31 2020

Studying the Middle East through the Prism of the Jewish Communities

12:00PM - 1:30PM  

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.

Presented by Lior Sternfeld, assistant professor of History and Jewish Studies at Penn State University.

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Sponsor: JDC Archives