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The Lives of Jessie Sampter: Queer, Disabled, Zionist

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posted on 04.11.2022, 01:56 authored by Sarah Imhoff

In The Lives of Jessie Sampter, Sarah Imhoff tells the story of an individual full of contradictions. Jessie Sampter (1883–1938) was best known for her Course in Zionism (1915), an American primer for understanding support of a Jewish state in Palestine. In 1919, Sampter packed a trousseau, declared herself “married to Palestine,” and immigrated there. Yet Sampter’s own life and body hardly matched typical Zionist ideals. Although she identified with Judaism, Sampter took up and experimented with spiritual practices from various religions. While Zionism celebrated the strong and healthy body, she spoke of herself as “crippled” from polio and plagued by sickness her whole life. While Zionism applauded reproductive women’s bodies, Sampter never married or bore children; in fact, she wrote of homoerotic longings and had same-sex relationships. By charting how Sampter’s life did not neatly line up with her own religious and political ideals, Imhoff highlights the complicated and at times conflicting connections between the body, queerness, disability, religion, and nationalism.

Funding

Indiana University as part of the TOME initiative

History

Publication date

2022

ISBN (Open Access)

9781478092650

ISBN (Print - Cloth)

9781478015437

ISBN (Print - Paper)

9781478018063

ISBN (Ebook For Sale)

9781478022671

Publisher Name

Duke University Press