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Cosmopolitanisms and the Jews

Cathy S. Gelbin and Sander L. Gilman

Publisher: University of Michigan Press
Imprint: University of Michigan Press
Published: 01/2017
Pages: 352
Subject: History - Europe/Germany, Religion - Judaism/General
Print ISBN: 9780472130412
eBook ISBN: 9780472901111


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.


“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