Loading Events

Faculty member Liora R. Halperin will discuss her new book, “The Oldest Guard: Forging the Zionist Settler Past,” and the creation of historical narratives around Jewish settlements in Ottoman Palestine, with fellow faculty member Noam Pianko.

About this talk

In her new book, “The Oldest Guard: Forging the Zionist Settler Past,” Liora R. Halperin looks at the history of mashavot, Jewish agricultural settlements in Ottoman Palestine, and the ways in which the history of these settlements has been folded into the story of the State of Israel in the early 20th century.

Beginning in the late 1870s, Jewish migrants from the “Pale of Settlement” — a region in present-day Russia and eastern Europe — began to establish farms in Ottoman Palestine, after having been granted permission by Ottoman Sultan Abdul Hamid II. These farms served as hubs for subsequent Jewish migrants, and later came to be seen as a “First Aliyah” (wave of settlement) of Jews returning to the region. Yet, the stories and ideas surrounding these private settlements were often at odds with later Jewish movements around collective farming and “Hebrew labor.”

In a conversation with Noam Pianko, Professor of Jewish Studies, Halperin will discuss the stories around these Jewish settlements, how they fit into the broader story of Zionism, and how she reconstructed this history via a wide range of sources.

About the speakers

Liora Halperin, smiling, outdoorsLiora R. Halperin is Associate Professor of Jewish Studies and History at the University of Washington, and has scholarly interests in nationalism and collective memory, language ideology and policy, and Jewish-Arab relations both in Ottoman and Mandate Palestine and in the early years after Israeli statehood. Her first book, “Babel in Zion: Jews, Nationalism, and Language Diversity in Palestine” (Yale University Press, 2015), 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 History, Jewish Social Studies, Middle Eastern Studies, and The Jewish Quarterly Review, among other venues. She received her Ph.D. in history from UCLA in 2011, and is the Benaroya Chair of the UW Israel Studies Program.

Portrait of Noam smiling in a suit, trees behind himNoam Pianko is the Samuel N. Stroum Chair of Jewish Studies and Professor in the Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies. Pianko also directs the Samuel and Althea Stroum Center for Jewish Studies and serves as the Herbert and Lucy Pruzan Professor of Jewish Studies. He received his Ph.D. in Religious Studies & Judaic Studies from Yale University in 2004. His most recent book, “Jewish Peoplehood: An American Innovation” (New Jersey: Rutgers University Press, 2015), won the American Jewish Historical Society’s Saul Viener Book prize, and traces how the concept of “peoplehood” emerged at the beginning of the last century as an American-Jewish innovation calibrated to shape discussions of nationalism, Zionism, and American Jewish identity.