Tobias Lecture: Steven J. Zipperstein , “Pogrom: Kishinev and the Tilt of History”

by CJS


Steven J. Zipperstein, Daniel E. Koshland Professor in Jewish Culture and History, Stanford University

Event Details

“Pogrom: Kishinev and the Tilt of History”

Thursday, October 27, 4:00 p.m.

Festival Room, Memorial Union (800 Langdon)

Kishinev’s pogrom of 1903 was the first event in Russian Jewish life to receive international attention. The riot that left 49 dead in an obscure border town dominated the headlines of the western press for weeks, intruded on Russian-Jewish relations, and left its impact on an astonishing array of institutions, including the nascent Jewish army in Palestine and the NAACP. It was even the likely inspiration for the first version of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Why did this pogrom have this impact? How is it that this particular event so shaped history?

This lecture is made possible through the generosity of Harry and Marjorie Tobias.

About the Speaker

Steven J. Zipperstein is the Daniel E. Koshland Professor in Jewish Culture and History at Stanford University. He has also taught at universities in Russia, Poland, France, and Israel; for six years he taught Jewish history at Oxford University. From 1991-2007, he was Director of the Taube Center for Jewish Studies at Stanford. Zipperstein is the author and editor of eight books including The Jews of Odessa: A Cultural History (1986, winner of the Smilen Prize for the Outstanding book in Jewish history); Elusive Prophet: Ahad Ha’am and the Origins of Zionism (1993, winner of the National Jewish Book Award); Imagining Russian Jewry (1999); and Rosenfeld’s Lives: Fame, Oblivion, and the Furies of Writing (2008, shortlisted for the National Jewish Book Award in Biography, Autobiography and Memoir). His work has been translated into Russian, Hebrew, and French. Zipperstein is currently finishing a book entitled, tentatively, “Pogrom: Kishinev and the Tilt of History” that will be published by Liveright/W. W. Norton in fall 2017.

He has been awarded the Leviant Prize of the Modern Language Association, the Judah Magnes Gold Medal of the American Friends of the Hebrew University, and the Koret Prize for Outstanding Contributions to the American Jewish community. He has held fellowships at the Radcliffe Institute at Harvard University, the Institute for Advanced Studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the Yitzhak Rabin Institute in Tel Aviv, and has twice been a Visiting Professor at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes Sciences Sociales. In spring 2014, he was the first Jacob Kronhill Scholar at the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, in New York. At Stanford, and earlier at Oxford and UCLA, he has supervised the dissertation work of more than thirty students now teaching at universities and colleges in the United States, Canada, and elsewhere.

Zipperstein’s articles have appeared in The New York Times Sunday Book Review, the Washington Post, The New Republic, the Jewish Review of Books, Chronicle of Higher Education and elsewhere. He was an editor of the journal Jewish Social Studies for twenty years, and the book series Stanford Studies in Jewish History and Culture for a quarter of a century. He is immediate past Chair of the Academic Council of the Center for Jewish History, in New York. Together with Anita Shapira, he is series editor of the Yale University Press/Leon Black Foundation Jewish Lives volumes that were named in 2015 the best books of the year by the National Jewish Book Council — the first time a book series has won this prize. Some thirty Jewish Lives books have already appeared, and Zipperstein plans to write a biography of Philip Roth for the series.