Geography of Hope: Exile, the Enlightenment, Disassimilation

Geography of Hope: Exile, the Enlightenment, Disassimilation


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Geography of Hope: Exile, the Enlightenment, Disassimilation by Pierre Birnbaum

Intellectuals of Jewish origin have long been well represented in the social sciences, although very few of the most prominent among them have devoted any of their work to the fact of being Jewish itself. At the same time, the founding role of Jewish theoreticians has been thought to derive from their dual position as both outsiders faced with the possibility of anti-Semitism and insiders assimilated into behaving according to the norms of a dominant "code of civility." In Geography of Hope, Pierre Birnbaum studies the trajectories of eight celebrated Jewish thinkers of the past two centuries (Marx, Durkheim, Simmel, Aron, Arendt, Berlin, Walzer, and Yerushalmi) who emerged from milieus acculturated to greatly varying degrees. The result is a renewed historiography of the Diaspora traversed by the tensions between adherence to Enlightenment universalism and a return to individual origins. Birnbaum's analysis of writings often neglected by previous scholarship, such as private correspondence, testifies to the multiplicity of possible responses to this challenge of double allegiance—from the more republican turn of the French to those Americans touched by the culture of identity. This vast and encompassing work is a stimulating, provocative, and hopeful contribution to the study of Judaism and democracy.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780804752930
Publisher: Stanford University Press
Publication date: 01/10/2008
Series: Stanford Studies in Jewish History and C
Pages: 488
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.40(d)

About the Author

Pierre Birnbaum is a leading French historian and sociologist. His works available in English include The Heights of Power: An Essay on the Power Elite in France (1982), States and Collective Action: The European Experience (1988), Anti-Semitism in France: A Political History from Leon Blum to the Present (1992), The Jews of the Republic: A Political History of State Jews of France from Gambetta to Vichy (Stanford, 1996), Jewish Destinies: Citizenship, State, and Community in Modern France (2000), The Idea of France (2001), and The Anti-Semitic Moment: A Tour of France in 1898 (2003).

Table of Contents

Introduction: Toward a Counterhistory     1
Around a Surprising Encounter with Heinrich Graetz   Karl Marx     36
The Memory of Masada   Emile David Durkheim     83
The Stranger, from Berlin to Chicago   Georg Simmel     123
An "Authentic French Jew" in Search of His Roots   Raymond Aron     169
Hannah and Rahel, "Fugitives from Palestine"   Hannah Arendt     203
The Awakening of a Wounded Nationalism   Isaiah Berlin     242
The End of Whispering   Michael Walzer     288
A Home for "Fallen Jews"   Yosef Hayim Yerushalmi     332
Conclusion: Exile, the Enlightenment, Disassimilation     374
Notes     385

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