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Congratulations to Dr. Max Daniel on winning the 2022 Hundley Prize
January 17, 2023

Dr. Max Daniel was awarded the 2022 Hundley Prize by the Department of History for his dissertation, "The Sephardi Century: A Relational History of a Los Angeles Community, 1893-1992," a careful narrative of a vibrant and successful community whose members hail from far-flung locations extending from North Africa to the Balkans and across the many worlds of the eastern Mediterranean.

The UCLA History Department Thesis Prize Committee for 2022 awards the Hundley Prize to Max Daniel for his dissertation, "The Sephardi Century: A Relational History of a Los Angeles Community, 1893-1992." Surprisingly, very little scholarship exists on the topic of the communitarian history of the Sephardic Jews in the United States. Daniel provides a stimulating history of one of Los Angeles's iconic communities during a century-long span of its history. Using a variety of sources ranging from communal and organizational archives, epistolary records, press and census records, and oral histories, Daniel weaves together a careful narrative of a vibrant and successful community whose members hail from far-flung locations extending from North Africa to the Balkans and across the many worlds of the eastern Mediterranean. Using a "relational" analysis of collective identity now common in the ethnic studies circles, Daniel scrutinizes this "ambiguously racialized" and highly intersectional community and lays bare its members’ nimble agency in navigating through Southern California's turbulent history of racialized politics. His analysis in this respect is well displayed in a chapter where the author examines the history of the community’s Synagogue in Westwood. Here Daniel probes the ways in which the community’s members negotiated the complex byways of race, place, and identity particularly in the 1960s and the decades that followed. Embedding his study of the Sephardi experience in relation and compared to the histories of Los Angeles’s other minority communities, including the Greeks, Blacks, Hispanics, Whites, and especially other (Ashkenazi) Jews, Daniel's study casts important light not only on the Sephardi's "evolving, fungible, and relational" collective identity but also on the urban history of Southern California.