UW News

March 15, 2021

New Stroum Center podcast series ‘Jewish Questions’ explores anti-Semitism, features UW faculty

UW News

A new podcast from the University of Washington’s Stroum Center for Jewish Studies explores issues of Jewish life, with anti-Semitism — at home and abroad, presently and in history — the topic of its first season.

Laurie Marhoefer

Jewish Questions” is hosted by Laurie Marhoefer, associate professor of history, and Noam Pianko, professor of international studies and director of the Stroum Center, which is in the UW Jackson School of International Studies.

Jewish Questions“: The Podcast of the Stroum Center for Jewish Studies

Episode 1: “Is America an Exception? Anti-Semitism in the United States,” with Susan Glenn
Episode 2: “Could it Happen Here? The Rise of Nazi Germany,” with Laurie Marhoefer
Episode 3: “In the Blood? Being Jewish in Medieval Spain,” with Ana Gómez-Bravo
Episode 4: “Jewish anti-Semitism?” with Devin Naar.
Episode 5: “Before Zionism,” with Liora Halperin.

As Marhoefer says in the first episode, the series is “a deep dive podcast on stuff that matters now in Jewish life, politics, history and culture — from a scholarly perspective.”

Each of five episodes features a UW faculty member. The series begins with history professor Susan Glenn talking with Marhoefer and Pianko about anti-Semitism in the United States and the “historical amnesia,” as Glenn said, Americans seem to have about their country’s anti-Semitic past.

Noam Pianko

Pianko said events of recent years such as the Charlottesville, Virginia, “Unite the Right” rally and the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting have affected colleagues on scholarly and personal levels. Since many Stroum Center affiliates teach and conduct research related to anti-Semitism, he said, it made a fitting topic for the podcast series.

“As a historian, I recognized anti-Semitism as a part of American history,” Pianko said. “However, the scholarly narrative of American Jewish history focused on the exceptional nature of the American Jewish experience. The U.S. never experienced the same degree of anti-Semitism or persecution that shaped the European Jewish experience.

“Watching recent events unfold has challenged the assumption of American exceptionalism and raised a host of new scholarly questions with very broad public implications,” Pianko said.

In subsequent episodes:

  • Marhoefer discusses the rise of Nazi Germany and asks: Can it happen here?
  • Ana Gómez-Bravo, professor of Spanish and Portuguese studies, explores how anti-Semitism has changed over time
  • Devin Naar, associate professor of history and Jewish studies, examines Jewish prejudice against other Jews; and
  • Liora Halperin, associate professor of history, discusses Russian anti-Semitism experienced by 19th-century Jewish settlers to Ottoman Palestine.

“Jewish Questions” is produced, recorded and edited by Kara Schoonmaker, Stroum Center communications manager. The podcast series is funded by a grant from the Jewish Federation of Seattle and by the center.

For more information, contact Marhoefer at marl@uw.edu. Pianko at npianko@uw.edu or Schoonmaker at kschoon@uw.edu.