Sperber, Jonathan 1952-

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Sperber, Jonathan 1952-

PERSONAL:

Born December 26, 1952, in New York, NY; son of Louis and Ruth Sperber; married Nancy Lynn Katzman; children: Adam Philip. Education: Cornell University, A.B., 1973; University of Chicago, Ph.D., 1980.

ADDRESSES:

Office—History Department, University of Missouri, 101 Read Hall, Columbia, MO 65211-7500; fax: 573-884-5151. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Academic and historian. Leo Baeck Institute, New York, NY, archivist, 1979-82; Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, visiting assistant professor, 1982-84; University of Missouri, Columbia, assistant professor, 1984-87, associate professor, 1987-92, professor of history, 1992-2003, Curators' Professor of History, 2003—, department chair, 2005—. Graduate student fellow, German Academic Exchange Service, 1976-78, summer research fellow, 1986, 1999; visiting research fellow, Alexander von Humboldt Stiftung at the University of Cologne, 1987-88; fellow, John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, 1988-89; American Philosophical Society fellow, 1994; National Endowment for the Humanities fellow for college and university teachers, 2001-02.

MEMBER:

German Studies Association, American Historical Association.

AWARDS, HONORS:

Herbert Baxter Adams Prize, American Historical Association, 1985, for the best first book in European history by an American author, for Popular Catholicism in Nineteenth-Century Germany; prize, German Studies Association, 1993, for the best book on German history or politics, for Rhineland Radicals; Alan Sharlin Memorial Prize, Social Science History Association, 1998, for the best book in social science history, for The Kaiser's Voters.

WRITINGS:

Popular Catholicism in Nineteenth-Century Germany, Princeton University Press (Princeton, NJ), 1984.

Rhineland Radicals: The Democratic Movement and the Revolution of 1848-1849, Princeton University Press (Princeton, NJ), 1991.

The European Revolutions, 1848-1851, Cambridge University Press (New York, NY), 1994, 2nd edition, 2005.

The Kaiser's Voters: Electors and Elections in Imperial Germany, Cambridge University Press (New York, NY), 1997.

Revolutionary Europe, 1780-1850, Longman (New York, NY), 2000.

(Editor, with Dieter Dowe, Heinz-Gerhard Haupt, and Dieter Langewiesche) Europe in 1848, Revolution and Reform, Berghahn Books (New York, NY), 2002.

(Editor) Germany, 1800-1870, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 2004.

Property and Civil Society in South-Western Germany, 1820-1914, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 2005.

Europe, 1850-1914: Progress, Participation and Apprehension, Pearson Longman (New York, NY), 2009.

Contributor to periodicals and academic journals, including Neue Politische Literature, Central European History, Journal of Modern History, Kirchliche Zeitgeschichte, Social History, Journal of Social History, and German History. Editor of German History in Documents and Images.

Associate editor, Scribners Publishers, 2003. Manuscript and proposal referee for Princeton University Press, Oxford University Press, Cambridge University Press, Harvard University Press, Cornell University Press, University of North Carolina Press, University of Michigan Press, University of Notre Dame Press, Routledge Publishers, Longman/Pearson Publishers, Palgrave Publishers, Journal of Modern History, German History, Comparative Studies in Society and History, and Catholic Historical Review.

SIDELIGHTS:

Jonathan Sperber is an academic and historian. Born in New York City on December 26, 1952, he began his higher education studies at Cornell University, where he completed a bachelor's degree in 1973. Sperber continued his graduate studies at the University of Chicago, where he completed a Ph.D. in 1980.

Sperber served as a graduate student fellow with the German Academic Exchange Service from 1976 to 1978. Sperber began working as an archivist at the Leo Baeck Institute in New York in 1979. In 1982 he served a two-year period as a visiting assistant professor at Northwestern University. From 1984 to 1987 he worked as an assistant professor of history at the University of Missouri. During this time he was a summer research fellow with the German Academic Exchange Service. In 1987 he was a visiting research fellow at Alexander von Humboldt Stiftung at the University of Cologne. The following academic year he was a fellow at the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. He was promoted to associate professor of history in 1987, later becoming a full professor in 1992. He served as an American Philosophical Society fellow in 1994 and then a second year as a summer research fellow with the German Academic Exchange Service in 1999. From 2001 to 2002, Sperber was a National Endowment for the Humanities fellow for college and university teachers. By 2003 he was named as the Curators' Professor of History. That same year Sperber began working as an associate editor on projects with Scribners Publishers. He began his term as department chair in 2005.

