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The triumph of Zionism has clouded recollection of competing forms of Jewish nationalism vying for power a century ago. This study explores alternative ways to construct the modern Jewish nation. Jewish nationalism emerges from this book as a Diaspora phenomenon much broader than the Zionist movement. Like its non-Jewish counterparts, Jewish nationalism was first and foremost a movement to nationalize Jews, to construct a modern Jewish nation while simultaneously masking its very modernity. This book traces this process in what was the second largest Jewish community in Europe, Galicia. The history of this vital but very much understudied community of Jews fills a critical lacuna in existing scholarship while revisiting the broader question of how Jewish nationalism – or indeed any modern nationalism – was born. Based on a wide variety of sources, many newly uncovered, this study challenges the still-dominant Zionist narrative by demonstrating that Jewish nationalism was a part of the rising nationalist movements in Europe.Read more
- Integrates Jewish nationalism into cutting-edge research on nationalist theory, and particularly into its European (Habsburg) context
- One of the only English-language histories of Galician Jewry
- Deals directly with the relationship between religion and nationalism
Reviews & endorsements
"Shanes reintegrates the story of Galicia's Jews (roughly 11 percent of the total population) into the history of the province and of the Habsburg Empire more broadly. This is not the kind of gap in the literature that it seems to be a luxury to have the time to fill. This is a glaring, unforgivable gap, and this book fills it. The field has been in desperate need of this study."
Alison Frank, Harvard University, MassachusettsSee more reviews
"While we know what Zionism is today, we know little about what Zionism was the moment it emerged. Using Galicia as a case study, this book turns our vision of Zionism upside down. Zionism in this book is a Jewish national-democratic movement that seeks to secure equal political and cultural rights for the Jewish people. It tends to prove the normalcy of the Jews in a larger European context, rather than their exceptional status. Ultimately, this book shows how Jewish nationalists in Galicia rallied other Jews around their mottoes, transforming an ethnic group into a modern nation with a high level of political self-awareness."
Yohanan Petrovsky-Shtern, The Crown Family Professor of Jewish Studies, Northwestern University, Illinois
"Joshua Shanes has written a compelling and interesting study of how Jewish nationalist activists worked to nationalize and politicize the traditional Jewish masses of Austrian Galicia in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. In so doing, Shanes convincingly demonstrates how Zionism and diaspora Jewish nationalism resembled other nationalist movements in East Central Europe. At the same time, he makes it abundantly clear that Jewish nationalism was not simply "constructed", but rather derived from Jewish ethnicity embedded in Jewish religious tradition and the realities of Jewish life in Galicia. Shanes’s careful analysis of the Yiddish-language Jewish nationalist press, of the choreography of Zionist rallies during the tumultuous election of 1907, and of the ways that Jewish nationalists tried to recruit Orthodox traditionalists into their ranks makes an extremely important contribution to our understanding of Jewish and East European nationalism."
Marsha L. Rozenblit, Harvey M. Meyerhoff Professor of Jewish History, University of Maryland, College Park
"This book succeeds in setting Jewish nationalism in Galicia firmly in the context of the European national movements gaining adherents in the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries. This very fine study will prove of interest to scholars and students of Habsburg Central and Eastern Europe, Jewish history, and nationalism."
Daniel Unowsky, Austrian History Yearbook
"Joshua Shanes’s new book is an ambitious and important study of Jewish nationalist sensibility and political mobilization in Habsburg Galicia. It should substantially recast how Jewish historians imagine the relationship of both assimilationist and traditional east European Jews to ideas of Jewish nationhood; how we understand the character of Jewish nationalism in eastern Europe in the age of mass politics; and how we think about early Zionism itself … Shanes’s book is an important work of Jewish political history in the classical and narrower sense too: throughout the study and especially in its culminating fifth chapter, he is attentive to Jewish political mobilizations around parliamentary elections … This is a rich book with a number of distinct but closely nested arguments that historians of east European Jewry and modern Jewish nationalism will want to consider carefully."
Kenneth B. Moss, AJS Review
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- Date Published: August 2012
- format: Hardback
- isbn: 9781107014244
- length: 336 pages
- dimensions: 229 x 152 x 22 mm
- weight: 0.66kg
- contains: 18 b/w illus. 1 map 8 tables
- availability: Available
Table of Contents
1. Galician Jewry under Habsburg rule: the first century, 1772–1883
2. Neither Germans nor Poles: Jewish nationalism before Herzl, 1883–96
3. Building a nation of readers: the emergence of a Yiddish populist press in Galicia
4. A broadening audience: organizational and ideological change, 1896–1904
5. The 1907 parliamentary elections and the rise of Jewish mass politics.
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