CfP: Nationalist Economy. Racism and Economy 1918-1939

Nationalist Economy. On the introduction of racist parameters in economies in Europe between the wars 1918-1939

When Werner Sombart published his study “Die Juden und das Wirtschaftsleben” 100 years ago, he paved the way for an anti-Semitic tendency towards viewing Jews as a distinct, peculiar group within the German economy. A short time later, with the outbreak of the First World War, the liberal global economic system which was based on principles of free trade and most favoured nation treatment and negotiated in gold parities finally collapsed. In its place, economic regimes were installed in Europe which not only jealously guarded their borders by means of customs duties and currency and transfer restrictions but also increasingly sought to reserve trade, industry and agriculture for certain sections of the population, defined by their social or ethnic identity.

These aspects are to be discussed at a conference entitled “Nationalist Economy. On the introduction of racist parameters in economies in Europe between the wars 1918-1939”, held jointly by the Hebrew University and the Humboldt University as part of the research programme “Jews in Berlin, 1918-1938: accultured, assertive, persecuted, deprived of rights” funded by the Einstein Stiftung, Berlin.

The following points are to be considered at the conference: Which minorities were economically isolated in which countries? Were there alliances between individual minorities or were they played off against each other? When and how did minorities serve which groups as pawns in political power games? Was there a Western European equivalent to the racist stratification of the economy which was especially apparent in Central, South-eastern and Eastern Europe? Which forms of economic stigmatization, segregation and isolation were employed and how did those targeted defend themselves against them? Were economic scandals used in other European countries besides Germany as a vehicle for anti-Semitic agitation? In what way did academics such as Werner Sombart participate in drawing racist boundaries?

All those interested are very welcome to submit abstracts of proposed papers (no more than 2,500 characters) by February 28, 2012 to Dr. Christoph Kreutzmueller (


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