There is no Jewish Question in the United States: such is a foundational claim of American Jewish history. In this country, the claim goes, Jews gained legal recognition as individuals and, thus, became liberal subjects like any other, unencumbered by state-based concerns about their group status. Yet for as foundational as the assertion, its substance remains more a matter of faith than fact. In practice, over the course of their history, American Jews occupied legal, political, economic, and cultural categories that chafed against the model of the individual liberal subject. In this talk, Berman illuminates why American Jews and their historians have disavowed an American Jewish Question, and what we learn from recovering the history of its particular American invocations.
Sponsor: Program in Judaic Studies, Yale University