This book presents original studies of how a cultural concept of Jewishness and a coherent Jewish history came to make sense in the experiences of people entangled in different historical situations. Instead of searching for the inconsistencies, discontinuities, or ruptures of dominant grand historical narratives of Jewish cultural history, this book unfolds situations and events, where Jewishness and a coherent Jewish history became useful, meaningful, and acted upon as a site of causal explanations. Inspired by classical American pragmatism and more recent French pragmatism, we present a new perspective on Jewish cultural history in which the experiences, problems, and actions of people are at the center of reconstructions of historical causalities and projections of future horizons. The book shows how boundaries between Jewish and non-Jewish are not a priori given but are instead repeatedly experienced in a variety of situations and then acted upon as matters of facts. In different ways and on different scales, these studies show how people's experiences of Jewishness perpetually probe, test, and shape the boundaries between what is Jewish and non-Jewish, and that these boundaries shape the spatiotemporal linkages that we call history.
Table of Contents
1. Experience, Space, and Time in Jewish Cultural History: A Pragmatist Perspective
Jakob Egholm Feldt and Maja Gildin Zuckerman
2. En Route to Palestine: Jewish Mobility and Zionist Emergence
Maja Gildin Zuckerman
3. The Death of the Renegade: On Jewish Experience in the 20th Century
4. Tropical Territorialism: Displaced Persons, Colonialism, and the Freeland League in Suriname (1946-1948)
5. Autoethnographic Cosmopolitanism: Jewish Travel Writers Among Their Coreligionists
6. The Presence of Past Struggles: The Jews and the Boundaries of Enlightenment
Jakob Egholm Feldt
7. "It Is Hellas and Israel to Which Europe Owes Its Culture:" Georg Brandes and His Athens vs. Jerusalem Re-interpretations
Søren Blak Hjortshøj
8. From Jewish Separateness to Jewish and Non-Jewish Entanglement: A Shift to a "New Jewish History"?
9. To Walk in the Footsteps of Your Ancestors: Roots Tourism in Yiddishland
Karin Cohr Lützen
Maja Gildin Zuckerman is the Jim Joseph Postdoctoral Fellow at Education and Jewish Studies at Stanford University.
Jakob Egholm Feldt is Professor of Global History at Roskilde University, Denmark.