Secondarily, Sperber has served as a manuscript and proposal referee for Princeton University Press, Oxford University Press, Cambridge University Press, Harvard University Press, Cornell University Press, University of North Carolina Press, University of Michigan Press, University of Notre Dame Press, Routledge Publishers, Longman/Pearson Publishers, Palgrave Publishers, the Journal of Modern History, German History, Com-parative Studies in Society and History, and the Catholic Historical Review. Sperber has also contributed widely to periodicals and academic journals, including Neue Politische Literature, Central European History, Journal of Modern History, Kirchliche Zeitgeschichte, Social History, Journal of Social History, and German History. Sperber's first book, Popular Catholicism in Nineteenth-Century Germany, won the Herbert Baxter Adams Prize from the American Historical Association in 1985 for being the best first book in European history by an American author.

Sperber published Rhineland Radicals: The Democratic Movement and the Revolution of 1848-1849 in 1991. The book won a 1993 prize from the German Studies Association for being the best book on German history or politics. The book focuses on the revolution that occurred in 1848 in the German Rhineland, arguing that the widely perceived failed revolutions did have long-lasting effects on the country.

Karl Wegert, writing in the Canadian Journal of History, called the book a "superbly researched, very important book on the history of the 1848-49 revolutions in western Germany." Panikos Panayi, reviewing the book in History Today, wrote that Rhineland Radicals is "a higher class" book, adding that Sperber "has clearly spent years in the major archives of the Rhineland." Joachim Whaley, writing in the Journal of European Studies, mentioned that the book represents an "excellent study" with "an elegant conclusion." Whaley noted that "Sperber's account of the Rhineland revolution from below reveals an exciting new world of social and political action." Whaley concluded that "with the aid of Sperber's highly original research, it will in future be difficult to write off the German 1848 revolution as a straightforward failure."

Sperber released the first edition of The European Revolutions, 1848-1851 in 1994. The second edition was later published in 2005. Sperber examines the larger picture of the period between 1848 and 1951 where Europe saw a number of significant revolutions.

Charles H. Ford, writing in the Historian, recorded that Sperber "effectively replaces the old view of 1848-1851 as a bad joke, an amateur hour for academic windbags and eccentric losers, by turning our attention to the lasting effects of involving more and more layers of ‘the people’ everywhere in Europe into politics." Ford concluded that Sperber's insights "make this textbook worthy of a greater audience beyond the classroom."

In 1997 Sperber published The Kaiser's Voters: Electors and Elections in Imperial Germany. The book won the Alan Sharlin Memorial Prize from the Social Science History Association in 1998 for being the best book in social science history. The book highlights the thirteen general elections held in Germany from 1871 to 1912 and gives theoretical approaches to understanding the outcomes of those elections.

Andrew Bonnell, reviewing the book in the Australian Journal of Politics and History, remarked that "it is to be hoped that Sperber's book will provoke debate and further research on this and other contentious points. Some reservations remain after reading his work, however." Bonnell concluded that "Sperber's book represents a methodologically sophisticated challenge to a number of received truths about politics in Imperial Germany, and it is to be hoped that the challenge will be taken up in more detailed studies, especially perhaps on a regional basis, by other historians." Brett Fairbairn, writing in the Canadian Journal of History, commented that "The Kaiser's Voters is based entirely on statistics and secondary sources. Covering so broad a sweep of time and a nationwide scope, the book could not have dealt effectively with archival sources. Most sections stand or fall on the statistics alone. Sperber mines the statistics for all they are worth, using all manner of advanced techniques, but in the end there are certain limitations." Fairbairn noted that "less clear is the question of the reliability of the statistics." Fairburn remarked that The Kaiser's Voters is "a mostly well-produced book," as well as "an innovative contribution to this integrative field."

In 2000 Sperber published Revolutionary Europe, 1780-1850. The book looks into the revolutions that occurred in Europe from 1780 to 1850, covering the effects of topics such as economic development, state control over people's lives, and social changes. A contributor to the Contemporary Review remarked that the author "holds his wide-ranging text together by concentrating on major themes." The same contributor did fault his use of Marie Antoinette's catchphrase about eating cake without explaining that it was invented.

