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A surprising number of Jews lived, literally and figuratively, "beyond the Pale" of Jewish Settlement in tsarist Russia during the half-century before the Revolution of 1917. Thanks to the availability of long-closed Russian archives, along with a wide range of other sources, Benjamin Nathans reinterprets the history of the Russian-Jewish encounter.
In the wake of Russia's "Great Reforms," Nathans writes, a policy of selective integration stimulated social and geographic mobility among the empire's Jews. The reaction that culminated, toward the turn of the century, in ethnic restrictions on admission to universities, the professions, and other institutions of civil society reflected broad anxieties that Russians were being placed at a disadvantage in their own empire. Nathans's conclusions about the effects of selective integration and the Russian-Jewish encounter during this formative period will be of great interest to all students of modern Jewish and modern Russian history.
List of Maps, Illustrations, and Tables
Introduction. The Russian-Jewish Encounter
PART I: THE PROBLEM OF EMANCIPATION UNDER THE OLD REGIME
1. Jews and the Imperial Social Hierarchy
2. The Genesis of Selective Integration
PART II. THE JEWS OF ST. PETERSBURG
3. Language, Ethnicity, and Urban Space
4. Conflict and Community
5. The Geography of Jewish Politics
PART III. JEWS, RUSSIANS, AND THE IMPERIAL UNIVERSITY
6. The University as Melting Pot?
7. A Silent Pogrom
PART IV. IN THE COURT OF GENTILES
8. The Judicial Reform and Jewish Citizenship
9. Ethnicity and Civil Society: The Russian Legal Profession
Conclusion. The Russian-Jewish Encounter in Comparative Perspective
Benjamin Nathans is Associate Professor of History at the University of Pennsylvania. He edited the Russian-language Research Guide to Materials on the History of Russian Jewry (Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries) in Selected Archives of the Former Soviet Union (1994), compiled by G. M. Deych.
"Nathans's deeply researched and meticulously argued book takes us into the drawing rooms and offices of successful Jews of St. Petersburg and greatly enhances our understanding not only of Jewish intellectual, political, and professional leadership but of Russian politics and society as well."—Richard Stites, author of Russian Popular Culture
"The work of an extremely talented and intelligent historian. It breaks new ground both conceptually and substantively."—Michael Stanislawski, author of Zionism and the Fin de Siècle
"Ben Nathans moves in this remarkable book well beyond the standard spatial as well as conceptual boundaries typically associated with prerevolutionary Russian Jewry. It is the work of a splendid historian who negotiates brilliantly the borders of Russian and Jewish history, and manages to link the two persuasively in an original, lucid narrative."—Steven J. Zipperstein, author of Imagining Russian Jewry
W. Bruce Lincoln Prize, American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies
Wayne S. Vucinich Book Prize, American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies
Koret Book Award for Jewish History, Koret Foundation