Contents and AbstractsIntroduction: Introduction chapter abstractThe introduction presents the book's main themes and arguments. It highlights the problems with defining nationalism and explains the distinction between territorial sovereignty and nonterritorial autonomy. In particular, the introduction emphasizes that the movement for Jewish autonomy developed in the context of changing notions of political sovereignty, decentralization, and federalism among the many national groups of Eastern Europe and should be seen as a key element of both the political campaign for Jewish individual and collective rights and the cultural mission to create an alternative to religious traditionalism. 1Jewish Autonomy Imagined and Remembered chapter abstractThis chapter explains how Simon Dubnov's political and historical theories developed, with attention to his philosophical influences. It also considers what Jewish autonomy meant historically and what actually happened to Jewish autonomy in the Russian Empire in the nineteenth century that led Dubnov and others to conclude that it should be revived. To Dubnov, the only way to ensure Jewish national continuity in the future was to rebuild the structure of Jewish autonomy along secular national lines, with legal recognition from the state. Thus, the final section of this chapter gives a view of how the significant legal and economic changes affecting the Russian state and its inhabitants generally over the course of the nineteenth century had altered Jewish society in particular. 2Jewish Autonomy and Europe's Changing Legal Landscape chapter abstractThis chapter looks at the intellectual ferment in which ideas about autonomism percolated among Jewish liberals and socialists. Jewish socialists in Russia (and Russian Jewish socialists living abroad) looked to Austria to see how the solutions proposed by Marxist jurists and legal theorists about resolving the simmering disputes among that empire's many nationalities might apply in Russia. On the other hand, Jewish liberals, and the emerging Jewish intelligentsia in general, watched a wide-scale experiment with local self-government in Russia and emulated the Russian activists who sought to decentralize the empire and regenerate it. In sum, socialists, liberals, and others who took up ideas about Jewish autonomy adapted the prevailing intellectual trends to the Jewish situation in order to argue that Jews in the Russian Empire must attain equality not just as individuals but also as a group. 3Revolution, Nationality Politics, and the Legal Claim to Jewish Autonomy, 1905-7 chapter abstractThis chapter examines the role of the Russian revolution of 1905-7 in politicizing Russian Jewry and bringing the issue of national rights to the fore. During these revolutionary years and thereafter, politically active Jews in Russia became convinced that if the Jews did not create a program for nonterritorial Jewish autonomy, they would be left without the autonomous rights of the other national minorities. Particular attention is paid to the Union for Full Rights for the Jews of Russia and its debates over national rights and autonomy. As new Jewish parties were founded and others became legally allowed, the demand for Jewish national rights and autonomy was adopted and adapted in various forms by all parties, such as Zionists and socialists, who took up demands for Jewish national rights in Russia alongside their demands for a Jewish state or proletarian revolution. 4Jewish Culture and Autonomy in Reform and Retrenchment, 1907-14 chapter abstractThe decade leading up to World War I saw the creation of new autonomist initiatives and growing nationalism across the Jewish political spectrum. Jewish intellectuals, lawyers, and communal activists debated the nature of the national idea and the ideal form of Jewish self-government. This chapter analyzes the Jewish conferences, organizations, and publications established during the interrevolutionary period th
Simon Rabinovitch is Assistant Professor in the Department of History at Boston University.
Commended for National Jewish Book Award (Writing/Archival Mater.) 2014.