"On the Frontlines: Soviet Jewish Photographers Confront World War II and the Holocaust"
Professor David Shneer received a Ph.D. and an M.A. in history and a B.A. with highest honors in history and Slavic languages and literature from the University of California at Berkeley. During his fellowship at the Museum, he was Director of the Center for Judaic Studies and Assistant Professor of History at the University of Denver. For his Pearl Resnick Postdoctoral Fellowship, Professor Shneer conducted research for his project “On the Frontlines: Soviet Jewish Photographers Confront World War II and the Holocaust.”
Professor Shneer is co-editor with Caryn Aviv of Queer Jews (Routledge, 2002) and author of Yiddish and the Creation of Soviet Jewish Culture (Cambridge University Press, 2004). At the time of his fellowship he was awaiting the publication of his books Yiddish and the Creation of Soviet Jewish Culture (Cambridge University Press, 2004) and, with Caryn Aviv, New Jews: The End of the Jewish Diaspora (New York University Press, 2005). Professor Shneer has also published over a dozen articles on such topics as Zionism, Birobidzhan (the Soviet Union’s official Jewish region), Jews in Russian culture, modern Yiddish, and Soviet Jewish newspapers, among others. He has studied at St. Petersburg University in Russia, YIVO in New York, and the Yiddish Studies Seminar in Tel Aviv. He conducts research in Russian, Hebrew, Yiddish, German, Ukrainian and French. Professor Shneer has received many prestigious awards including two Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowships in Yiddish from the United States Department of Education; a Newhouse Fellowship for Jewish Studies; the Ehrman Fellowship for Modern European History; an IREX research fellowship; a Mellon doctoral fellowship at the University of California at Berkeley for excellence in scholarship in the field of Eastern European Jewish history and cultural studies; and the Outstanding Graduate Student Instructor award from the International and Area Studies Division at the University of California at Berkeley.
During his tenure at the Museum, Professor Shneer explored the way in which Jewish Soviet photojournalists represented the war to Jewish and Soviet audiences and the way in which their own complex, and at times conflicted, identities are represented in their photographic work. Through his project he brought new interest in visual culture within the humanities to the study of war, and even more so to the Soviet front. Professor Shneer made extensive use of the Museum’s photographic collections from the late war period (1943-1945) and contrasted the American photographic record of liberation with the Soviet liberation of Eastern Europe, searching for ways in which these representations converged and differed.
Professor Shneer was in residence at the Mandel Center from April 1 to August 31, 2004.