Sperber edited Europe in 1848, Revolution and Reform with Dieter Dowe, Heinz-Gerhard Haupt, and Dieter Langewiesche in 2002. The book focuses on the first year of a series of revolutions that swept across Europe, including thirty-nine essays divided into geographic and thematic sections.

Katherine B. Aaslestad, writing in the Journal of Social History, commented that "less concerned with judging the winners and losers of the Revolutions, these essays successfully indicate how contemporaries understood and experienced the "crazy year" of 1848. Considering the number and range of themes, the essays complement each other remarkably well. Although the volume favors France and Germany in comparative analysis, it is the first collection to provide a continental-wide tableau of the Revolutions of 1848 and as such it is a remarkable resource that surely will stimulate further comparative studies and scholarly debate."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

American Historical Review, December 1, 1992, Frank Eyck, review of Rhineland Radicals: The Democratic Movement and the Revolution of 1848-1849, p. 1551; October 1, 1999, Helmut Walser Smith, review of The Kaiser's Voters: Electors and Elections in Imperial Germany, p. 1404; February 1, 2008, David Hamlin, review of Property and Civil Society in South-Western Germany, 1820-1914, p. 268.

Australian Journal of Politics and History, March 1, 2000, Andrew Bonnell, review of The Kaiser's Voters, p. 146.

Business History Review, winter, 2006, Mark Spoerer, review of Property and Civil Society in South-Western Germany, 1820-1914, p. 823.

Canadian Journal of History, April 1, 1993, Karl Wegert, review of Rhineland Radicals, p. 126; April 1, 1998, Brett Fairbairn, review of The Kaiser's Voters, p. 115.

Central European History, January 1, 1992, review of Rhineland Radicals, p. 333; summer, 1992, Margaret Lavinia Anderson, review of Rhineland Radicals, p. 333; January 1, 1994, review of The European Revolutions, 1848-1851, p. 526; March 1, 1995, James F. Harris, review of The European Revolutions, 1848-1851, p. 526; January 1, 2001, Margaret Lavina Anderson, review of The Kaiser's Voters, p. 112; December 1, 2007, Brian Vick, review of Property and Civil Society in South-Western Germany, 1820-1914, p. 731.

Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries, April 1, 1992, M.S. Coetzee, review of Rhineland Radicals, p. 1284; April 1, 1998, review of The Kaiser's Voters, p. 1442.

Contemporary Review, May 1, 2001, review of Revolutionary Europe, 1780-1850, p. 318.

German Studies Review, May 1, 2006, Katherine B. Aaslestad, review of Germany, 1800-1870, p. 397; February 1, 2008, Eve M. Duffy, review of Property and Civil Society in South-Western Germany, 1820-1914, p. 161.

Historian, spring, 2007, Charles H. Ford, review of The European Revolutions, 1848-1851, p. 172.

History: The Journal of the Historical Association, February 1, 1993, John Breuilly, review of Rhineland Radicals, p. 130.

History Today, December 1, 1994, Panikos Panayi, review of Rhineland Radicals, p. 56.

Journal of European Studies, September 1, 1993, Joachim Whaley, review of Rhineland Radicals, p. 340.

Journal of Interdisciplinary History, summer, 1999, Carole Elizabeth Adams, review of The Kaiser's Voters, p. 128.

Journal of Modern History, September 1, 1993, Joachim Grossmann, review of Rhineland Radicals, p. 646; December 1, 1995, review of The European Revolutions, 1848-1851, p. 901; June 1, 2000, Merith Niehuss, review of The Kaiser's Voters, p. 563.

Journal of Social History, winter, 2002, Katherine B. Aaslestad, review of Europe in 1848, Revolution and Reform, p. 477.

Law and History Review, summer, 2008, James J. Sheehan, review of Property and Civil Society in South-Western Germany, 1820-1914, p. 432.

Social History, May 1, 1993, Dagmar Herzog, review of Rhineland Radicals, p. 262.

Times Literary Supplement, January 31, 1992, James J. Sheehan, review of Rhineland Radicals, p. 11.

ONLINE

German History in Documents and Images,http://germanhistorydocs.ghi-dc.org/ (August 7, 2008), author profile.

University of Missouri, History Department Web site,http://history.missouri.edu/ (August 7, 2008), author profile.