ABSTRACT

Truth and Lying in a Non-Moral Sense,” in which he powerfully severs the particularity of human perception from fixed, universal truths. Nietzsche argues that the concepts we use to rationalize and order our world are really just metaphors; what binds us to “truth” or “reality” in the natural world is merely the unsurprising fit between those subjectively generated concepts and the ideals they bring into representation through language: “All the conformity to laws which we find so imposing in the orbits of the stars and chemical processes is basically identical with those qualities which we ourselves bring to bear on things, so that what we find imposing is our own activity. … [I]t is language which works on building the edifice of concepts; later it is science” (Nietzsche 2010: 771). It’s we who bring into being supposedly fundamental interconnections between objectivity and subjectivity, the universal and the particular, and the metaphysical and the material, a view that calls into question not just Western philosophy, but also and more radically Newtonian physics and the natural sciences. Modernity here can be construed as the coming into consciousness of this self-awareness, a productive skepticism of the highly creative but unstable projects of conceptual metaphor making both past and present, in which reason, order, coherence, and science itself are seen as projections of human hubris and power (intellectual, social, political, etc.). Nietzsche’s perspective provided a point of departure for later post-structuralist thinkers (such as

Jacques Derrida, Michel Foucault, and Paul DeMan) who see disconnection, entropy, contingency, and the vicissitudes of social and political power as the hallmarks of modernity. As Zygmunt Bauman observes in Modernity and Ambivalence, these are the conditions that

modernity futilely seeks to make comprehensible and solvable: “Among the multitude of impossible tasks that modernity set itself and that made modernity into what it is, the task of order (more precisely and more importantly, of order as a task) stands out-as the least possible among the impossible and the least disposable among the indispensible; indeed as the archetype for all other tasks, one that renders all other tasks mere metaphors of itself” (Bauman 1991: 4). The search for order, according to Bauman, drives modern Western civilization and its “morally elevating story of humanity emerging from pre-social barbarity” (Bauman 1989: 12). Yet its impossibility is evident in the dislocations and violence attending that story, as the Holocaust paradigmatically illustrates. After all, the technologies and moral equivocations that made the Holocaust possible, Bauman argues, are themselves products of modernity and the task of order; their uses and abuses reveal the ironies and ambiguities of a modernity in which the fragmentation of human experience and apprehension, and the disconnection between human subjectivity and the natural world, become (in yet another irony) the shaky ground of any human commonality (Bauman 1989: 28-29). Jews are thereby interpolated into this modified discourse about modernity and human interconnections as a kind of ethno-religious prooftext: in light of the Holocaust they illustrate the ways in which the “etiological myth” (Bauman 1989: 12) of Western, science-driven modernity-belief that the search for first causes or universal laws will make us free-is proved wrong; and in work that follows through on the Holocaust’s implications for post-structural critiques of Western metaphysics (as in Jean-Francois Lyotard’s The Differend or Maurice Blanchot’s The Infinite Conversation), Jews illustrate the subjectively derived social construction of modern knowledges, identities, and collectivities (Lyotard 1998; Blanchot 1993). The two views I’ve quickly sketched here describe one of the defining oppositional binaries

of Western modernity; they help illustrate the critical dead end to which this binary and binaries such as subject and object, culture and nature lead, a limitation that Bruno Latour and others invested in network theorizing address. In We Have Never Been Modern, Latour retells the story of modernity in a way that shows how these now conventional views about modernity reveal internal contradictions that point not to their inadequacy, but to the unwitting, concomitant, and ironic hybridization of subject and object, culture and nature in their explanations of Western modernity. The presumption of a fundamental split between subject and object in this discourse-which makes order as a task possible, to borrow Bauman’s perspective-is belied by the way that philosophical and scientific thinking continually mix the two in what Latour calls “hybrids of nature and culture” (Latour 1993: 10). According to Latour, Robert Boyle’s seventeenth-century experiments with the air pump, which established experimental protocols for scientific investigation of natural matter, and Thomas Hobbes’s argument in Leviathan on the social contract and human political subjectivity, which established a kind of proto-psychology for investigating people as political actors, reveal and model the incipient split in modernity between a world of things and a world of people. Assessing phenomena that had previously been considered of a mixed nature, modern thinkers “cut the Gordian knot with a well honed sword. The shaft is broken: on the left they have put knowledge of things; on the right, power and human politics” (Latour 1993: 3). Yet as Latour shows, Boyle’s scientific methods presume a transcendental Nature that

