Orginal Publication Date
Explorations in Ethnic Studies
Adelman's historical account of the rise and development of Jewish studies in European and American universities has implications not only for the current debate regarding the appropriateness and place of Jewish studies programs in the academy but also for the place of ethnic studies in university curricula in general. I believe the most compelling argument against ethnic studies programs in higher education charges them with institutionalizing specific ideologies and thus undermining the self-critical investigation of divergent positions within a traditional discipline. But this charge raises an equally troublesome presupposition : that courses of study can and should be compartmentalized into a specific "discipline" or "field." With ethnic studies our more traditional notions of "field" collapse, because ethnic studies, by their very nature, are interdisciplinary, the very concept of which challenges scholarship based on traditional canons. Adelman, I believe, addresses both these concerns quite effectively in his argument for a critically fashioned methodology with which universities can successfully integrate Jewish studies (and by extension, ethnic studies in general) into traditional curricula.
Copyright, ©EES, The National Association for Ethnic Studies, 1989