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When, How, and Why Did Jews Become a “Minority”? Remapping Difference in Central Europe, 1815-1919
September 24, 2017 @ 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm
The conceptual couple of majority/minority is viewed as a harmless way of identifying an arithmetic relationship. The idea of a dichotomy between majority and (Jewish) minority as a short hand to describe relations between ethnic or religious groups, however, is recent. In fact, as the lecture will demonstrate, it did not exist before 1919 when in the wake of World War I the idea of democracy and the idea of the homogeneous nation-state triumphed simultaneously. Prior to 1919, languages of diversity invoked embedded concepts that referred to specific constellations of difference, such as colony or community, churches, nations, races, or tribes. The opposition of majority and minority introduced a level of abstraction into struggles over recognition. “Minority rights” for Jews and others became a miracle cure in such conflicts and seemed to offer a universal formula promising an efficacious remedy.
Till van Rahden is the Canada Research Chair in German and European Studies, Université de Montréal, Department of History. His book, Jews and other Germans: Civil Society, Religious Diversity and Urban Politics in Breslau, 1860-1925 (2008), received the Fraenkel Prize in Contemporary History. He has co-edited Juden, Bürger, Deutsche: Zur Geschichte von Vielfalt und Differenz 1800-1933 (2001); Demokratie im Schatten der Gewalt: Geschichten des Privaten im deutschen Nachkrieg (2010); and Autorität: Krise, Konstruktion und Konjunktur (2016).
Moderation: JAMES CHAPPEL | DUKE University, Department of History
In cooperation with the Carolina Center for Jewish Studies and the Center for Judaic, Holocaust and Peace Studies at Appalachian State University Seminar
This event is part of the NC German Studies Seminar & Workshop Series.