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In words, the cement of the nation: representations of Jewish national language in German Zionist press, 1901-1914

Grant number: 06/06106-1
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Master
Effective date (Start): April 01, 2007
Effective date (End): February 28, 2009
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Anthropology
Principal Investigator:Omar Ribeiro Thomaz
Grantee:Barbara Odebrecht Weiss
Host Institution: Instituto de Filosofia e Ciências Humanas (IFCH). Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Campinas , SP, Brazil


The State of Israel could only be founded in 1948 because there was already a population established in the Palestinian territory who recognized itself as a modern Jewish nation. In the years ranging between 1901 and 1914, about which we are concerned in this project, there was a great dispute over the shape of this nationality. The mythical narrative of Israeli society is founded on a version of that dispute. According to it, the winners were the heroes who held the “genuine Jewish national project”. Hebrew became, till nowadays, a major symbol of the winner’s project, since it was “miraculously revived” as a mother tongue in a struggle against the German language. The struggle for the definition of the Jewish national tongue, understood as a symbolic event of national formation, has played a fundamental role in the Jewish national consciousness and in Zionism. By studying a historical period before de consolidation of the project that supported Hebrew as a national tongue, this project aims to contribute for a better understanding of the Israeli mythological narrative, from a point of view of historical anthropology. Our focus will be on the German-speaking Zionists, who held an alternative national tongue project. More specifically, we aim to comprehend the conflicting representations that the German-speaking Zionists had about themselves and about the Yiddish-speaking Jews of East Europe. There will also be payed attention to the representations of the disputing languages. In order to reach that purpose, we intend to realize an ethnography of the German Zionist debate, by focusing the newspaper’s articles that deal about language and education in Palestine, and which appeared in the German-speaking Zionist press (1901-1914).

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Academic Publications
(References retrieved automatically from State of São Paulo Research Institutions)
WEISS, Barbara Odebrecht. The Language War in the German Zionist Press (1897-1914): a debate in historical perspective. 2010. Master's Dissertation - Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Instituto de Filosofia e Ciências Humanas Campinas, SP.

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