Subjects and Agents of Empire: German Jews in Post-Colonial Perspective
Scholars of German‐Jewish Studies have built on Suzanne Zantop's groundbreaking work on German colonial fantasies by encouraging us to consider more fully the role of Jews and of antisemitism in German colonialism's contradictory evolution. I briefly outline some of this scholarship along with the ways post‐colonial theory has and, more to the point, has not been employed as a theoretical framework in these studies. Even as we pay attention to colonial fantasies about Jews, I argue that colonial fantasies (and actions) by Jews deserve more explicit consideration. In the remainder of my discussion, I examine the colonialist motivations of the late nineteenth century Austrian‐Jewish writer, Karl Emil Franzos (1847–1904), and of his ethnographic writings about Habsburg Eastern Europe. Always keeping in mind the ways in which German Jews were subjects of internal colonization, by paying attention to Jews as colonial agents as well, we may increase our understanding of the possible roles for Jews in the development of German national and colonial discourses prior to World War II.
The German Quarterly