About Me

I am a cultural anthropologist and Jewish Studies scholar. My research, teaching, and writing focus on race and religion, critical theory, global trade and diaspora, masculinities, and economic and political theology.

 

My first book (in progress), In Antwerp We Speak Diamond, focuses on the spectral figure of the Jewish merchant in contemporary European politics from the vantage point of the diamond industry in Antwerp (a port city central to the efflorescence of global capitalism).

 

My new project examines the political theology of patronage, protection, and policing secured by the veneration of an early 20th-century Hasidic patron saint. I am currently working on the mediation of this patron saint in both historical and contemporary encounters between Hasidic men and the state.
 

I am keen on exploring multimodal ethnography with students and drawing upon my emerging audio-visual archive of amulets, icons, and incantations in my teaching.

Sam Shuman's face

I am a Visiting Assistant Professor of Cultural Anthropology at Davidson College in Davidson, NC.

From 2021 to 2022, I held the Rabin-Shvidler post-doctoral fellowship in Jewish Studies at Fordham University & Columbia University.

I graduated with a Ph.D. in Sociocultural Anthropology and a graduate certificate student in Judaic Studies from the University of Michigan in 2021.

My research has been supported through grants by the Social Science Research Council (SSRC), the Fulbright Commission, and the National Science Foundation (NSF). My dissertation, Cutting Out the Middleman: The Diamond Industry and the Politics of Displacement in a European Port City, was recently awarded the Bernstein Dissertation Prize in Judaic Studies at the University of Michigan. 

Public Scholarship & Collaboration

 
Indian diamond polishers; Surat

The Haredi Research Group

I am involved with the Haredi Research Group (HRD). The interdisciplinary initiative assembles experts across the humanities and social sciences to produce public scholarship about global Ultra-Orthodox Jewry in this current political moment.

Transparency Working Group

I am invovled with a transnational working group connected to a Swiss National Science Foundation grant, “Transparency: Qualities and Technologies of Global Gemstone Trading” (hosted by the Centre on Conflict, Development and Peacebuilding in collaboration with the Albert Hirschman Centre on Democracy at the Graduate Institute for International Studies in Geneva). Texts were pre-circulated and edited by participants during a writing workshop in Geneva, Switzerland. Final texts will be published in a forthcoming volume on the Anthropology of Transparency.