Steven J. Zipperstein
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Steven J. Zipperstein, the Daniel E. Koshland Professor in Jewish Culture and History at Stanford University, recently completed the biography Rosenfeld’s Lives: Fame, Oblivion, and the Furies of Writing (Yale University Press, forthcoming). Using a cache of previously unknown letters, manuscripts, and journals, he examines the life and work of writer Isaac Rosenfeld, who, before he died relatively young and obscure, was considered more promising than Saul Bellow, his closest friend.
A historian of modern European Jewry, Zipperstein has worked for several years on the book (under contract with Houghton Mifflin) that he will write during his Radcliffe fellowship: a cultural history of the Jews of Russia. Using the tools of anthropology, ethnography, literature, and history, he will examine the experiences of Jews in Russia through sources in Hebrew, Russian, Yiddish, and other languages. Much of contemporary Jewish self-understanding was forged in Russia (Jewish liberalism, Jewish socialism, Zionism, modern Hebrew and Yiddish literature), perhaps because approximately two-thirds of the world’s Jews lived inside or near the Russian empire by the turn of the twentieth century.
Zipperstein has written five books, including Imagining Russian Jewry: Memory, History, Identity (University of Washington Press, 1999), and edited four books. His work has appeared in Dissent, the New York Times, the Washington Post, and elsewhere. In the mid-1990s, he taught the first university course in Russia on Russian Jewish history since the 1920s. Zipperstein earned his PhD at the University of California at Los Angeles and has taught at universities in England, France, and Poland.