embodies universal laws, but the uncertain outcome of experiments also describe an immanent nature whose workings depend on a network of human assent, on political networks, to replicate and legislate scientific observation. Hobbes’ argument presumes an immanent society created through networks of human assent, but the mysterious function of power in and through those networks inadvertently describes a transcendental Society that hovers unseen over the Leviathan and surpasses human agency. To be “modern” in Latour’s view is thus to embody these paradoxes: “First guarantee: even though we construct Nature, Nature is as if we did not construct

it. Second guarantee: even though we do not construct Society, Society is as if we did construct it. Third guarantee: Nature and Society must remain absolutely distinct from the work of mediation” (Latour 1993: 32). “Mediation” is Latour’s term for the methods, styles, and sites of knowledge production (i.e. the laboratory and the legislature) that perform such intellectual sleights of hand. These help the “modern Constitution” (the politically created and agreed upon principles of Western modernity) to produce hybrids of people and things “whose existence, whose very possibility, it denies” (Latour 1993: 34). And the more emphatic the denial-the more emphatic the work of separating and ordering-the more hybrids will be created that make possible the intellectual, social, and political networks of shared interest and assent necessary to secure agreement about our understandings of the natural and social worlds. In this light, the West has never been modern, at least not in the sense described by the two views I’ve traced here, because Western philosophizing never really separated subject and object, people and things in the first place. Latour’s development in We Have Never Been Modern, and in Reassembling the Social, of his

actor-network-theory (also known by its acronym, ANT, and often criticized for ignoring the experiences of race and gender on social actors and on their power to speak for objects), is indebted to and reflects affinities with a number of other late twentieth-century Western critical perspectives: Deleuze and Guattari’s theorizing of “rhizomes” in A Thousand Plateaus-rhizomes are roots and fungal threads that in their chaotic, non-logical proliferation and growth offer a model for a modern “nomadic” thinking that slides around and maps the multiple threads of cognitive and social experience uncontrolled by any governing power (Deleuze and Guattari 1987); post-colonial critiques of empire and of Western representations of the Orient-these authors theorize hybridity and map the modern political, social, and cultural interconnections between metropole and colony, as in Edward Said’s Orientalism and Homi Bhabha’s The Location of Culture (Said 2003; Bhabha 1994); Antonio Gramsci’s and Raymond Williams’ insistence on the fluidity of cultures, social influence, and political consent in modern people’s lived experiences-their work also pairs with Jürgen Habermas’s recuperative view of modernity in “Modernity – An Incomplete Project” as a construct of face-to-face rhetorical persuasion among people whose vocabularies reflect a wide and interconnected range of political, scientific, and aesthetic points of view (Habermas 1983); social network analysis inspired by social scientists like Stanley Milgram and Mark Granoveter, and by mathematicians such as Anatol Rappaport-such analyses graph the complex, far-flung structures of modern human social ties, the movement of information between and among clusters of people and organizations, and the dynamism of modern social networks; Katherine Hayles’ and Donna Harraway’s investigations into the modern relation between technoscience and subjectivity-they consider how the human is hybridized with the machine creating de-centered “virtual bodies” and multiply engineered “cyborgs” (Hayles 1999; Harraway 2010); and critical studies of the global flows of modern peoples, cultures, and commodities by anthropologists such as James Clifford, Arjun Appadurai, Akhil Gupta, and James Ferguson-their work pairs with Paul Gilroy’s theorization in The Black Atlantic of the hybrid identities and meandering routes of diasporic cultures, the “fractal patterns of cultural and political exchange and transformation” (Gilroy 1993: 15), that challenge the racial and national essentialisms of Western modernity and offer “a means to reexamine the problems of nationality, location, identity, and historical memory” (Gilroy 1993: 16). The ascendance of these critical perspectives within the academy over the last thirty years,

and their relevance to contemporary societies and cultures that are globally interconnected, suggests why Latour believed the end of the millennium called for a serious reappraisal of how a networked modernity is investigated, conceptualized, and taught by humanities and social

science scholars (Latour 1993: 1-3). This is especially true for Jewish studies. Instead of viewing Jews and Jewishness as a special category of universal concepts, or as a prooftext for the inadequacies of Western metaphysics and its interpretive ethnocentrism, network thinking posits modern Jewishness as a continually evolving and hybrid lived experience that exhibits a variety of forms and expressions within multiple and often overlapping transnational networks of shared interest and assent. That fluid understanding of Jewish activities, behaviors, and cultural formations enables

