Citizens of empire : Jews in the service of the British Empire, 1906-1940 / by Stephanie Chasin.
My doctoral research concerns the nature, experience, and impact of Jews in imperial service in the British Empire during the period 1906-1940. My dissertation explores another side of modern Jewish history that diverges from the many studies on Jews and the nation-state. It examines the connection between Jews, modern imperialism, transnational identity, through the experience of Jewish in imperial service. It further looks at how these are complicated by the rise of Jewish nationalism and crises in the empire, especially after World War I.In response to the prevailing notion of these men as ineffectual, inauthentic Jews, who were reluctant to involve themselves in Jewish matters, this study presents a portrait of these men as a heterogeneous group with a diverse relationship to their Jewishness. Depending on their individual level of Jewish identity, some of the figures studied used their influence in British imperial politics to aid Jews in other parts of the world. They did so, without fail, within the structure of British imperial policies and ideals. Like other imperialists, they viewed the empire as the purveyor of British parliamentarianism, liberty, and the rule of law.By focusing on men in imperial politics, this study refutes the idea that Jews were "outsiders" in British history, that they were part of a persecuted minority, and that they were victims of a persistent and pernicious antisemitism that affected their careers. It also rejects the idea that there were, or are, "authentic" or "inauthentic" Jews by arguing that this group of men was diverse in their adherence to a Jewish identity and that there was no single way or categorizing them. By putting these men into their historical context—the high political life of the British Empire, which was replete with talent, ambition, loyalty, disloyalty, mediocrity, intrigue, and so much more—a bigger picture emerges that takes into consideration not only these men's Jewishness but also, on a personal level, their class status, personality, political allegiance, and, on a public level, party differences and the political state of affairs in the region or colony for which they were responsible.
Record last modified: 2018-05-18 16:20:00
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