Work of the Fellows: Monographs

John L. Jackson, Thin Description: Ethnography and the African Hebrew Israelites of Jerusalem

Jackson, John L., Jr. (Fellow, 2005-06)

Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2022

From the publisher's description:

The African Hebrew Israelites of Jerusalem are often dismissed as a fringe cult for their beliefs that African Americans are descendants of the ancient Israelites and that veganism leads to immortality. But John L. Jackson questions what “fringe” means in a world where cultural practices of every stripe circulate freely on the Internet. In this poignant and sophisticated examination of the limits of ethnography, the reader is invited into the visionary, sometimes vexing world of the AHIJ. Jackson challenges what Clifford Geertz called the “thick description” of anthropological research through a multidisciplinary investigation of how the AHIJ use media and technology to define their public image in the twenty-first century.


Subjects: Religion; Sociology; Anthropology;; Ethnography; African Hebrew Israelites of Jerusalem; Judaism; African Americans; Diaspora;