JEWS IN MODERN CENTRAL EUROPEAN SOCIETIES
Fall Term 1995
Victor Karady
Department of History
CENTRAL EUROPEAN UNIVERSITY



Course Description

I. Jewry as a status group.
- The general problem of 'symbolical' status groups (as opposed to other criteria of social stratification based on the division of labor) in Max Weber's theory and elsewhere
- its relevance in the modern history of Central European societies (Austria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland, Rumania)
- the social definition of collective identity and its problem area : definition 'from without' and 'from within', the conflicts of definitions, functions to distinguish in-groups and out-groups
- patterns of collective identity as objectivated in nationality, ethnicity, denomination, regional extraction, birthright in orders (serfs, gentry, burghers, etc.)
- the historical emergence of modern type ethnic and national oppositions and conflicts
- the Jewish paradigm as a borderline case of ethnic aliens in pre-modern and modern Central Europe

II. Settlement and migrations of Jewish populations in Central
- historical outline of the establishment of Jewish groups since the Middle Ages (centers of settlement, regional size of Jewish populations, their proportions relative to Gentile groups)
- the legal framework of Jewish settlement in various countries and historical periods
- Jewish migration trends in and from East-Central Europe, especially since the 18th and l9th centuries
- trends of urbanization and residential patterns
- housing strategies, spatial dispersion, segregation self-isolation
- the organization of Jewish communities and community networks (types of communal autonomy, the shtettl phenomenon, legal and religious authorities in various Jewish groups, social services and self-aid societies, the role of Chevra Kadishah, communal schooling provision: cheder and yeshivot).

III. Main socio-demographic features of Central European Jewry
- demographic transformations since the 18th century, a comparative view of group specific Jewish and Gentile conducts as revealed in the passage from traditional to modern demographic patterns (study of local cases and quantitative data)
- marriage customs (aye, preferential choices, divorce rate, etc.)
- fertility (the rise and extent of Malthusianism)
- mortality (infant, age and gender specific, suicide)
- patterns of morbidity and handicaps (incidence of various causes of death, blindness, etc.)
- degrees of medicalization and levels of sanitation
- child care and family life (gender roles in Jewish families; educational patterns, kinship relations and the treatment of the elderly; the nuclear and the large family as units of moral socialization)

IV. Jews and the new nation states
- political aspects : four major conceptions of statehood in modern Central Europe:
- nationalist exclusive (Rumania, Poland, Slovakia)
- nationalist-assimilationist (liberal Hungary, Czechoslovakian Bohemia)
- supra-national integration (imperial Austria)
- exclusion from the integrative imperial commonwealth (Russia)
- stages of the legal emancipation and social integration of Jewry in various Central European countries
- political modernization, liberalism, conservatism, socialism and the 'Jewish question'
- the Churches, trends of institutional secularization and the legal treatment of Jews
- the impact of Western models (France, Britain, the Netherlands) in the 'Jewish policy' of Central European power elites

V. The rise of modern Jewry
- Economic aspects : Jewish social mobility and embourgeoisement from the preemancipation period (from money-lenders and leaseholders of feudal times to the modern entrepreneurial and professional classes)
- unequal rates and differential patterns of social mobility (Jews as against Gentiles)
- specific Jewish participation in various sections of the trading and industrial bourgeoisie and in professional groups (lawyers, physicians, engineers, teachers, etc.)
- estimations of the size of the 'Jewish capital' in various countries
- specific Jewish economic strategies and practices
- social aspects :
- class and stratum specific processes of integration of Jewry in modern Gentile societies
- patterns of Jewish-Gentile social distance (relative to the peasantry, to the petty bourgeoisie, to middle class groups, etc.)
- relative distance to denominational groups and the Churches (Catholics, Protestants, etc.)
- religious aspects: Hungary

VIII. Schooling social mobility, embourqeoisement
- Schooling frequencies as indicators of the general trend of specific Jewish over-schooling in modern times (study of quantitative data by age groups, sex, levels of schooling and of literacy in the l9th and the 20th centuries)
- the socio-economic (class related) background of Jewish over-schooling : the cases of Vienna, Budapest, Moldavia, Bukovina and Galicia
- educational strategies as strategies of social integration, national assimilation and/or self-assertion of Jewish identity (examples of Hungary, Austria, Poland)
- qualitative specificities of Jewish schooling strategies (preferential choice of schools, disciplinary tracks, local or foreign universities, etc.; educational excellence and drop out rate)
- specific trends of Jewish social mobility (as against Gentiles) towards elite groups (the educated entrepreneurial bourgeoisie, the liberal professions, the free lance intellectuals and artists, etc.)
- consequences of the mobilization of educational assets as appearing in the life style, the economic behavior (entrepreneurialism in the media and in high culture) and in the cultural practice (patronage of the arts) peculiar to the Jewish middle classes.

IX. Development of modern political antisemitism
- Discussion of the cases of various countries, especially:
- the ideological foundations in Germany and the West and their transfer and 'reception' in East-Central Europe (the main topics of antisemitic discourse : cultural, racist, political, etc.)
- the behavior of the states, the traditional elites (gentry, burgher strata) and several intellectual elite groups
- the economic variables of antisemitism
- the specificity of the targets (traditional or 'modern' Jewry)
-antisemitism in local or national politics
-denominational attitudes and the reaction of the Churches

X. The Shoah in various countries
- Discussion of the cases of various countries, especially:
- the local supporters of Hitlerism and the social basis of murderous fascism
- the involvement of the state authorities
- size and nature of anti-fascist national resistance
- forms of Jewish resistance
- the demographic balance sheet of the Shoah



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

Kar_JModESo.F95Hist.v3

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