Genetics, Mass Media and Identity: A Case Study of the Genetic Research on the Lemba, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Genetics, Mass Media and Identity

A Case Study of the Genetic Research on the Lemba, 1st Edition

By Tudor Parfitt, Yulia Egorova


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This is the first book to explore the effect of genetic research on the Lemba Judaising community of Southern Africa and the phenomenon of Israelite identity.

The science of genetics as relayed by the media is perceived by laymen as being irreproachably objective 'hard science': its disinterested 'scientific' findings appear immensely impressive and may therefore act as a powerful catalyst for change. In this case, an oral tradition cherished by many of the Lemba that they are of Jewish origin appears to be supported by recent DNA testing, which has deeply affected the narrative and religious identity of the group and the way the tribe is perceived in the Western world.

International in appeal, this topical text brings together cutting-edge research on the social, cultural and ethical implications of genetics and the study of Judaising movements across the world. This book will be of interest to researchers and students of Jewish history, genetic anthropology, race and ethnicity studies, and religious and cultural studies.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction 2. Between Art and Science: ‘Non-Scientific’ Aspects of Genetics 3. Jews and Genetics 4. Are Jews Black? 5. The Lemba 6. The Lemba Tests: Mediatisation and Responses 7. The Bene-Israel 8. Genetics Research on the Bene-Israel 9. Conclusion

About the Authors

Yulia Egorova is a Research Fellow at the School of Religious and Theological Studies at Cardiff University. She is working on a project on The Meanings of Genetics.

Tudor Parfitt is Professor of Modern Jewish Studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies, Unversity of London. His areas of expertise include the history of the Jews in Africa and Asia; Judaizing movements and Modern Hebrew language and literature.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SCIENCE / Life Sciences / Genetics & Genomics
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Media Studies