Orientalism for the Nation: Jews and Oriental Scholarship in Modern Hungary


EES Dissertation


Department of History


My dissertation studies the careers of three internationally acknowledged Hungarian Jewish orientalists. The Turkologist Armin Vambery (1832-1913), the Islamicist and Arab philologist Ignaz Goldziher (1850-1921), and Sir Mark Aurel Stein (1862-1943), archaeologist, geographer, and Sanskritist, witnessed the formation of the modern Hungarian nation state and the gradual process of Jewish integration in Hungary. Through the emphasis on the Hungarians’ Asian origins, Orientalism and orientalist discourse contributed to the formation of modern Hungarian national identity, in which, despite their Jewish identity, the three scholars took active part. Their history challenges existing arguments about the mutual influence between Oriental studies, Jewish integration, and modern European politics.