scholars to work through, and move beyond, identity-focused critiques of diaspora and cultural mobility like that in Daniel and Jonathan Boyarin’s 1993 essay, “Diaspora: Generation and the Ground of Jewish Identity.” Theirs was a timely broadside against the ways that post-structural philosophers and cultural/ethnic studies scholars allegorized Jews as the kind of inadvertent subject-object hybrid Latour describes: the Jew is “both signifier of unruly difference and a symbol of universalism” (Boyarin and Boyarin 1993: 697). The Boyarins trace this hybridity to Christian and specifically Pauline theological discourse about the “one body of Christ” (Boyarin and Boyarin 1993: 697) and Christian co-option and absorption of Jewish identity, so that a “true” identity in Western philosophy is imagined as metaphysical rather than as a product “of bodily connection and embodied practice” (Boyarin and Boyarin 1993: 705), one that is universal for all individuals, and therefore radically egalitarian, rather than one that reflects particular collective practices and is respectful of “the irreducibility and positive value of cultural differences” (Boyarin and Boyarin 1993: 711). “Diaspora” becomes the Boyarins’ name for their counterview, “a theoretical and historical model” based on specific Jewish experiences and cultural practices that offers generative ground for an eclectic, synthetic ethnocentrism and a “disaggregated identity. … not national, not genealogical, not religious, but all of these in dialectical tension with one another” (Boyarin and Boyarin 1993: 721). Controversially, however, the Boyarins used their critique to argue against the “Jewish state hegemony” of Zionism, seeing such Israeli “racism” as “the subversion of Jewish culture and not its culmination” (Boyarin and Boyarin 1993: 712). Jewish diasporic culture for them is the model for a socially just, non-exclusivist collective identity. This, of course, is an idealization, as even the Boyarins admitted (Boyarin and Boyarin 1993: 711), yet another allegory for Jews and another deployment of them as an ethno-religious prooftext about modernity. Network thinking, on the other hand, better serves the struggle to conceptualize how the

intricacies of Jewish difference escape the confines of the modern liberal nation-state, the political-ethnic formation in which most Jews now live-and whose institutions and ideologies tend to organize, stabilize, and rationalize the multiple identities of its citizens in service of political order and control. But “Jewishness exceeds notions of ethnicity,” as Laura Levitt explains, “because there are multiple Jewish ethnicities and because it can include forms of religious expression beyond privatized faith. Thus in order to appreciate what it means to claim a Jewish position, a Jewish identity, the common rubrics of liberal pluralist difference-race, class, and gender and/or sexuality-just do not fit, nor does the overarching notion of religion” (Levitt 2007: 810). Levitt reminds us that modernity ushered in a worldly and expansive understanding of Jewishness “that included both rational and nontheistic ways of being in the world as Jews” (Levitt 2007: 815), and that such Jewish “secularism” was embodied and enacted in addition to and not, simplistically, instead of Jewish religious practice and identity. Though she doesn’t invoke network thinking per se, Levitt supports her critique of the dead-end binary of “secular” versus “religious” by quickly tracing three historically distinct networks of Yiddishspeaking Eastern European Jews in the U.S. whose overlapping and often hybridizing practices and discourses complicate the meanings of both “secular” and “Jewishness”: the mass of poor, and poorly educated Eastern European Jewish immigrants between 1880 and 1924 who

“brought with them a mixture of pride, shame, nostalgia, and joy in the Yiddish politics and culture they left behind” (Levitt 2007: 816); Holocaust survivors and their children who bear witness to “a kind of broken Yiddish culture” that found refuge alongside “the narrow, religiously construed Jewishness of dominant U.S. Jewish culture” (Levitt 2007: 818); and contemporary Jews “who no longer speak the language of their ancestors but who bring. … feminist and queer politics, jazz and art, literature and film” to their reclamation of a postvernacular Yiddish culture (Levitt 2007: 818). Showing the contingent interconnections that describe these Yiddish cultural networks of shared interest and assent, Levitt steers clear of idealizing any particular one. Instead, she underlines the importance and the challenges of addressing “the complexity of Jewish modernization and enlightenment” (Levitt 2007: 828). By doing so she also well illustrates what’s at stake for Jewish studies in employing network

thinking. What new issues and topics might arise if scholars and students of Jewish studies let go of questions about what lies “inside” or “outside” of Jewishness? What new questions might be generated by shifting attention away from critical perspectives that try to objectify the qualities, motives, continuities, or internal workings of some presumed Jewish subject position or cultural production, and toward those that focus on what Dan Miron, writing about Jewish literatures, calls the “contiguity”—the adjoining arrangements and connecting dynamics (Miron 2010: 405)—of Jewish cultural activities? How might that complicate presently fashionable intellectual schemas for categorizing and theorizing difference (predicated on critiques of ethnicity, race, gender, class, etc.) in a way that does justice to the lived experience of Jews? How might that help situate Jewish studies as an exemplary interdisciplinary field responsive to the multifarious nature of a globalized, interconnected modernity? These questions are also indicative of the various meanings that attach to “networks” and

