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Fashioning A Neutral Zone: Jewish And Protestant Socialists Challenge Religionswissenschaft In Weimar Germany

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Chapter Summary

In the more convenient context of the second half of the twentieth century, the Jews gained access to the social sciences in large numbers, but, like Claude Lévi-Strauss or Daniel Bell, systematically neglected the anthropology, sociology, and political history of past and present Jewish societies. This chapter considers some examples. The master of anthropology, Franz Boas, born in 1858 and raised in Germany in an assimilated Jewish family that had embraced the republican ideas of 1848, immigrated in the United States in 1884 and became a professor at Columbia University in 1896; in 1908, he was the first to speak out against the arrival of Eastern European Jews in the United States, who, from his point of view, had a physical type distinct from that of Northwest Europe and whose norms were profoundly different from those of American Jewry.

Keywords: Jewish societies; political history; sociology



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