Professor of History
He is particularly interested in the history of Jewish and Arab nationalisms, as well as twentieth century United States political and intellectual history. His publications include Nazism, the Jews and American Zionism, as well as articles on the Holocaust and Zionism. His current project looks at the American encounter with Arab nationalism.
In the twentieth century, the ideals of "national self determination" and "national liberation" created powerful political movements throughout the world. But what happened when two peoples claiming the right of "self determination" lived amongst each other? In India, Palestine and Ireland, the British sought to solve the problem through partition: dividing a territory to accommodate conflicting national aspirations. Rather than solving a problem, this solution led to some of the century's longest conflicts and ethnic cleansing. In this course we will study how the idea of partition developed and how it was practiced in India, Palestine and Ireland. We will explore how partition relates to changing concepts of nationhood, and how the repercussions of these partitions continue to shape politics today.
In this class we will study the history and relationship of Zionism and Palestinian nationalism. We will examine the origins of both movements and the history of their conflict. Significant attention will be given to the conflict over Palestine which culminated in the establishment of Israel in 1948 as well as the half-century of war, protest and occupation which followed. We will read primary and secondary sources from many perspectives, and will view films and other materials.
Writing World War II: World War II defined an era and transformed the lives of all who endured it. In doing so, the war has become a growing source of stories, and these tellings will be the subject of the discussions, writings, and projects in this course. Stories, above all, provide clues to the meanings we have attached to the politics and experience of the war, and the resulting social transformations within the United States, particularly with regard to matters of race, gender, and class. We will draw widely from journalists, scholars, novelists, artists, and participants, and we will certainly consider whose stories are heard and why. But we also intend to study these writings as human productions in their own right. What do they teach us about the method of history and craft of storytelling? We hope to identify authorial choices and, ultimately, incorporate what we learn into our own analytical and creative historical writings.