Vera Kallenberg is about to complete her PhD thesis „Does Jewishness matter? Jews in Frankfurt Penal Justice 1780-1814“. She is a doctoral candidate in History at TU Darmstadt and the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHESS) Paris, a member of the research cluster „Jews within the pluralistic legal culture of the Holy Roman Empire“ at the Max-Planck-Institute for European legal History in Frankfurt Main and associated with the Center of Jewish Studies Berlin-Brandenburg and the Center Marc Bloch Berlin. She has received scholarships from the Max-Planck-Society, the Franco-German University, the German Academic Exchange Service, the German National Academic Foundation and is currently a Fellow of the Foundation for the Memory of the Holocaust Paris. Her main fields of research are European and German Jewish History of the 18th and 19th centuries (particularly legal history, everyday history and gender studies).
„Does Jewishness matter? Jews in Frankfurt Penal Justice 1780-1814“
In my PhD project, I analyze the treatment of Jewish women and men in the Christian-governmental authorities’ dispensation of penal justice at the turn of the 18th to the 19th century. I thereby look at the differences between Jewish people in terms of their agency (courses of action). I am also interested in possible changes in the treatment of Jewish men and women and changes in their own procedures in this period of accelerated political, social and cultural progress between 1779 and 1814.
My sources are records of criminal proceedings of the Peinliches Verhöramt which was the Christian-governmental authority for both prosecution and sentencing in minor cases in Frankfurt. My research project is based on 354 cases of criminal proceedings that involve Jews as delinquents, accused, victims, witnesses, relatives and investigators.
By analyzing court records concerning Jews, I’d like to understand the significance of the category Jewish for the dispensation of penal justice. This implies the Christian perspective as well as the Jewish perspective. With regard to the perspective of the Christian authorities and the perspective of non-Jewish actors, this means to analyze Jewishness as a legal ‘label’ vs. social-cultural category. With regard to the perspective of Jewish actors, I consider Jewishness as basic condition and social-cultural form of existence for their treatment and agency in court.
With this study I pursue a double objective. The first is reconstructing Jewish everyday life and life conditions around 1800. From a conceptual point of view, I am interested, secondly, in (Re-) writing German-Jewish history as both a history of entanglements (in terms of Christian-Jewish relations and inner-Jewish relations) and a decentered history that is narrated from divers perspectives and implies a greater focus on the world of ordinary people. Therefore, I focus on interactions and exchange processes on both the level of actors and institutions and the level of law.
My project is located at the intersection of Cultural history, Everyday history and Gender history as well as Social history, historical crime research and Criminal law history. This combination of different research perspectives and questions requires different levels of analysis. I therefore combine qualitative analysis, quantitative analysis and detailed micro-level analysis (that means case studies).
with Meyer, J., Müller, J.M. (Hgg.): Intersectionality & Kritik. Neue Perspektiven für alte Fragen, Wiesbaden: VS Verlag 2012 (286 pp).
Von „liederlichen Land-Läuffern“ zum „asiatischen Volk“. Die Repräsentation der ‚Zigeuner’ in deutschsprachigen Lexika und Enzyklopädien zwischen 1700 und 1850. Eine wissensgeschichtliche Untersuchung, (Reihe: Zivilisationen & Geschichte – Band 5), Frankfurt am Main 2010 (161 pp).
„… den historischen Boden zu begreifen, auf dem man sich bewegt“: Verflechtung, Struktur, Geschichte, in: Erwägen Wissen Ethik (EWE), Jahrgang 24 (2013), S.164-170 (forthcoming).
Der Streit um den ‚Judenpurschen’: Interagierende Herrschafts- und Handlungsräume in der deutsch-jüdischen Geschichte Hessen-Kassels und der Reichsritterschaft der Freiherrn von Thüngen um 1800. Ein Fallbeispiel, in: Gotzmann, A.; Wendehorst, S. (eds.): Kaiser und Reich in der jüdischen Lokalgeschichte, München: Oldenbourg 2013, p.93-115.
‚Intersektionalität’ als ‚histoire croisée’: zum Verhältnis von ‚Intersektionalität’, Geschlechterforschung und Geschichtswissenschaften, in: Hornung, E.; Günther-Saeed, M. et alii (eds.): Zwischenbestimmungen. Geschlecht und Identität jenseits der Fixierbarkeit? Nürnberg: Königshausen & Neumann 2012, p.70-120.