“networking” in contemporary Jewish studies scholarship. As I’ve already indicated in part, and as I’ll show in more detail in what follows, a network can be understood as 1) a conceptual metaphor for the hybridizing interconnections between binary oppositions (subject and object, people and things, secular and religious, Jew and Gentile); 2) a pattern of intellectual and commercial interconnections that give shape to historically contingent cultural activities and formations; and 3) a complex system of social affiliations and interconnections that are brought into being by human relationships created in and through social activities, practices, and media. The busiest area of contemporary network theorizing and analysis in Jewish studies focuses

on the history of “Port Jews” and of Sephardic Jews in early modern Atlantic trading networks, as well as on the cultural mobility of Western Jews in the modern era. These investigations treat networks as both a conceptual metaphor and a pattern of intellectual and commercial interconnections. Historians like those gathered in the critical anthology Atlantic Diasporas: Jews, Conversos, and Crypto-Jews in the Age of Mercantilism, 1500-1800 see Sephardic Jews, whose trade routes and modes of living in an Atlantic diaspora they analyze, as imperfect, embodied examples of the complexity and differences of early modern Jewish intellectual and commercial networks, and their contingent linkages and disconnections. By studying the history of that diaspora and of what Lois Dubin and David Sorkin call “Port Jews” (the Spanish, Portuguese, and Dutch Jewish merchants and colonial plantation owners who populated the generally tolerant port cities of the Atlantic and Mediterranean basins [Dubin 1999; Sorkin 1999]) these scholars can “move beyond nation-based historical narratives” that so dominated earlier European Jewish history, as Adam Sutcliffe points out in his contribution to the volume (Sutcliffe 2009: 22). Port Jews’ heterogeneous commercial networks, he argues, also help to unsettle fixed notions of “Jewish” history and culture. Given the diversity of their identities and travels-whether of openly practicing Jews, or of Jews who converted to Christianity, or of crypto-Jews, or of the mixed-race progeny of Jewish slave owners-any scholarly assertions about their history, cultural

formations, or racialist thinking must, Sutcliffe says, be sensitive to “the emergence of particularly complex and finely graded forms of hybrid identity within these Jewish worlds” (Sutcliffe 2009: 27). These forms represented both fruitful and predatory sorts of socio-political adaptations wherein Sephardic Jews were sometimes victims and sometimes agents of colonial power, and it would be anachronistic to tout them as usable models for a contemporary, collective Jewish identity. Sutcliffe astutely observes that the creolization, pragmatism, familial ties, and weak political loyalties of the Sephardim were of their time: “The Sephardim of the early modern Atlantic, then, were not harbingers of modernity but, on the contrary, creatures of another age, sustained by informal ethnically based trading networks that were largely brought to an end by the advent of modernity” (Sutcliffe 2009: 29). Jewishness in this light is specific to particular times, spaces, and places within the Atlantic trading networks. Consequently, Sephardic Jews are similar to other Atlantic diasporic groups in their “economic behavior and cultural development” according to Sutcliffe, while their difference is evident in their own complex self-understanding, their uniquely liminal position among Atlantic cultures, and, crucially, in their appearance to us as “fascinatingly alien inhabitants of a world-and a culture-very different from our own” (Sutcliffe 2009: 30). This comparative angle on networks, and concomitant emphasis on cultural mobility,

