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Alan F Benjamin

Alan F Benjamin

Lecturer & Undergraduate Studies Officer, Jewish Studies

413a Weaver Building
Office Phone: (814) 867-0506


  1. PH.D., University Of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, Anthropology, 1997
  2. M.A., West Georgia College (Now University Of West Georgia), Psychology, 1979
  3. B.A., University Of Haifa, Israel, Psychology, 1978


Curiosity about Jewish diversity undergirds virtually all of my teaching and scholarship.  Are the Jews one people, or groups with many varied identities, and how has that changed during the course of their history? 

My research interests, thus, are in identity and alterity, especially among Jewish communities and between Jews and non-Jews in Curaçao, the State of Israel, and the U.S., but also in regard to impoverished communities in the U.S. I consider ethnic, religious, and other socio-cultural identities and cultural categories to be shaped through, and affected by processes of social construction and differentiation in local, national, and transnational political-economic contexts, as well as, by “culture”—by which I mean, in part, intersubjective cognitive understandings and misunderstandings—in performance, and by means of markers.  Along with these, I am interested in the methodology and ethics of ethnographic research.

Recent Courses

J ST/HEBR 010: Jewish Civilization
J ST/ANTH/PL SC/SOC 060: Society And Cultures In Modern Israel
J ST/ANTH/SOC 457: Jewish Communities: Identity, Survival, And Transformation In Unexpected Places
J ST/RL ST 114: Modern Judaism
J ST 497A: The Israeli Kibbutz

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