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The Economy in Jewish History
New Perspectives on the Interrelationship between Ethnicity and Economic Life
Edited by Gideon Reuveni and Sarah Wobick-Segev
Foreword by Derek Penslar
252 pages, bibliog., index
ISBN 978-1-84545-774-7 $135.00/£99.00 Hb Published (December 2010)
eISBN 978-1-84545-986-4 eBook
“The book at first appears to be incoherent because of the diversity of the subjects treated, but one can remember it surprisingly as a fairly homogeneous whole after having read it from the beginning to the end… [when] the reader is left with a kind of holographic image of a vast and multifaceted Jewish economic activity, which spans many centuries and which admirably and miraculously continues to flourish.” · The European Journal of the History of Economic Thought
“The volume under review is a signal contribution to the recent wave of new research…The result [of this volume’s approach] is rewarding for readers interested in thematic explorations about society, culture, and money, as seen from an insider/outsider perspective.” · Journal of Interdisciplinary History
“The theme…is a vitally important one, Reuveni’s Prolegomena lays out a compelling interpretation of the field…. The volume as a whole is valuable in providing the reader with an overview of the engagement of Jews in the economy, or how Jews were imagined to participate in the economy, particularly in Europe.” · Leora Auslander, University of Chicago
“This is an impressive essay collection that [offers] an innovative approach to modern Jewish history…. Another strong point is that several contributions are based on archival research and deal with little studied contexts, such as Africa or indeed Hungary.” · Tobias Brinkmann, Penn State University
Jewish historiography tends to stress the religious, cultural, and political aspects of the past. By contrast the “economy” has been pushed to the margins of the Jewish discourse and scholarship since the end of the Second World War. This volume takes a fresh look at Jews and the economy, arguing that a broader, cultural approach is needed to understand the central importance of the economy. The very dynamics of economy and its ability to function depend on the ability of individuals to interact, and on the shared values and norms that are fostered within ethnic communities. Thus this volume sheds new light on the interrelationship between religion, ethnicity, culture, and the economy, revealing the potential of an “economic turn” in the study of history.
Gideon Reuveni is Director of the Centre for German Jewish Studies at the University of Sussex. He is the author of Reading Germany: Literature and Consumer Culture in Germany before 1933 (Berghahn, 2006) and the co-editor of several other books on different aspects of Jewish history. Presently he is working on a book on consumer culture and the making of Jewish identity in Europe.
Sarah Wobick-Segev is a Jim Joseph postdoctoral teaching fellow at Syracuse University. She has most recently published “Une place pour l’amour? Le mariage juif à Paris et à Berlin dans une ère transitionnelle, 1890–1930” in Expériences croisées. Les juifs de France et d’Allemagne aux XIXe et XXe siècles edited by Heidi Knörzer (Éditions de l’éclat, 2010).