mediation, hybridity, and difference, is also reflected in Todd Presner’s intellectual history of German Jews, Mobile Modernity: Germans, Jews, Trains. Rejecting previous historical schemas that constituted German Jewish relations as a failed dialogue, Presner offers the formulation “German/Jewish as a way of characterizing the movements, slippages, and tensions” of a modernity in which “‘German’ is always mixed together, for better and for worse, in splendor and in horror, with ‘Jewish’” (Presner 2007: 8). Here Presner’s theorizing and analysis asks us to treat networks as a conceptual metaphor. Employing Walter Benjamin’s concept of “dialectics at a standstill,” Presner theorizes an historiography capable of showing the non-purposive flow and contingency of history by attending to a moment of particular tension in the dialectical encounter between German and Jewish thinkers (Heidegger/Celan, Goethe/Kafka, Hegel/ Heine, Liszt/Herzl, Heidegger/Arendt, and Freud/Sebald), one that arrests that flow for the historian and so reveals in situ the dynamics, thoughts, and materials that, from the perspective of the present time, make up German/Jewish modernity. Presner examines these mobile and fugitive encounters through “the spatial constitution of German/Jewish modernity by mapping its intellectual and cultural history onto a decidedly cultural-geographic surface: the railway system” (Presner 2007: 12). That system helps illustrate the profound disorientations and reorientations in time, place, and space that made possible the deterritorialization, fluid identities, and unexpected interconnections of German/Jewish modernity, for both escape at great speed the boundaries of a nation state and national language. Not surprisingly, Presner cites as theoretical inspirations scholarship not only in historical

materialism and cultural geography, but also by a number of thinkers already encountered here: Franco Moretti, James Clifford, Homi Bhabha, and Paul Gilroy. He also credits the literary critic Stephen Greenblatt, a founder of the New Historicist critical perspective and a leading scholar of cultural exchange and transformation. In the introduction to his 2010 critical anthology, Cultural Mobility: A Manifesto, Greenblatt provocatively asserts that twenty years of critical work attending to “brave new theories of hybridity, network theory, and the complex ‘flows’ of people, goods, money, and information across endlessly shifting social landscapes” (Greenblatt 2010c: 1) as in Atlantic Diasporas or Mobile Modernities, seems to have had no real impact on contemporary social and political experience. Newspaper headlines make clear that people around the globe still take historical progress, national identities, and religious and ethnic authenticity as real, fixed, and worth shedding blood over. “While the older conceptions of

rootedness and autochthony seem intellectually bankrupt,” he says, “the heady theories of creative métissage have run aground upon the rocks of contemporary reality” (Greenblatt 2010c: 1). Greenblatt argues that it isn’t just the depredations of contemporary global capitalism, and the skepticism as well as hostility it engenders about economic and commercial networks, that is responsible for the still robust popular defenses of belief in historical, political, religious, and ethnic stability and fixity. Another reason for the appeal of founding fathers, originalist interpretations, and homelands is a continuing belief outside the academy in the stability and fixity of the past as a coherent narrative of things as they were. Consequently, the rest of Greenblatt’s introduction is an incisive analysis of the way cultural

mobility is part and parcel of the past’s legacy in the West, a legacy he maps in part by tracing successive European appropriations of Roman imperialism and Christian appropriation and supersession of the Hebrew Scriptures. Curiously, though, one implication of his historically oriented introduction is that the trouble with current network theorizing and mobility studies is that it has not been effective enough in rooting out conceptions of rootedness. Perhaps this attitude explains why the majority of network theorizing and analysis within and without Jewish studies is so focused on the early modern and modernist periods (the critical framework of Sarah Abrevaya Stein’s Plumes: Ostrich Feathers, Jews, and a Lost World of Global Commerce and Shachar Pinsker’s Literary Passports: The Making of Modernist Hebrew Fiction in Europe both employ insights from theory and criticism of commercial networks, cultural geography, and cultural mobility; see also the essays in Identity and Networks: Fashioning Gender and Ethnicity Across Cultures) (Stein 2008; Pinsker 2011; Bryceson, et al., 2007). Nevertheless, the five propositions in Greenblatt’s “A mobility studies manifesto,” included at the end of his volume, offer a vitalized sense of mission and methodology to humanities and social science scholars focused on various times, places, networks, and subject matters: “First, mobility must be taken in a highly literal sense;” “Second, mobility studies should shed light on hidden as well as conspicuous movements;” “Third, mobility studies should identify and analyze the ‘contact zones’ where cultural goods are exchanged;” “Fourth, mobility studies should account in new ways for the tension between individual agency and structural constraint;” and “Fifth, mobility studies should analyze the sensation of rootedness” (Greenblatt 2010b: 250-52). These propositions are all applicable to Jeremy Stolow’s Orthodox by Design: Judaism, Print Politics, and the ArtScroll Revolution, a superb study of contemporary transnational Orthodox commercial, cultural, and political networks that thoroughly analyzes the contact zones between literature and the public sphere, Jewish and Christian formula literatures, and the producers, arbiters, and consumers of religiously sanctioned cultural productions. They also inform Jeffrey Shandler’s critical approach to inventory in his 2010 David W. Belin Lecture in American Jewish Affairs, “Keepers of Accounts: The Practice of Inventory in Modern Jewish Life.” Surveying “new practices of conceptualizing, gathering, organizing, and distributing wealth, goods, or information” in modern Western life, he considers how acceptance of or resistance to these everyday cultural practices, and the networks of collection and exchange they materialized, affected the ways that Jews negotiated their collective relationship with modernity (Shandler 2010: 11). Other works that grapple with the mobile dynamics of networks arise out of sociological

