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Becoming public : Jews in Baden and Hannover and their role in the German press, 1815-1848

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Title: Becoming public : Jews in Baden and Hannover and their role in the German press, 1815-1848
Author: Meola, David Andrew
Degree Doctor of Philosophy - PhD
Program History
Copyright Date: 2012
Publicly Available in cIRcle 2012-10-17
Abstract: This dissertation proposes the necessity of using local German newspapers as a valuable source for evaluating German Jewish publicness during the Restoration (1815-30) and Vormärz (1830-48) eras. It focuses on both the quotidian and extraordinary uses of the local press to achieve Jewish objectives. The dissertation proposes a re-evaluation of Jürgen Habermas’ Öffentlichkeitstheorie (publicness theory) by seeking to further spatialize the public sphere through the lens of local newspapers in the German states during the Restoration and Vormärz. Integrating spatial theory with theoretical perspectives about the public sphere, this project argues that newspapers became both places and spaces of German Jewish publicness. They were places that became familiar through extensive use, and spaces that became locations of freedom for German Jews and thus helped to destabilize the status quo—including prior definitions of Jewishness and Judaism. These local and public places and spaces became as important for the process of Jewish emancipation as the internal German Jewish press. By concentrating their efforts on the local level, Jews in Baden and Hannover, when allowed to participate in local newspapers, played an important part in creating the narrative about their own lives, helped facilitate their own emancipation, and showed they were actually equal to other Germans despite their political inequality. This project also identifies numerous reasons for German Jewish uses of local newspapers, including personal, religious, economic, state-political, and national-political. Within these contributions by German Jews to the press in Baden and Hannover, a fair amount of conflict among German Jews was also observed. These conflicts can be divided into three distinct types: secular conflict, inter-confessional conflict (the public fight over emancipation), and inner-Jewish conflict (religious reform). Yet, it was through this conflict that German Jews were able to make claims not only to play a role in the local public spheres, but also to be included in society as citizens and as “Germans.”
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2429/43428
Scholarly Level: Graduate

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