European Judaism celebrates its 40th year of existence, but 'European Judaism' still does not exist, and it is doubtful whether it ever will. There are Anglo-Jewry, French Jewry, Jews in Germany (NB, not deutsches Judentum), Dutch and Italian Jewry, etc. But there is no European Jewish identity, nor a European Jewish intellectual life. And that is to say that the Jews of Europe have a minimal impact on the Jewish world. Today, as forty or fifty years ago, or even more so, there are two centres of Judaism in the world: North America and Israel. Of course, European Judaism is not to be blamed for this state of affairs, for the nationalisms of Europe's Jewish communities. It is impossible for a journal to shape, on its own, intellectual history. But maybe we could have made a bigger effort and have had some impact trying to do so.
Like their German colleagues the French rabbis enthusiastically supported the war effort. They even seemed to move away from the French style of patriotism, concerned with reason and universalism, to associate themselves with the prevalent nationalism by acknowledging in their sermons the tones of Maurice Barrès, the apostle of anti-Semitism, who, for the first time, included the Jews amongst the great French families. Contrary to the 'barbarians' from across the Rhine, who made obeisance to their new Pharaoh, the French Jews found themselves summoned to sacrifice themselves for the fatherland. The death of Rabbi Abraham Bloch, the report of which affirms that he was killed while bringing a crucifix to a dying Catholic soldier, symbolizes this now supposedly permanent unity of the religions.
What can Transnational Studies offer the analysis of localized conflict and protest?
Nina Glick Schiller
After reviewing the strengths and limitations of Transnational Studies, including its methodological nationalism, this article calls for the field to develop a theory of power. A transnational theory of power allows us to set aside binaries such as internal/external, global/local, or structure/agency, when analyzing historical and contemporary social processes and conflicts. Previous and current scholarship on imperialism can contribute to this project by facilitating the examination of the role of finance capitalists and of states of unequal financial and military power. However, Transnational Studies also must assess the contestatory possibilities of transnational social movements. The articles in this special section contribute to the development of Transnational Studies by examining past and present transnational constructions of locality, identity, authenticity, and voice, within social fields of uneven power. The articles also illuminate the types of transnational practices, conflict, and struggle that emerge. v
The culture of class politics in contemporary Britain
This article explores the legal precedent of the case of Mandla versus Dowell-Lee (Mandla v Dowell-Lee 1983) to explain how the far right British National Party mobilizes ethnic strategies and specifically the category of “indigenous Britons,“ to turn post-colonial multiculturalism on its head and thereby disavow the realities of a post-industrial, multiracial working class in Britain. The article argues that the historical moment in contemporary Britain is characterized by a shift away from the politics of social class toward collective organization and sentiment based on ethnicity and cultural nationalism. Drawing on ethnographic and historical research, conducted between 1998 and 2000 on the post-industrial Docklands of Southeast London, the article explains an exceptional local area case study, which proves the rule about the growth in influence in the first decade of the twenty-first century of far-right politics in post-industrial urban areas of Britain.
Whither race? Physical anthropology in post-1945 Central and Southeastern Europe
Although research on the history of physical anthropology in Central and Southeastern Europe has increased significantly since the 1990s the impact race had on the discipline's conceptual maturity has yet to be fully addressed. Once physical anthropology is recognized as having preserved inter-war racial tropes within scientific discourses about national communities, new insights on how nationalism developed during the 1970s and 1980s will emerge, both in countries belonging to the communist East—Hungary, Bulgaria, and Romania, and in those belonging to the West—Austria and Greece. By looking at the relationship between race and physical anthropology in these countries after 1945 it becomes clear what enabled the recurrent themes of ethnic primordiality, racial continuity, and de-nationalizing of ethnic minorities not only to flourish during the 1980s but also to re-emerge overtly during political changes characterizing the last two decades.
Physical anthropology in Hungary and Romania, 1900–1940
This article discusses the relationship between race and physical anthropology in Hungary and Romania between 1900 and 1940. It begins by looking at institutional developments in both countries and how these influenced the most important Hungarian and Romanian anthropologists' professional and research agendas. Drawing from a wide range of primary sources, the article reveals the significant role the concept of race played in articulating anthropological and ethnic narratives of national belonging. It is necessary to understand the appeal of the idea of race in this context. With idealized images of national communities and racial hierarchies creeping back into Eastern European popular culture and politics, one needs to understand the latent and often unrecognized legacies of race in shaping not only scientific disciplines like anthropology, but also the emergence and entrancement of modern Hungarian and Romanian nationalism.
Identity, Law, and Gender in the Anthropology of Contemporary Buddhism
“To be Burmese is to be Buddhist” is a slogan commonly identified with the dawn of nationalism in the country known today as Myanmar, where violence between Buddhist, Muslim, and ethnic communities has increasingly jeopardized liberalizing reforms. How do contemporary forms of Theravada Buddhist discourse shape ideas of belonging in a multi-religious and ethnically diverse Myanmar following the dissolution of military rule in 2011? How do digital technologies and globalizing communication networks in this nation influence rapidly changing social identities, anxieties, and imaginaries that Brigit Meyer identifies as ‘aesthetic formations’? In this article, I trace diverse genealogies of belonging to show how contemporary constructions of meaning facilitate religious imaginaries that may exacerbate difference by drawing on past ideologies of conflict or may seek to envision a new and diverse Myanmar.
U.S. History Textbook Controversies in the 1940s and 1990s
This article examines two incidents of textbook controversy in the United States in the course of the last half-century. First, it addresses history's historical relationship to the modern nation-state and nationalism. How does that relationship, and the particular way it is understood, limit the boundaries of history, particularly the contest over whether American history ought to be taught as selfcontained and exceptionalist or taught within a larger global context? Second, it addresses the presence of what could be called a historical essentialism or even historical fundamentalism in textbook controversies. The article concludes with an examination of the increasingly political character of the textbook approval and adoption process, as well as the role of publishers and professional historians in the process.
Alienation and the American Scene in George William Curtis’s Lotus-Eating: A Summer Book
George William Curtis was a popular travel essayist and lecturer during the mid-nineteenth century, but his work has seen limited critical attention. This article examines Curtis’s 1852 book Lotus-Eating, an account of his summer trip visiting numerous tourist destinations throughout New York and New England. Situating Curtis’s narrative against the literary nationalism of his contemporaries, the article examines how Curtis’s prior four-year tour of Europe intrudes upon his experiences of the American scene, resulting in a sense of alienation and melancholic yearning for Europe. Curtis’s text engages central questions of national identity as it intersects with the emergence of nature tourism, but contrary to the dominant rhetoric of his time, during his tour Curtis articulates not a triumphal belief in American manifest destiny but a mournful nostalgia for the scenes and sensations of Europe.
The Postsocialist Myth of Capitalism and the Ideological Suspension of Postmodernity
There is a widespread tendency to see the perils of postsocialism in the revival of the ghosts and myths from the past—namely ethnocentrism, nationalism, exclusiveness, bickering, collectivist-authoritarianism, expansionist chauvinism, and victimisation. I suggest that postsocialism's perils rest with a myth from the future, namely, the myth of capitalism. Those perils, I argue, are rooted in the fetishisation of capitalism by the postsocialist societies as a reflection of their deeply ingrained teleological way of perceiving the future. Political leaders are taking advantage of this situation by putting themselves in the position of those who would lead toward such a utopia. As a consequence, individual freedoms are sacrificed at the altar of communitarian bliss. I suggest that the only hope that we have to secularise the newly re-religiosised postsocialist societies rests with intellectuals.