Mondy, Augost 31 2020
In honor of ProfessorYaron Tsur, Department of Jewish History, Tel Aviv University; Founder and academic director
Historical Jewish Press (JPress)
Chair: Ofra Tirosh-Becker, Ben-Zvi Institute & The Hebrew University
Michal Ben Ya'akov, Efrata College for Education; Bar-Ilan University
Professor Yaron Tsur and the Study of International Jewish Organizations in Islamic
Greetings: Linda Levi, JDC Archives
Keynote lecture: Lior Sternfeld, Penn State University
Studying the Middle East through the Prism of the Jewish Communities
The talk will focus on how the study of minorities, and especially Jewish communities, help us understand better the histories of Middle Eastern societies, especially in the transformative period of the twentieth century. In an era when access to Middle Eastern official archives is notably restricted, scholars of the Middle East have to find sources in diplomatic correspondence and civil society organizations. Diplomatic correspondence can reveal only certain aspects of history and daily life, and most other civil society organizations have archives that are rarely functional. Foreign aid organizations, therefore, had the next most exhaustive experience of local societies. The talk will emphasize the role of the JDC Archives in uncovering the history of the region. The JDC stands out because of its unique position as an NGO with connections with American and Middle Eastern country and municipal governments. Other resources to be discussed are the AIU archives and the JPress database.
Lior Sternfeld is an assistant professor of History and Jewish Studies at Penn State University. He is a social historian of the modern Middle East with particular interests in the histories of the Jewish people and other minorities of the region. His first book, Between Iran and Zion: Jewish Histories of Twentieth-Century Iran (Stanford University Press, 2018) examines, against the backdrop of Iranian nationalism, Zionism and constitutionalism, and the development and integration of Jewish communities in Iran into the nation-building projects of the last century. Sternfeld is currently working on a new book project, which will be the first comprehensive study of the Iranian-Jewish Diaspora in the U.S. and Israel.
Dr. Sternfeld received the Fred and Ellen Lewis/JDC Archives Fellowship in 2012 to conduct research in the JDC Archives for his doctoral studies.