SARAH ABREVAYA STEIN
PROFESSOR & Maurice Amado Endowed Chair in Sephardic Studies
Office: 6296 Bunche Hall
6265 Bunche Hall
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1473
Jewish, Sephardic Studies
Vice Chair for Undergraduate Affairs of the Department of History, Sarah Abrevaya Stein received her A.B. from Brown University in 1993 and her doctorate from Stanford University in 1999. Her scholarship has ranged across the Yiddish and Ladino speaking diasporas and the British and French imperial, Russian, American, Ottoman and wider Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, and North African settings, but is always engaged with the reasons for and manifestations of Jewish cultural diversity in the modern period. An elected member of the American Academy for Jewish Research, Stein is the author of Saharan Jews and the Fate of French Algeria (University of Chicago Press, 2014), Plumes: Ostrich Feathers, Jews, and a Lost World of Global Commerce (Yale University Press, 2008), winner of the Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature, and Making Jews Modern: the Yiddish and Ladino Press in the Russian and Ottoman Empires (Indiana University Press, hardback 2004), winner of the Salo Wittmayer Baron Prize for Best First Book in Jewish Studies for 2003 and finalist for the Koret Jewish Book Award in 2004. Stein is the co-editor, with Julia Phillips Cohen, of Sephardi Lives: A Documentary History, 1700-1950 (Stanford University Press, 2014), and, with Aron Rodrigue, of A Jewish Voice from Ottoman Salonica: The Ladino Memoir of Sa’adi Besalel a-Levi (Stanford University Press, 2012).
Stein's most recent book, Saharan Jews and the Fate of French Algeria (University of Chicago Press, 2014), considers how, over a century of colonialism and decolonization in North Africa, a small community of Jews in the Algerian Sahara came to leave a profound imprint on the global imagination. During a turbulent time in North African and world history, Jews of Algeria's M'zab Valley were variously imagined as indigènes, as foreigners, as a lost tribe, as a "human isolate," as the only shtetl dwellers in a post-Holocaust world, as a cause célèbre, as pieds-noir, and as French citizens. This study reflects on how members of this community experienced and negotiated with these and other categories assigned to them by the French state and military, by social scientists, and by international Jewish philanthropies based in France, Israel, Britain, and the United States, and ruminates on how the notion of "marginality" comes to be invented and maintained.
With Julia Phillips Cohen (Vanderbilt University) and the support of a National Endowment for the Humanities Scholarly Editions and Translations Grant, Stein has also co-edited Sephardi Lives: A Documentary History, 1700-1950 (Stanford University Press, 2014). This documentary reader features over 150 original sources translated into English from fifteen languages, which were written over the course of two centuries by or about Sephardic Jews in the heartland of modern Judeo-Spanish culture (the Balkans, Palestine, and Turkey under Ottoman and post-Ottoman rule) and in crucial hubs of the Judeo-Spanish diaspora. Profs. Stein and Cohen describe the challenges and rewards associated with the production of Sephardi Lives on the Stanford University Press blog: "How Does One Invent a Canon" and "Plumbing 250 Years of Sephardi History."
Prof. Stein is now completing Extraterritorial Dreams: Citizenship, Jews and the Calamitous Twentieth Century. This study explores Mediterranean and Middle Eastern Jewish encounters with evolving legal systems whose shaping accompanied the dismantling, persistence, and transformation of empires across the globe during the early twentieth century. This book, presented as the 2014 George L Mosse Lectures at the University of Wisconsin, pivots around the First World War, which initiated--for Ottoman-born Jews as well as for many other global citizens--the passport regime, mass migration, and various refugee crises.
Stein is co-editor (with David Biale of UCD) of the distinguished Stanford University Press Series in Jewish History and Culture. She is incoming co-editor (with Tony Michels and Ken Moss) of Jewish Social Studies.
Sephardi Lives: A Documentary History, 1700-1950 (Stanford University Press, 2014).
Saharan Jews and the Fate of French Algeria (University of Chicago Press, 2014).
Sephardi Lives: A Documentary History, 1700-1950, Julia Phillips Cohen and Sarah Abrevaya Stein, editors (Stanford University Press, 2014).
