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Theatrical LiberalismJews and Popular Entertainment in America$
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Andrea Most

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780814708194

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814708194.001.0001

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I Am a Theater

I Am a Theater

(p.201) 6 I Am a Theater
Theatrical Liberalism

Andrea Most

NYU Press

The popular embrace of multiculturalism in the 1980s and 1990s was accompanied by a renewed faith in theatricality, now reimagined as performativity by Jewish scholars such as Judith Butler, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, and Marjorie Garber. This chapter constructs a conversation between their academic writing on identity and popular theatrical representations of Jews in multicultural America in works such as Philip Roth's The Counterlife, Woody Allen's Zelig, and Tony Kushner's Angels in America. Long replaced in the popular culture by the secular Judaic values of theatrical liberalism, Judaic texts, rituals, and ideas began to slowly re-emerge into public view at the end of the twentieth century.

Keywords:   multiculturalism, theatricality, performativity, identity, American Jews, The Countelife, Zelig, Angels in America, popular culture

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