Dr. Susanne Korbel is the principal investigator of the FWF funded project “Entanglements of Jews and non-Jews in private spaces in Budapest and Vienna, 1900–1930” (FWF ESP120) and lecturer at the Center for Jewish Studies at the University of Graz. She specializes in cultural studies, gender studies, migration, and Jewish history. The project she is currently working on investigates encounters between Jews and non-Jews in housing sites in order to develop new, non-exclusive narratives based on everyday life aiming to overcome narratives of particularity. Her first book is entitled Auf die Tour! Jüdinnen und Juden in Singspielhalle, Kabarett und Varieté zwischen Habsburgermonarchie und Amerika um 1900 (Böhlau 2021). She has held fellowships in Jerusalem, New York, Southampton, and Tübingen, and taught as visiting faculty at the Andrássy University Budapest and the University of Haifa. She studied Cultural Studies, History and Cultural Anthropology in Graz, Jerusalem, Budapest, and New York and earned her doctoral degree from the University of Graz.

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    Entanglements of Jews and non-Jews in Private Spaces in Central Europe: Budapest and Vienna, 1900–1930 (FWF Project ESP 120)

    In this project, I study personal encounters between Jews and non-Jews in Budapest and Vienna around 1900, despite historiography about Jews in the emergence of modernity remaining characterized by a narrative of private isolation. Jewish history has thus been conceived as particular and not as part of general history. The absence of research on private everyday life in the historiography about Jews in the Habsburg Empire has resulted in a Jewish history of cultural participation but not of private involvement. Without an adequate elaboration of non-exclusive narratives of the Jews in Budapest and Vienna, we undervalue the impact of Jewish and non-Jewish relations, particularly in daily routines.

    My project remedies this gap by analyzing multifarious encounters between Jews and non-Jews in the “private” spaces of everyday life. I aim at examining and comparing housing and working sites in Budapest and Vienna as spaces that connected Jews and non-Jews in their historic past. Where and how did Jews and non-Jews in Budapest and Vienna come into contact with one another in “private” rooms around 1900? What kind of contacts existed between Jews and non-Jews outside public places? What areas of daily life can be defined as Jewish and non-Jewish spaces of interaction and interethnic exchange? What effect did such meetings have on prejudices?

    To realize the project, which stands at the intersection of Jewish studies, cultural studies and historiography—and is equally relevant to gender studies and to perspectives on interethnic relations in societies shaped by migration—I apply approaches of everyday history. By investigating identifications based on both similarity and difference within the spaces I label “private non-spaces,” I aim to gain new insights about intimacy in housing spheres. As “private-non-spaces” I explore spaces that have been in the focus of research on Jewish and non-Jewish relations only rarely: Living and sleeping spaces (including bed lodgers, subtenants, house and apartment communities, domestic workers living in their own households), spaces for work at home (production of factory goods in private apartments in production communities), and forced accommodation spaces (spaces of forced living to which the state has access such as prisons and borstals, as well as institutions for handicapped people).


    AJS – The Association for Jewish Studies

    GSA – German Studies Association

    Susanne Korbel

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