Seeing Like a Nation: The Public and Private Lives of East European Jews in the Age of Nationalism, 1890-1939


Charles A. Ryskamp Research Fellowships




This project investigates how the spread of nationalism in the Russian-Polish borderlands between 1890 and 1939 reshaped the civic, familial, religious, and intimate lives of the region’s Jews; how disparate Jewish subcultures responded to the growing power of nationhood as the region’s organizing principle; and how Jewish thinkers and novelists reimagined territory, family, and home in relation to the nation. The first part of the project focuses on how the threat/prospect of nationalism reshaped Russian-Jewish debates over religion, class relations, gender, family relations, and Jewish political thought between 1890-1919. The second part of the project examines how Jews in the interwar Polish and Lithuanian nation-states dealt with the apotheosis of nationalism in civic relations with Poles, in Yiddish popular culture, in spiritual practice, tourism and leisure, and in political thought.