Dr Edith Bruder, PhD, is a French ethnologist who has a multi-disciplinary academic background in the history of art and clinical psychology. The focus of her research is on the documentation and analysis of the history and the contemporary phenomena of Jewish practices across sub-Saharan Africa, Judaising movements, forgotten diasporas, contemporary diasporas and particular Jewish identities.
Her book, The Black Jews of Africa: History, Identity, Religion (Oxford University Press, 2008 and 2012), offers an overview of both past and present Jewish activities across Africa. The broad scope of her discussion, encompassing regions ranging from West Africa to East Africa and Southern Africa, is unprecedented. In view of the growing importance of this new field of study, in 2009 she was minded to found an international scholarly organization: the International Society for the Study of African Jewry (http://issaj.com), which she still serves as President.
Since 2010, this organisation has already hosted three international conferences and published the corresponding edited collections of papers in order to showcase the latest outstanding and original research available in this field.The net impact of Edith’s work - both her own scholarship, and the collective project she is sponsoring through the ISSAJ - is to promote understanding of the global context of Jewish history and practice, and thereby reduce anti-Semitic stereotypes. More specifically, her work has helped to bring together scholars and others working in the fields of Jewish studies and African studies - two disciplines that, up until now, have had very little in common.
Edith is a research associate at the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) and a research fellow at the University of South Africa. She is the author of Black Jews, Les Juifs noirs d’Afrique et le mythe des Tribus perdues (Albin Michel 2014), co-editor of African Zion, Studies in Black Judaism (Cambridge Scholars Publishing 2012) and African Journeys to Judaism (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, forthcoming 2018), as well as of numerous scientific articles and contributions to works published in this field.