africa, Washington, D.C., forthcoming October 2017.

“The Lost Tribes of Israel: Yesterday and Today.” Brigham Young University, April 2017.

“‘Dispersed among the Nations’: The Lost Tribes of Israel in Madagascar?” Jewish Museum of Florida, Miami Beach, January 2017. 

“Messianic Jewish Communities in Sub-Saharan Africa.” African Studies Association, Washington, D.C., December 2016.

“Ideological Points of Contention between African ‘Neo-Jewish’ and Normative Global Northern Jewish Communities.” Association for the Study of the Middle East and Africa, Washington, D.C., October 2016.

“Notions of Peoplehood among Emerging Jewish Communities: Historical, Religious, Political.” Colloquium on Wrestling with Jewish Peoplehood, Temple University, April 2016.

“Black Judaism: A Growing Religious Movement in Africa.” Symposium on Africa in the Twenty-First Century, Tennessee State University, March 2016.

“Israel and Color: Views from the Ivory Coast.” Second Annual Symposium on Jews and Color, Florida International University, January 2016.

“A Case Study of an Emerging Jewish Community: The ‘Beth Yeshourun’ of Saa, Cameroon.” Modern Language Association, Vancouver, British Columbia, January 2015.

“Online Spiritual Volition: The ‘Internet Jews’ of Cameroon.” African Studies Association, Indianapolis, Indiana, November 2014.

“Identity Politics among Emerging Jewish Communities from the Developing World.” Religious Research Association/Society for the Scientific Study of Religion, Boston, Massachusetts, November 2013.

“Visual Arts and the Judaic Tradition in Chaim Potok’s Asher Lev Novels.” Colloquium on Traditions and Perspectives in the History of Jewish Art, Bar-Ilan University, September 2012.

Mourning a Coexistence Lost: The Ethics of Judeo-Arabic Identity in Tunisian-Jewish Francophone Fiction.” African Literature Association, Southern Methodist University, April 2012.

“Une histoire perdue: L’identité judéo-maghrébine dans l’œuvre de Chochana Boukhobza. Colloquium on Le sens de l’Histoire dans les littératures francophones, Université de Sousse, April 2010.

 

Research Keywords

  • Judaism, Interest Level: 5
  • Israel, Interest Level: 5
  • Ethnography, Interest Level: 5
  • Comparative Religion, Interest Level: 5
  • Africa, Interest Level: 5