Steven Zipperstein

Steven Zipperstein, PhD

Daniel E. Koshland Professor in Jewish Culture and History
Professor of History
Affiliated faculty at The Europe Center

Department of History
Building 200, Room 11
Stanford, CA 94305-2024

(650) 725-5560 (voice)
(650) 725-0597 (fax)

Research Interests

Modern Jewish history; history of Zionism; Russian and East European Jewish history; biography.


Steven J. Zipperstein is Daniel E. Koshland Professor in Jewish Culture and History. For sixteen years, beginning in 1991, he was Director of the Taube Center for Jewish Studies.  In 2007-8, he was Weinstock Visiting Professor at Harvard University; he has held a research appointment for several years at the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard. Zipperstein taught at Oxford (for six years), and at universities in France, Russia, and Poland. His first book, The Jews of Odessa: A Cultural History, 1794-1881 (Stanford University Press, 1985) won the Smilen Prize and was named the outstanding book on Jewish history published that year. It has been translated into Russian. His second book, Elusive Prophet: Ahad Ha’am and the Origins of Zionism (University of California Press, 1993) won the National Jewish Book Award. In 1998, it appeared in Israel in a Hebrew translation published by the Ofakim series of Am Oved. Imagining Russian Jewry: Memory, History, Identity -- based on the Stroum Lectures in Jewish Studies – appeared with the University of Washington Press in 1999. He has co-edited three volumes, including (with Jonathan Frankel) Assimilation and Community: The Jews in Nineteenth-Century Europe (Cambridge University Press, 1992), and The Worlds of S. An-sky: A Russian Jewish intellectual at the Turn of the Century (with Gabriella Safran) which was the winner of the Leviant Prize of the Modern Language Association. Zipperstein's most recent book, Rosenfeld's Lives: Fame, Oblivion, and the Furies of Writing (Yale Univerisity Press, 2009), was shortlisted for the National Jewish Book Award in biography, autobiography, and memoir, and was reviewed widely in the United States, the UK,and elsewhere. He is writing a new book, a cultural history of Russian Jewry from the late nineteenth century to the present that will be published by Houghton Mifflin.  He is an editor (together with University of Toronto's Derek Penslar) of the journal, Jewish Social Studies: History, Culture, and Society, and co-edits with his Stanford colleague, Aron Rodrigue, a series on Jewish history and culture for Stanford University Press.

Professor Zipperstein, together with Tel Aviv University's Anita Shapira, are now the series editors of the "Jewish Lives" biography series at Yale University Press.  It is anticipated that some 30-50 books will be published under its aegis in a project funded by the Leon Black Foundation.

Professor Zipperstein has held fellowships at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, the Institute for Advanced Studies Jerusalem, at Wolfson College, Oxford, the Oxford Centre for Hebrew Studies, the Institute for Advanced Studies of the Yitzhak Rabin Center, in Tel Aviv, and the Stanford Humanities Center. He is President on the Conference on Jewish Social Studies, he was Vice President of the Association for Jewish Studies, and served for seven years as Chair of the Koret Book Awards. He is the recipient of the Judah L. Magnes Gold Medal from the American Friends of the Hebrew University, and the Koret Prize for outstanding contributions to Jewish life. He has given the Weizmann Memorial Lecture in the Humanities at the Weizmann Institute, and endowed lectures at Wesleyan, Princeton, University of Pennsylvania, Rutgers, Indiana University at Bloomington, Brown, Tulane, Franklin and Marshall, Rutgers, UC Berkeley, University of Texas, Austin, University of Oregon, University of Florida, and Northwestern. He is a member of the Academic Advisory Board of the Center for Jewish History, in New York, a member of the executive board of the American Academy for Jewish Research, a member of the academic advisory board of the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, an editorial board member for the Cambridge Dictionary of Judaism and he is on the international editorial board of the Posen Library of Jewish Civilization. He is on the board of several academic journals in Israel, Germany, and Russia. In 2002, he was J. B. Shapiro Senior Scholar in Residence at the United Memorial Holocaust Museum, in Washington D.C.

Zipperstein has published some forty articles and many review essays in a wide range of journals, magazines, and newspapers, including the New York Times, Washington Post Book World, Ha-Aretz, Forward, The New Republic, Partisan Review, and Dissent.

Stanford Affiliations