Journal of Cape Verdean Studies


Alma Gottlieb


In this paper, I explore how diasporic Cabo Verdean-Americans with Jewish ancestry (especially those living in the New England region of the U.S.) experience their racially and spiritually mixed (and doubly or even triply stigmatized) identity. Being African in (racist) North America presents enormous challenges. Being Jewish in (increasingly anti-Semitic) North America presents different but somewhat parallel challenges. To account for unexpected identity crossings, I combine critical race theory with a Geertzian approach to understanding social worlds. In chronicling the experiences of Cape Verdeans who embrace divergent components of their multi-layered racial and spiritual heritage, I consider whether Cabo Verdeans might present an unexpected “model for” a multicultural/multiracial/multi-faith America.

Note on the Author

Dr. Alma Gottlieb is Professor Emerita of Anthropology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Visiting Scholar in the Department of Anthropology at Brown University. She holds a PhD from the University of Virginia. Her major research interests include Migration, globalization, diaspora; politics of representation; religion, ritual, performance, indigenous religions, comparative Judaisms; gender and sexuality, feminist theory; anthropology of the body, cultures of health; family, infants and young children; epistemology of fieldwork, ethnographic writing and interpretive theory. Dr. Gottlieb is particularly interested in West Africa (especially Côte d’Ivoire and Cabo Verde); contemporary West African diaspora in the U.S. and Europe; lusophone and francophone worlds.

Dr. Alma Gottlieb Visiting Scholar in Anthropology Brown U.

Professor Emerita, U. of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Editor, Contemporary Ethnography book series (U Penn Press)

Website/blog: www.almagottlieb.com

Facebook page for A World of Babies: https://www.facebook.com/WOBBook/

E-mail: alma_gottlieb@brown.edu