network analysis and scholarship analyzing the human relationships that energize and organize Jewish philanthropy, religiosity, and language practices, and how the Internet mediates those relationships. As Charles Kadushin observes in “Social Networks and Jews,” this area of research still needs further development in Jewish studies and, especially, the application of methodologically sound practice, that is, the application of what he calls “true network studies” (Kadushin 2011: 55). This phrase signals to social scientists that Kadushin’s theorizing and analysis will treat networks as a complex system of social affiliations and interconnections. Kadushin’s essay, first

presented as the 2009 Marshall Sklare Memorial Lecture, responds to the contemporary obsession among Jewish philanthropies and cultural outreach organizations to employ social media as a means to lure young, unaffiliated, and weakly affiliated Jews back to their cultural heritage and into synagogue pews and pro-Israel activism. That enterprise germinated in the U.S. in the 1990s when these philanthropies and organizations made a conscious decision to co-opt “cool” Jewish cultural productions as vehicles for and examples of Jewish cultural renewal (Roth 2007: 101). Philanthropic money from a new class of “mega donors”—the Bronfman Family Foundation, the Koret Foundation, the Posen Foundation, the Avi Chai Foundation, and The Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation-has fueled an “entrepreneurial approach to organizing and managing communal change by creating seed funding for new and innovative programs to serve Generation X’ers and Y’ers,” according to Steven Windmueller, and such a “new model of engagement and giving is drawing heavily on business and entertainment principles” (Windmueller 2007: 252, 254; see also Snyder 2011). Yet how young Jews actually work together and make social connections within a communal or cultural program, and how long as well as in what ways those social networks function, still awaits rigorous social network analysis according to Kadushin. His professional concern echoes Duncan Watts’ explanation of the science of networks, grounded in sociology and mathematics, which posits that “real networks represent populations of individual components that are actually doing something,” and that “networks are dynamic objects not just because things happen in networked systems, but because the networks themselves are evolving and changing in time” (Watts 2003: 28). Philanthropies that hope to create instant, organic social networks betray a serious misunderstanding about the complex operations of social connection and interconnection. Kadushin claims that Jewish interest in, and manifestations of, social networks are not

new. The first is evident in the work of social theorists who were Jews-such as Emile Durkheim, Georg Simmel (whose parents converted to Christianity), and Jacob Moreno-and the second in Jewish social structures in the diaspora following the destruction of the Second Temple. Simmel showed that “cross-cutting social circles was the essence of modern life,” that one can be a member of many different social circles at the same time, depending on one’s profession, hobbies, and cultural interests; and Moreno provided the means to trace and map such complex interconnections through “sociometry,” the use of graph drawings that represent individuals as nodes and plot the relations between them as lines (Kadushin 2011: 58). While Kadushin makes a brief case for applying network studies to ancient, medieval, and early modern Jewish social networks, his essay focuses primarily on the opportunities that such analysis makes available to scholars examining modern social circles, “networks whose connections are based on common interests and values but do not have a hierarchical structure or a clear boundary,” and which “are characteristic of modern mass society and serve to integrate apparently disconnected entities such as Jews into larger societies” (Kadushin 2011: 60). As an example, he uses a graph drawing to map the network that formed around the Yiddish writer Yoseph Chaim Brenner in London between 1904 and 1908 (Kadushin 2011: 62), using the volume of written correspondence to and from Brenner as the basis for an algorithm determining the spatial distance any one correspondent has from Brenner in the graph. Kadushin produces a network diagram that traces Brenner’s “ego network” (a network with him at the center), and that suggests how such Jewish literary circles did not in fact depend on face-to-face encounters or on contemporaneous established Jewish cultural, social, or political institutions to sustain them (Kadushin 2011: 65). The diagram also reveals “the multiple pulls on the writers: their hometown affiliations, their friends and lovers, geography and the circles of other writers, not necessarily linked by Brenner’s colleagues but whose influence was crucial nonetheless” (Kadushin 2011: 65).