"Modernity and its Discontents: Jewishness and gender in Gustav Freytag's Debit and Credit"
Presented by: Christine Achinger
Gustav Freytag's novel Soll und Haben (Debit and Credit, 1855) was one of the most widely read German novels of the second half of the 19th century, its author a leading liberal journalist and writer. More recently, however, the book has mostly been discussed as an example of literary antisemitism. I want to investigate this apparent contradiction between liberalism and antisemitism by looking at the ways in which notions of Germanness, Jewishness and gender interact in the text to undergird a vision of a specifically German way to capitalist modernity, and the ways in which these concerns are reflected in aesthetic debates surrounding the text.
"Parenting, Courtship, Gender, and the Making of Individuals and Community"
Presented by: Ben Baader
The diaries and letters by members of the Dann family in mid-19th century Frankfurt offer a glimpse into the lives of the mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, sisters and brothers who composed them. In fact, I propose reading the documents as windows into the process by which these humans constructed reality, gave meaning to their world, drew boundaries, and forged coherence as men or women, Jews, and middle-class Germans.
"Aspects of Gender and Community in an Early Modern Christian-Jewish Murder Case"
Presented by: Verena Kasper-Marienberg
In August 1781, Gumpel May, son of one of the richest Jewish families of Frankfurt/Main, was brutally murdered in the home of one of his Christian clients. The murderer, a young local Lutheran beer brewer, was presumably not only a debtor, but also a sexual partner of the victim. The interaction between the Christian and Jewish authorities, as well as the daily encounters between individual Jews and Christians in Frankfurt unfold in the many interrogations following the murder, and shed a new light on perceptions, ways of communication, and interrelations between the two societies.
Helmut Puff, University of Michigan - Commentator
Sponsored by: The Frankel Institute for Advanced Judaic Studies