Noam Pianko

Project Description

Portrait of Noam smiling in a suit, trees behind himProfessor, Jackson School of International Studies

Samuel N. Stroum Chair of Jewish Studies

Interim Director, Middle East MA program

Associate Director of Graduate Studies, Jackson School of International Studies

Associate Director, Jackson School of International Studies

Ph.D. Yale University (2004)

Contact Information:
Office: Thomson Hall 218
Office Hours: By appointment
More Information:
Personal Website

Faculty Profile

Noam Pianko is the Samuel N. Stroum Chair of Jewish Studies and Professor in the Jackson School of International Studies. Pianko also associate directs the Jackson School of International Studies and its Graduate Studies unit, and previously served 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 and joined the Jackson School faculty in the fall of that year.

Pianko’s research interests include modern Jewish history, Zionism, and American Judaism. His first book, “Zionism and the Roads Not Taken: Rawidowicz Kaplan, Kohn” (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2010) uncovers the thought of three key interwar Jewish intellectuals who defined Zionism’s central mission as challenging the model of a sovereign nation-state.

His second book, “Jewish Peoplehood: An American Innovation” (Rutgers University Press, 2015), won the American Jewish Historical Society’s Saul Viener Book prize.  The book traces the history of an idea that is deceptively straightforward and enduring. 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. Peoplehood’s successful integration of a nationalist paradigm into the American context created a powerful vocabulary for negotiating American Jewish identity in response to dramatic historical events of the twentieth century, such as the Holocaust and the establishment of the State of Israel.

In addition to these works, Pianko has published articles in leading journals, including the Journal of Modern Jewish Studies, Ab Imperio: Studies of New Imperial History and Nationalism in the Post-Society Space, American Jewish History, and Jewish Social studies.

As director of the Stroum Center for Jewish Studies from 2011 to the present, Pianko has expanded UW’s Jewish Studies offerings considerably. On campus, he has overseen the development of an exemplary online presence, the creation of a graduate fellowship program, the hiring of a new Chair in Israel Studies, the implementation innovative public programs, and the emergence of the Sephardic Studies program.

In addition, Pianko lectures widely on topics related to Judaism, Zionism, and Technology. He has been awarded a Mellon Foundation Fellowship, a UW Technology Teaching Fellowship, a Royalty Research Award, and a Wexner Graduate Fellowship.


Essay: “Why Trump’s tweets on Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib go into the heart of American Jewish politics” (The Conversation, 2019)

Interview: “Israeli politics, American ripple effects” (KUOW’s The Record, 2019)

Interview: “The History of Zionisms” (Judaism Unbound, 2018)
Lecture: “Biographies of Jewish Peoplehood” (2016)

Talk: “Does Jewish Peoplehood Have a Future?” (2015)

Interview: Thinking Forward with Jewish Studies (2014)