Was enlightened absolutism successful
Examined by Nancy Sinkoff (Assistant Professor in history and Jewish Studies, Rutgers College)
With this particular superb book, Lois C. Dubin has effectively and stylishly slain the 2-headed dragon of contemporary Jewish historiography: nationalism and Germanocentrism. She's also provided Habsburg historians having a much-needed management of the complex interaction between condition-building, changing absolutism and also the Jews, one of many significant "national unprivileged" inside the heterogeneous empire.
As because of so many other fields, much has transformed within the writing of contemporary Jewish history because the sixties. Previous decades of Jewish historians, elevated within the heady atmosphere of European nationalism in the finish from the nineteenth century, tended toward an important Zion versus. Diaspora dichotomy where the good reputation for European Jews was frequently measured by their "nationalist" awareness or lack thereof. Virtually all of the historic groups that supported the tectonic changes in Jewish existence between your years 1750-1881: modernization, assimilation, acculturation, Enlightenment, religious and communal transformation, halakhic (Jewish legal) development, politics, etc. were judged with this explicit nationalist agenda. A similarly problematic historiographic quandary for that historian of European Jewry continues to be the Germanocentrism from the historic narrative. Jewish historians centered on German lands since the modern, critical study from the Jews (Wissenschaft des Judentums) was created there and since a lifetime-lengthy struggle for political emancipation the german language lands led to an especially articulate group of Jewish reactions towards the modern condition, which fascinated the current Jewish historian.
Caused by both of these historiographic habits was that, until lately, there is just one type of Jewish modernization (the German one) by which other regions were measured. Germany was the middle and therefore central, and also the "periphery" (Italia, Galicia, Belarus, Podolia, Hungary, Prague, not to mention balance overlooked regions of European Sephardic settlement), was considered iterative and secondary. Recently, this black-and-whitened inclination continues to be fortunately muddied, that has urged another cohort of European Jewish historians look around the regional diversity from the Jewish encounter with modernity. The Main Harbour Jews of Habsburg Trieste, an in depth communal history which particularly engages the individuality of the Habsburg port Jewry, is really a type of how it ought to be done.