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Dr. Elissa Bemporad

J.B. and Maurice C. Shapiro Fellow
 "Legacy of Blood: Jews, Pogroms, and Ritual Murder in the Lands of the Soviets"

Professional Background

Dr. Elissa Bemporad is the Jerry and William Ungar Chair in East European Jewish History and the Holocaust and an associate professor of history at Queens College, City University of New York. She is a native speaker of Italian, and has language skills in English, Yiddish, Russian, Hebrew, French, German, and Belarusian. While in residence at the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies, Dr. Bemporad will be working on her project, “Legacy of Blood: Jews, Pogroms, and Ritual Murder in the Lands of the Soviets”.

Dr. Bemporad has written a number of articles, including: “Defying Authority in the Pale: The Making of Soviet Jewish Rituals and the Emergence of Folk Legitimacy” in Essays in Jewish History, (Brill, 2014); “What Should We Collect? Ethnography, Local Studies, and the Formation of a Belorussian Jewish Identity,” in Going to the People: Jews and the Ethnographic Impulse, (Indiana University Press, 2016); and “Dubnov’s Wayward Son: Israel Sosis and the Legacy of Russian Jewish Historiography,” in Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry 29 (forthcoming, 2016). Her monograph, Becoming Soviet Jews: The Bolshevik Experiment in Minsk (Indiana University Press 2013), was the winner of the National Jewish Book Award for Writing Based on Archival Research and the Fraenkel Prize in Contemporary History, Weiner Library for the Study of the Holocaust and Genocide Studies.

Fellowship Research

For her J.B. and Maurice C. Shapiro Fellowship, Dr. Bemporad examined the social history of the pogrom and the blood libel in the Soviet Union from 1917 to the early 1970s. Her project investigated the memory, the persistence, and the permutation of anti-Jewish violence and discourses of violence in the face of a Bolshevik government categorically opposed to antisemitism as emblematic of the defeated Tsarist regime.

Dr. Elissa Bemporad was in residence at the Mandel Center until December 31, 2016.