Fall Term 1994
Victor Karady
Department of History

Course Description

I. Jewry as a status group.
-the general problem of status groups in Max Weber's theory of social stratification and its relevance to historical problems of Central European societies Austria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland and Rumania)
-problems of the social definition of collective identity
-definition of identity 'from without' and 'from within'
-patterns of collective identity by ethnicity, denomination, birth right in orders (gentry, serfdom, etc.) and/or regional extraction
-the historical emergence of ethnic oppositions and conflicts
-the Jewish paradigm as a borderline case of ethnic aliens in premodern and modern Central European societies

II. Settlement, migrations and demography (X-XX. century)
-historical outline of the establishment of Jews in Central Europe (centers of settlement, regional size of Jewish groups and their proportions in the native population)
-Jewish migration trends in and from East-Central Europe, especially, in the 18. and l9. century
-urbanization and residential settlement patterns
-specificity of demographic behavior of modern and contemporary Jewry (aspects of unequal demographic modernization)
-demographic aspects of assimilation (sex and age specific rates of baptism, mixed marriages, change of names, etc.)
-types of organization of Jewish communities and community networks

III. Jews and the new nation states (l9. century developments)
-political aspects: the three conception of statehood (nationalist-exclusive -Rumania -, nationalist-assimilationist - Hungary - and advocating supranational integration - Austria)
-political modernization and the legal emancipation of Jewry
-liberalism, conservatism, socialism and the 'Jewish question'
-religious aspects: the churches, nationalism and the Jews
-economic aspects: differential patterns of socio-economic mobility of Jews and non Jews in emerging capitalist economies; traditionalism and modernism in Jewish economic practice; size and structure of 'Jewish capital' and its contribution to national capital accumulation
-cultural aspects: language and schooling
-social aspects: class specific patterns of social distance between Jews and non Jews in the emerging nation-states

IV. Modernization, assimilation and the management of particularistic social identity as a historical problem area
-internal re-stratification of Jewry: religious reform and traditionalism, secularization, selfsegregation, strategies of identity maintenance
-trends of social mobility and the construction of particularistic identity
-unequal modernization of Jews and non Jews as a source of social conflict
-the redefinition of Jewry in global society from religious aliens to a status group of social outsiders
-processes and strategies of assimilation: baptism, mixed marriages, change of family and first names, etc.
-conflicts and pathology of assimilation: dissimulation of identity, 'self-hatred', superiority complex, etc.
-patterns of identity compensation: overschooling, drive for performance, psycho-pathology of self-assertion, socio-political conformism and non-conformism, etc.

V. Antisemitism and the Shoah
-from Christian-religious to socio-economic antisemitism: outline of the development of antisemitic movements in various countries
-class specific trends of antisemitism
-political functions of antisemitism
-the story of the Shoah in various countries

VI. Surviving Jewry in Central Europe since 1945
-historical circumstances of liberation and trends of 'new' antisemitism addressing survivors
-data concerning rates of survival, return, re-emigration
-Zionism, Communism and Jewish identity strategies
-Jewish political engagement and disengagement in Communist regimes (Communism as 'Jewish rule?')
-official manipulation of traditional antisemitism under 'real socialism'
-neo-antisemitism as an ideological component of post-communist societies

Topics Suggested for Discussion in the Exam Paper
Compare two (or more) Eastern European countries in the inter-war years and discuss at least one of the following problem areas:

-Economic implications of State sponsored antisemitic policies. To what extent the socioeconomic stratification of local Jewry provided 'reasons' for it?

-Development of political antisemitism. What were its historical foundations in the political culture of local nation-building elites?

-Was the implementation of the Holocaust (Shoah) connected - and if so, in what way -to the historically established nature of Jewish-Gentile relations and to the socio-economic functions of local Jewry ?

-Aspects of the crisis of assimilated Jewish identity under the pressure of antisemitism. Variations according to the historically established relationship of local Jewry with State and nation.

CRC-Curriculum Resource Center
CEU Budapest, Hungary
Modified: May, 1996


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