Steven J. Zipperstein is Daniel E. Koshland Professor in Jewish Culture and History at Stanford University. He is the author and editor of nine books, most recently Pogrom: Kishinev and the Tilt of History (Liveright/WWW Norton, 2018). Currently he is at work on a biography of Philip Roth.
For sixteen years Zipperstein was Director of the Taube Center for Jewish Studies at Stanford. On leave at Harvard in 2007-9, he was the Gerald Weinstock Visiting Professor of Jewish History and then Vera M. Schuyler Fellow at Harvard’s Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. Before arriving at Stanford in 1991, Zipperstein taught at the Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies (1981-87), and at UCLA (1987-91); he has held visiting posts 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. He has co-edited four 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 (with Gabriella Safran) (Stanford University Press, 2006) which won the Leviant Prize of the Modern Language Association. Imagining Russian Jewry: Memory, History, Identity — based on the Stroum Lectures in Jewish Studies – appeared with the University of Washington Press in 1999. Zipperstein’s Rosenfeld’s Lives: Fame, Oblivion, and the Furies of Writing appeared in 2009 with Yale University Press was widely reviewed and a finalist for the National Jewish Book Award in the category of biography, memoir, and autobiography. Pogrom: Kishinev and the Tilt of History was named a book of the year by the Economist, Mosaic Magazine, Ha-Aretz and elsewhere, shortlisted for the National Jewish Book Award, and reviewed in the New York Review of Books, New York Times, Los Angeles Review, and several dozen other publications here and abroad. It was a finalist for the Mark Lytton Award as the best non-fiction book of the year. Pogrom is the inspiration for the 2019 novel by Nicolas Meyer, The Adventure of the Peculiar Protocols and for several plays now in production.
Professor Zipperstein was in 2014 the first Senior Scholar in Residence at the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, in New York, and has held fellowships at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Jerusalem, at Wolfson College, Oxford, the Institute for Advanced Studies of the Yitzhak Rabin Center in Tel Aviv, the Stanford Humanities Center, and the US Memorial Holocaust Museum in Washington DC where in 2003 he was J. B. Schapiro Senior Scholar in Residence. He was a Vice President of the Association for Jewish Studies, and for seven years 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 delivered the Weizmann Memorial Lecture in the Humanities at the Weizmann Institute, and endowed lectures at Smith, University of Toronto, Wesleyan, Harvard, 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 Harvard, Columbia and elsewhere. He has served as Chair 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, the Frankel Institute for Advanced Judaic Studies, and 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 academic journals in Israel, Germany, England, and Russia and for twenty years was an editor of Jewish Social Studies: History, Culture and Society. He is also a member of the editorial board of The Jewish Review of Books. Together with Anita Shapira, of Tel Aviv University, Zipperstein is series editor of the “Jewish Lives” launched by Yale University Press which has to-date published more than sixty books.
His PhD students now teach at dozens of universities in the United States and abroad, including University of Chicago, UCLA, Yeshiva College, Queens College, and Northwestern. In spring 2022, he was awarded the Stanford Humanities and Sciences Dean’s Award for excellence in Graduate Teaching.
Zipperstein has published more than fifty articles as well as many review essays in a wide range of journals, magazines, and newspapers, including the New York Times, Washington Post Book Review, Forward, The New Republic, Dissent, Partisan Review, Jewish Review of Books, New England Review, and The Atlantic.