Buy Me a Mink: Jews, Fur, and Conspicuous Consumption

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date


Department 1


Department 2

Judaic Studies


Kerry Wallach explores how Jews interacted with fashionable luxury objects made from fur. She draws on cultural discourses and historical research to engage questions about material culture, links between production and consumption, and different forms of representation. Cultural texts (literary works, films, television shows) produced in Europe and the United States shed light on the gendered elements of depicting Jews and fur, with Jewish women often shown as social-climbing, selfish, voracious consumers. Wallach also looks at stereotypes that rendered Jewish fur wearers ostentatious and especially visible. Motifs from an era of peak fur production and key fashion trends (1890s to 1930s) recurred in the 1950s. More recent debates illustrate the persistence of allegations of Jewish and especially Jewish women’s conspicuous consumption.


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