Studying the Jew: Scholarly Antisemitism in Nazi Germany [NOOK Book]

Overview

Early in his political career, Adolf Hitler declared the importance of what he called ?an antisemitism of reason.? Determined not to rely solely on traditional, cruder forms of prejudice against Jews, he hoped that his exclusionary and violent policies would be legitimized by scientific scholarship. The result was a disturbing, and long-overlooked, aspect of National Socialism: Nazi Jewish Studies.

Studying the Jew investigates the careers of a few dozen German scholars who ...

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Studying the Jew: Scholarly Antisemitism in Nazi Germany

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Overview

Early in his political career, Adolf Hitler declared the importance of what he called “an antisemitism of reason.” Determined not to rely solely on traditional, cruder forms of prejudice against Jews, he hoped that his exclusionary and violent policies would be legitimized by scientific scholarship. The result was a disturbing, and long-overlooked, aspect of National Socialism: Nazi Jewish Studies.

Studying the Jew investigates the careers of a few dozen German scholars who forged an interdisciplinary field, drawing upon studies in anthropology, biology, religion, history, and the social sciences to create a comprehensive portrait of the Jew—one with devastating consequences. Working within the universities and research institutions of the Third Reich, these men fabricated an elaborate empirical basis for Nazi antisemitic policies. They supported the Nazi campaign against Jews by defining them as racially alien, morally corrupt, and inherently criminal.

In a chilling story of academics who perverted their talents and distorted their research in support of persecution and genocide, Studying the Jew explores the intersection of ideology and scholarship, the state and the university, the intellectual and his motivations, to provide a new appreciation of the use and abuse of learning and the horrors perpetrated in the name of reason.

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What People Are Saying

Christopher R. Browning
Although the complicity of various professions with the Nazi regime has been well demonstrated, Alan Steinweis shifts the focus beyond the free professions, hard sciences, and technocrats to scholars in the humanities and "soft" social sciences. He is concerned with how scholars in these disciplines both legitimized the regime's insistence that there was a "Jewish problem" to be solved and lent their expertise on Jewish matters to help the regime shape its destructive policies. Steinweis makes clear that this "tainted" scholarship was not done by a tiny minority of "quacks" and infiltrating radicals but was produced by respectable and mainstream scholars. --(Christopher R. Browning, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
Claudia Koonz
In his meticulously researched study, Alan Steinweis reconstructs the academic networks that provided an aura of respectability for antisemitic persecution. Studying the Jew exposes the culpability of scholars who collaborated with Nazi race policy and nevertheless continued their careers after 1945 with barely a hitch. If one wants to understand the mentality of "desk murderers," this is an excellent place to start. --(Claudia Koonz, author of The Nazi Conscience)
Jeffrey Herf
In this excellent work of enduring importance, Steinweis offers new insight, astute judgment and fresh research concerning the antisemitic scholars in Nazi Germany who lent intellectual respectability to the policies of racial persecution. Studying the Jew is an essential sequel to Max Weinreich's classic of 1946, Hitler's Professors. It is a valuable contribution to the extensive history of politicization of scholarship in modern dictatorships. --(Jeffrey Herf, author of The Jewish Enemy: Nazi Propaganda during World War II and the Holocaust)
Susannah Heschel
By demonstrating how Nazi scholars and professors perverted their scholarship with a hatred of Jews, Alan Steinweis has written a work of great importance. "Jewish Studies" was an antisemitic movement within the universities that included theologians, historians, sociologists, biologists, and others across the academic disciplines. This brilliant new book reveals how the academy became nazified, shaping a new interdisciplinary enterprise: pathologizing the Jew.
--(Susannah Heschel, author of Abraham Geiger and the Jewish Jesus)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780674043992
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press
  • Publication date: 6/30/2009
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 214
  • Sales rank: 992,370
  • File size: 337 KB

Meet the Author

Alan E. Steinweis is Professor of History and Director of the Center for Holocaust Studies at the University of Vermont.

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Table of Contents

Introduction

1. An "Antisemitism of Reason"

2. Racializing the Jew

3. The Blood and Sins of Their Fathers

4. Dissimilation through Scholarship

5. Pathologizing the Jew

Epilogue

Notes

Acknowledgments

Index

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