Devin E. Naar is the Marsha and Jay Glazer Endowed Chair in Jewish Studies and Assistant Professor of History at the University of Washington. Originally from New Jersey, Dr. Naar graduated summa cum laude from Washington University in St. Louis. Following a year in Greece as a Fulbright Scholar, Dr. Naar began his PhD in History at Stanford University. Dr. Naar’s dissertation, “Jewish Salonica and the ‘Making of the Jerusalem of the Balkans,’ 1890-1943,” received the Elizabeth Spillman Rosenfeld Prize for best written dissertation in Stanford’s Department of History in 2011.
At the UW, Dr. Naar teaches courses on modern Jewish history, Jewish culture from the Hebrew Bible until today, Sephardic history and culture, the Holocaust, and relations between Jews, Christians and Muslims in the Mediterranean region.
Dr. Naar also spearheads the new Sephardic Studies Initiative at UW as part of the Stroum Jewish Studies Program. As part of this initiative, Dr. Naar has begun a pilot project entitled, “Seattle Sephardic Treasures,” which seeks to uncover the rich Ladino and Sephardic heritage here in Seattle and preserve source materials for future generations.
In recognition of the contributions he has already made to the study of Sephardic history, Dr. Naar was recently elected to the Academic Advisory Council of the Center for Jewish History in New York. He is the only assistant professor to receive this prestigious post, where he will represent the American Sephardic Federation.
In the News
- The Daily at UW interviews Dr. Naar at the “Turkey’s Jews Revisited” exhibit: Photography Exhibit Opens at Hillel UW (October 15, 2013)
- Sephardic Studies Initiative mentioned in the Forward’s article on Meet America’s Internet Champion of Ladino (January 27, 2013)
- Profile by Peter Kelley in UWToday: A Family’s Lost Story Found, and the Sephardic Studies Initiative (January 16, 2013)
- Meet Professor Devin Naar: A short video from JewDubTV
- Dr. Naar’s Welcome Lecture at UW Hillel: “Between the Ottoman Empire and the Greek Nation State–The Jews of Salonica” (October 2012)
- JTNews feature on Dr. Naar’s arrival to UW: Mystery, Intrigue and the ‘Seattle of the Balkans’, by Emily K. Alhadeff (July 20, 2011)
- UW Daily highlights Dr. Naar as “the community professor” among his peers: Faces of UW: First-Year Faculty, by Sarah Radmer (April 19, 2012)
- Prof. Naar earns spot on JTNews’ “10 under 40” list of young Jewish leaders in Seattle: It’s all Greek to him. Really, by Diana Brement (June 20, 2012)
- JTA article on the Sephardic Treasures Initiative: Rushing to Preserve Ladino Legacies, by Charlotte Anthony (July 25, 2012) (also featured in Haaretz Online)
- Interview on KIRO 97.3 FM: UW Professor seeks to save a dying language, by Brandi Kruse (August 7, 2012)
- Profile in The Daily at the University of Washington: UW Professor Preserves Endangered Ladino Language, by Joe Veyera (August 7, 2012)
“Sephardic Jews,” in Jeffrey Cole, ed., Ethnic Groups of Europe: An Encyclopedia (Oxford: ABC-CLIO, 2011), 329-333.
“Reformuler l’identité, réinventer la patrie. Juifs judéo-hispanophones en Amérique, entre Salonique etSefarad,” in Esther Benbassa, ed., Itinéraires sépharades. Complexité et diversité des identités (Paris: l’Université Paris-Sorbonne, 2010), 63-78.
“Between ‘New Greece’ and the ‘New World’: Salonican Jews en route to New York,” Journal of the Hellenic Diaspora 35, no. 2 (Fall 2009): 45-89.
“From the ‘Jerusalem of the Balkans’ to the ‘Goldene Medina’: Jewish Immigration from Salonika to the United States,” American Jewish History 93, no. 4 (Dec. 2007): 435-473.
With Their Own Words: Glimpses of Jewish Life in Thessaloniki Before the Holocaust (Thessaloniki: The Jewish Community of Thessaloniki, 2006). (48-page exhibition catalog in English and Greek).
“A Twentieth Century Diaspora: the Great Fire of 1917 and Jewish Emigration from Salonika,”Slideshow: Journal of the Center for Humanities at Washington University in St. Louis, no. 2 (Spring 2005): 1-12.