Broadening Jewish History
Todd M. Endelman
In Broadening Jewish History Todd Endelman seeks to expand the horizons of modern Jewish historiography by focusing on ‘ordinary’ rather than exceptional Jews, arguing that what ordinary people did or felt can do more to deepen our understanding of Jewish history than what a few exceptional individuals thought and wrote. He also makes a strong case for comparative history, showing convincingly that only a comparison across national borders can identify the Germanness of German Jewish history or the Englishness of English Jewish history, and thereby reveal what is unique about each. This innovative collection of historiographical essays and case studies redefines the area under consideration and deftly restates the need for Jewish social history to counterbalance the current focus on cultural studies.
The essays offer an important examination of the major trends in the writing of modern Jewish history and the assumptions that have guided historians in their narration of the Jewish past. Professor Endelman shows in particular how the two watershed events of twentieth-century Jewish history—the Holocaust and the establishment of the State of Israel—influenced Jewish historiography for decades thereafter. He also demonstrates how progressive integration into the scholarly framework of American academia has shaped both the form and the content of Jewish historical research.
Each of the case studies focuses on a largely unknown figure whose career illustrates the often tortuous paths of integration and acceptance that Jews faced. Some achieved fleeting fame but many of the people who populate the volume remain altogether unknown, their histories recoverable only as statistics.
In its wide-ranging analysis of trends in recent historical writing and its treatment of key themes and issues, this book is essential reading for professional historians, students, and indeed all those with an interest in Jewish history.
Todd M. Endelman is the William Haber Professor of Modern Jewish History at the University of Michigan. He specializes in the social history of Jews in Western Europe and in Anglo-Jewish history.
Note on Transliteration
PART I: METHODS AND PERSPECTIVES
1 Making Jews Modern: Jewish Self-Identification and West European Categories of Belonging
2 The Legitimization of the Diaspora Experience
3 The Englishness of Jewish Modernity in England
4 Welcoming Ex-Jews into the Jewish Historiographical Fold
PART II: COMPARISONS
5 The Social and Political Context of Conversion in Germany and England
6 Jewish Self-Hatred in Germany and England
7 German Jews in Victorian England
PART III: MARGINAL JEWS
8 The Chequered Career of ‘Jew’ King
9 The Emergence of Disraeli’s Jewishness
10 Disraeli and the Myth of Sephardi Superiority
11 The Impact of the Converso Experience on English Sephardim
12 The Frankaus of London
13 Jewish Converts in Nineteenth-Century Warsaw
14 Memories of Jewishness
Size: 235 x 155 x 20 mm
Publication: January 2, 2014
Series: The Littman Library of Jewish Civilization