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  • An Inquiring Mind: Erich Brauer, Ethnographer of the Eastern Jews
  • An Inquiring Mind: Erich Brauer, Ethnographer of the Eastern Jews
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An Inquiring Mind: Erich Brauer, Ethnographer of the Eastern Jews

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Curator: Revital Hovav

Softcover, bilingual edition (English/Hebrew)


First travelling to the land of Israel in 1925, German ethnographer Erich Brauer (1895–1942) would eventually settle in Jerusalem, where he pioneered the study of recently arrived Jewish communities from the East: Yemenites, Kurds, Bukharans, and Afghan Jews. Sensing the urgent need to document the soon-to-disappear customs and traditions of these communities, Brauer embarked on a highly original and varied path of study that combined interviews, photographs, object collection, and such uncommon methods as the study of children’s drawings to meticulously record “the living people.”

Accompanying the first exhibition of Brauer’s groundbreaking work, the catalogue presents different perspectives on his scholarship: curator Revital Hovav went behind the scenes of Brauer’s research, exploring his work methods and prolific archive housed at the Israel Museum and containing photographs, diaries, field notebooks, and other documents; sociologist Orit Abuhav presents his portrait as an innovative and diligent researcher working in what was then an entirely new field; veteran curator Ester Muchawsky-Schnapper writes of the seminal significance of Brauer’s monograph on Yemenite Jews, published in Germany in 1934, and its impact on later ethnographic studies of this community, including her own; and historian Amos Morris-Reich discusses Brauer’s photographs in the context of pre-World War II ethnographic research, and how they are perceived today. Interspersed with fine color reproductions of Brauer’s drawings, photographs of his interlocutors, pages from his field notebooks, and photographs of the objects he collected, the book offers a penetrating and sympathetic look at a pioneering scholar whose influence far outsized the memory of his figure.

2024, 140 pages paperback, 26 x 19 cm

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