ACJC Research Seminar Series, Professor Hasia Diner (New York University), ‘Jewish History/Global History: The Case of Peddlers’

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Date(s) - 14/08/2013
12:00 pm



14 August: Professor Hasia Diner (New York University), ‘Jewish History/Global History: The Case of Peddlers’

In recent decades, historians have called for thinking beyond the nation-state framework and embracing a more global (or sometimes called transnational) perspective. They have rightly pointed out how the movement of ideas, people, and goods transcended the specific outlines of the political entities which constitute states or countries. Jewish history, in general, provides an attractive way in which to think about this desideratum and by which to ask how, when, and why did national boundaries matter and when did they not. Many examples could be cited to illustrate the globalism inherent in Jewish history, modern and pre-modern. The case of Jewish peddlers provides a case in point as Jewish men from multiple places engaged in a quite similar process, leaving their homes of origin and migrating to a range of new world settings. In this seminar, Professor Diner will discuss some of the challenges of studying these peddlers who went to multiple continents, countries, and regions. How does looking for similarities versus differences skew the historical analysis?

Professor Hasia Diner is the Paul and Sylvia Steinberg Professor of American Jewish History at New York University, with joint appointment in the Department of History and the Skirball Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies. She is also director of the Goldstein Goren Center for American Jewish History. She has built her scholarly career around the study of American Jewish history, American immigration and ethnic history, and the history of American women. She has written about the ways in which American Jews in the early twentieth century reacted to the issue of race and the suffering of African Americans, and the process by which American Jews came to invest deep meaning in New York’s Lower East Side. Her most recent book, We Remember with Reverence and Love: American Jews and the Myth of Silence After the Holocaust (2009), won the National Jewish Book Award in the category of American Jewish Studies.