Professor Derek J. Penslar
I study Zionism and modern Israel within the contexts of modern European and Middle Eastern history, nationalism, and colonialism. This methodology reflects my education as a European historian (with a doctorate from Berkeley) and twenty-five years of teaching Jewish, European and comparative history as well as Israel Studies at Indiana University, the University of Toronto, Harvard and Columbia before coming to Oxford in 2012. See Inaugural Lecture.
My first book, Zionism and Technocracy: The Engineering of Jewish Settlement in Palestine, 1870-1918 (1991) placed early Zionist settlement policy in the context of European colonial and social policies of the fin de siecle. My interests in Zionist economic thought led to my second book, Shylock’s Children: Economics and Jewish Identity in Modern Europe (2001), which traced the history of Jewish political economy from the eighteenth century to the present. I've written a number of articles on Israel's place in modern Jewish and world history, and some of these essays were published in my 2007 book Israel in History: The Jewish State in Comparative Perspective. Over the past five years my research interests have continued to cover both Jewish history and Israel Studies.
I co-edit two scholarly journals, The Journal of Israeli History and Jewish Social Studies, and serve on the editorial boards of the journals Israel Studies and the Israel Studies Review. I am an elected fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and the American Academy for Jewish Research.