Wednesday, February 06, 2019

What is Lior B. Sternfeld reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Lior B. Sternfeld, author of Between Iran and Zion: Jewish Histories of Twentieth-Century Iran.

His entry begins:
These days, as I am teaching two courses this semester and preparing for some summer research, I have on my desk some books that connect many points of teaching and research interests. I guess that the overarching theme is global and transnational histories of the Middle East. Orit Bashkin's Impossible Exodus: Iraqi Jews in Israel, is an inspiring account of the Iraqi Jewish communities who had immigrated to Israel after 1948. Bashkin analyzes the formation of Iraqi-Israeli-Jewish identity that is far more complex than earlier assumed. The social struggles, the navigation between the Israeli nation-building project, the "melting pot," and tension between ideas, ideologies, unreconciled past, and...[read on]
About Between Iran and Zion, from the publisher:
Iran is home to the largest Jewish population in the Middle East, outside of Israel. At its peak in the twentieth century, the population numbered around 100,000; today about 25,000 Jews live in Iran. Between Iran and Zion offers the first history of this vibrant community over the course of the last century, from the 1905 Constitutional Revolution through the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Over this period, Iranian Jews grew from a peripheral community into a prominent one that has made clear impacts on daily life in Iran.

Drawing on interviews, newspapers, family stories, autobiographies, and previously untapped archives, Lior B. Sternfeld analyzes how Iranian Jews contributed to Iranian nation-building projects, first under the Pahlavi monarchs and then in the post-revolutionary Islamic Republic. He considers the shifting reactions to Zionism over time, in particular to religious Zionism in the early 1900s and political Zionism after the creation of the state of Israel. And he investigates the various groups that constituted the Iranian Jewish community, notably the Jewish communists who became prominent activists in the left-wing circles in the 1950s and the revolutionary Jewish organization that participated in the 1979 Revolution. The result is a rich account of the vital role of Jews in the social and political fabric of twentieth-century Iran.
Learn more about Between Iran and Zion at the Stanford University Press website.

Writers Read: Lior Sternfeld.

--Marshal Zeringue