Liora Halperin (she/her)

Joint Appointment: Jackson School of International Studies
Liora Halperin--headshot

Contact Information

THO 316


Ph.D., History, UCLA, 2011
M.A., History, UCLA, 2007
B.A., History; Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, Harvard, 2005

Prof. Halperin is Professor of International Studies and History, and Distinguished Endowed Chair of Jewish Studies, at the University of Washington. She is an historian of Israel/Palestine with particular interests in nationalism and collective memory, Jewish cultural and social history, language ideology and policy, and the politics of colonization and settlement. She is currently working on a book about the diverse urban Jewish communities of late 19th/early 20th century Ottoman Palestine and the way a wide range of later groups and political movements, both Zionist and anti-Zionist, have commemorated and promoted narratives about this history.

She is the author of The Oldest Guard: Forging the Zionist Settler Past (Stanford, 2021)a study of the  European Jewish agricultural colonies established in late nineteenth-century Ottoman Palestine and the politics of their twentieth-century commemoration. She is also the author of Babel in Zion: Jews, Nationalism, and Language Diversity in Palestine, 1920-1948 (Yale, 2015), which was was awarded the Shapiro Prize from the Association for Israel Studies for the best book in Israel Studies. She has published academic articles in The Journal of Social HistoryJewish Social StudiesMiddle Eastern StudiesThe Jewish Quarterly Review, and Ethnic and Racial Studies, among other venues.


Selected Research

Courses Taught

Graduate Study Areas

Division: Africa and the Middle East

Students may work with Prof. Halperin to develop a field focused on the history of Modern Israel/Palestine. This field will situate Palestine/Israel within both Middle East and Jewish historiography, with the particular emphasis depending on the student’s research and teaching objectives. It will draw together works in both Israel Studies and Palestine Studies, pertaining to cultural, economic, social, political, and intellectual history.

Division: Europe, Africa and the Middle East, or Russia

Students may develop a field with Prof. Halperin on Jewish history during the Medieval, Early Modern, and Modern periods. This can be structured as primarily a Europe or Russia field or as primarily a Middle East field, but will in any case explore interrelations between these fields and, secondarily, between these fields other world regions. This field may examine the evolution of relations between Jews, Christians, and Muslims; Jews and the state; forms and challenges of emancipation; commercial networks; cultural, linguistic, and social history; the history of anti-Judaism and antisemitism; and Jewish contact with and entanglements with colonial and imperial projects.

Division: Comparative History (Comparative Colonialisms)

Students may develop a field with Prof. Halperin that explores variants of modern colonialism in global perspective; the interplay of colonialism, civic nationalism, and ethnonationalism; the economic history of empire; and the emergence of the field of settler colonial studies.

Division: Comparative History (Ethnicity and Nationalisms)

Students may develop a field with Prof. Halperin exploring modern ethnonational movements in comparative perspective with particular emphasis on Europe (including Eastern and South Eastern Europe), the Middle East, and South Asia. This field may integrate readings on language revival efforts, cultural movements, anti-imperial nationalisms, and the emergence of the nation-state system and concepts of autonomy, minority rights, partition, and migration.


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