Lila Corwin Berman F'12
ACLS Fellowship Program 2012
Jewish Urban Journeys through an American City and Beyond
This project argues that, between World II and the early 1970s, Jews refashioned their urbanism into a vision of self, community, and society—referred to here as suburban cosmopolitanism—that persisted well beyond city limits. The study embeds its narrative in the local context of Detroit to challenge historians’ depiction of white, middle class disinvestment from city politics, culture, and people after World War II. It also erodes standard explanations of Jewish suburbanization as indicative of Jews’ easy mobility and detachment from physical space. Jewish movement away from cities reveals the makings of suburban cosmopolitanism, marked by struggles and contradictions about urban responsibility, liberalism, and the meaning of race in the United States.