2012 A Jewish Voice from Ottoman Salonica: The Ladino Memoir of Sa’adi Besalel a-Levi, , Aron Rodrigue and Sarah Abrevaya Stein, co-editors, translation and glossary by Isaac Jerusalmi (Stanford University Press).
2008 Plumes: Ostrich Feathers, Jews, and a Lost World of Global Commerce (Yale University Press). 52nd Annual New England Book Show Winner, Winner of the Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature. Paperback published 2010.
2004 Making Jews Modern: the Yiddish and Ladino Press in the Russian and Ottoman Empires , Indiana University Press. Winner of the Salo Wittmayer Baron Prize for Best First Book in Jewish Studies for 2003; Koret Jewish Book Award Finalist, 2004. Paperback published 2006.
Book-related web material
2012 Online companion to A Jewish Voice from Ottoman Salonica: the Ladino Memoir of Sa’adi Besalel a-Levi (Stanford University Press) featuring reproduction of original, soletreo [Ladino handwritten, cursive] memoir with cross-references to romanized Ladino transliteration and English-language translation.
Forthcoming, “Of black holes, dark matter, and buried troves: decolonization and the multi-sited archives of Algerian Jewish history,” American Historical Review.
Forthcoming, “Citizens of a Fictional Nation: Ottoman-born Jews in France during the First World War,” Past & Present.
Forthcoming “Dreyfus in the Sahara: Jews, trans-Saharan commerce, and southern Algeria under French colonial rule,” French Mediterraneans: Transnational and Imperial Histories, eds., Patricia Lorcin and Todd Shepard (University of Nebraska Press).
Forthcoming “Jews and European Imperialism,” Cambridge History of Judaism, c. 1815-c.2000, Vol. VIII, Tony Michels and Mitchell B. Hart, eds, Cambridge University Press.
2014, “The Field of In Between,” solicited contribution to roundtable forum, “Jewish identities in the Middle East, 1876-1956,” International Journal of Middle East Studies 46/3.
2012 With Susan Slymovics, “Jews and Colonial Algeria,” Journal of North African Studies 17/4.
2012 “Dividing south from north: French colonialism, Jews, and the Algerian Sahara,” Journal of North African Studies 17/4 (online version, 25 September).
2011 “Protected Persons? The Baghdadi Jewish Diaspora, the British State, and the Creation of the Jewish Colonial,” The American Historical Review (February). Winner, 2012 Walter D. Love Article Prize of the North American Conference of British Studies.
2010 With Julia Phillips Cohen, “Sephardic Scholarly Worlds: Toward a Novel Geography of Modern Jewish History.” Jewish Quarterly Review 100:3 (Summer).
2009 “American Deaf Jewish culture in historical and trans-national context,” American Jewish History 94/3, (September).
2007 “‘Falling into Feathers’: Jews and the trans-Atlantic ostrich feather trade,” The Journal of Modern History 79/4 (Winter): 772-812. Winner of the Higby Prize by the Modern European section of the American Historical Association, for best article in The Journal of Modern History, 2006-2008.
2007 “Mediterranean Jewries and Global Commerce in the modern period: on the trail of the Jewish feather trade,” Jewish Social Studies 13.2 (Winter): 1-39.
2006 “Asymmetric Fates: Secular Yiddish and Ladino Culture in Comparison,” Jewish Quarterly Review 96.4 (Fall), 498-509.
Sarah Stein's research has been supported by two National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowships and a National Endowment for the Humanities Scholarly Editions and Translations Grant, a Charles A. Ryskamp Fellowship from the American Council of Learned Societies, by the Memorial Foundation for Jewish Research, the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute, and the Maurice Amado Foundation, among other sources. Her scholarship has been awarded the 2012 Walter D. Love Article Prize of the North American Conference of British Studies (for "Protected Persons?"), the 2008 Higby Prize by the Modern European section of the American Historical Association for Best Article in The Journal of Modern History (for "Falling into Feathers"), and the Salo Wittmayer Baron Prize for the Best First Book in Jewish Studies (2003, for Making Jews Modern). She is also co-winner of the Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature (2010, for Plumes) and an elected member of the American Academy for Jewish Research.
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