Cosmopolitanisms and the Jews
Cathy S. Gelbin and Sander L. Gilman
The first conceptual history of the development and evolution of the image of Jews and Jewish participation in modern German-speaking cosmopolitanist thought
Cosmopolitanisms and the Jews adds significantly to contemporary scholarship on cosmopolitanism by making the experience of Jews central to the discussion, as it traces the evolution of Jewish cosmopolitanism over the last two centuries. The book sets out from an exploration of the nature and cultural-political implications of the shifting perceptions of Jewish mobility and fluidity around 1800, when modern cosmopolitanist discourse arose. Through a series of case studies, the authors analyze the historical and discursive junctures that mark the central paradigm shifts in the Jewish self-image, from the Wandering Jew to the rootless parasite, the cosmopolitan, and the socialist internationalist. Chapters analyze the tensions and dualisms in the constructed relationship between cosmopolitanism and the Jews at particular historical junctures between 1800 and the present, and probe into the relationship between earlier anti-Semitic discourses on Jewish cosmopolitanism and Stalinist rhetoric.
“This book has an extraordinarily grand sweep and offers penetrating and fascinating insights—a true tour-de-force.”
—Michael Berkowitz, University College London
“A thorough and exhaustive study of the history of the ‘cosmopolitan’ ideal and its relationship to Jewish identity from the Enlightenment to the present, providing short and incisive analyses of a vast number of texts. Because the writing is clear and does not get bogged down in arcane academic debates, Cosmopolitanisms and the Jews should appeal to a broad audience.”
–Robert D. Tobin, Clark University
Cathy S. Gelbin is Senior Lecturer in German Studies, University of Manchester. Sander L. Gilman is Distinguished Professor of the Liberal Arts and Sciences and Professor of Psychiatry, Emory University.
Praise / Awards
"This dense, subtle, and well-researched book treats cosmopolitanisms (plural) as a series of complex identities held by a range of non-Jewish and Jewish authors from the Enlightenment to the 21st century...Recommended."
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