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In a panel conversation, three scholars will offer responses to and commentary around faculty member Liora R. Halperin’s new book, “The Oldest Guard: Forging the Zionist Settler Past,” and how the history of early Jewish settlements in Ottoman Palestine has been folded into the story of the State of Israel.

About this talk

In her new book, “The Oldest Guard: Forging the Zionist Settler Past,” Liora R. Halperin looks at the history of moshavot, 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.

In this panel conversation, scholars Alon Confino (University of Massachussetts Amherst), Nahum Karlinsky (Ben-Gurion University), and Sherene Seikaly (UC Santa Barbara) will offer their responses to the book, connecting it to broader understandings around the processes of creating history and historical narratives, in particular as these relate to the State of Israel.

About the speakers

Alon Confino smiling, wearing a suit jacketAlon Confino is Director of the Institute for Holocaust, Genocide, and Memory Studies, and Professor of History and Judaic Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. His recent books include “Foundational Pasts: The Holocaust As Historical Understanding” (Cambridge University Press, New York, 2012) and “A World Without Jews: The Nazi Imagination from Persecution to Genocide” (Yale University Press, 2014). He studied at the University of Tel Aviv and earned his M.A. and Ph.D. at the University of California, Berkeley.

Nahum Kalinsky, smiling, wearing a button-up shirtNahum Karlinsky is a Senior Lecturer at the Ben-Gurion Research Institute for the Study of Israel and Zionism, where he has taught numerous courses on Israeli identity, the social, cultural and urban history of Israel/Palestine, and post-Zionism, neo-Zionism and Jewish fundamentalism. In 2006-2007, he was chair of the Israel Studies Program at Ben-Gurion University. In 2008-2009, he was a fellow at the Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. Since 2008, he has been affiliated with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and MISTI-Israel as a visiting associate professor at MIT’s Political Science Department. He is currenly a visiting professor at Boston University.

Sherene Seikaly smiling, wearing a suit jacket, outdoorsSherene Seikaly is Associate Professor of History at the University of California, Santa Barbara. In her forthcoming book, titled “From Baltimore to Beirut: On the Question of Palestine,” she will follow the trajectory of her great grandfather. Traveling with her ancestor from his nineteenth century mobility across Baltimore and Sudan to twentieth century immobility in Lebanon, Seikaly places the question of Palestine in the context of a global history of race, capital, slavery, and dispossession. She is co-editor of Journal of Palestine Studies and co-editor of Jadaliyya.

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.

This event is cosponsored by the Middle East Center and the Department of History at the University of Washington.