Barry Trachtenberg

Associate Professor
Director, Judaic Studies Program

Ph.D., University of California-Los Angeles
Post-Graduate Diploma- Oxford University
M.A., University of Vermont
B.A., Glassboro State College
(now Rowan University in NJ)

SS 119
Phone: (518) 442-3078


Undergraduate Courses:

HIS/JST 221: American Jewish Experience
HIS/JST/HEB 244: Zionism, Palestine, and Israel in Historical Perspective
HIS/JST 250: Holocaust in History
HIS/JST/REL 254: Jews in the Modern World
HIS 266 & JST/REL 256: World Jewry since the Holocaust
JST/HIS 275: Antisemitism in Historical Perspective
JST 360: Bearing Witness: Holocaust Diaries and Memoirs

Graduate Courses:

HIS 531: Topics in European History (Writing and Rewriting the Holocaust in the 21st Century)
HIS 611/613: Readings in European/International History (The Nazi Holocaust: History and Historiography)
HIS 609/620: Seminar in American History/European History (Making the Modern Nation)
HIS 611/626: Readings in European History/Readings in Global & Comparative History (War & Genocide in the 20th Century)

Current Research Interests:

Associate Professor in the Department of History and Director of the Judaic Studies Program at the University at Albany (SUNY), I was trained in Jewish history at the University of California, Los Angeles (Ph.D.), the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and Oxford University (Post-graduate Diploma) and also hold degrees from the University of Vermont (M.A. in U.S. history) and Rowan University of New Jersey (B.A. in English). My book, The Revolutionary Roots of Modern Yiddish, 1903-1917 (Syracuse University Press, 2008) examines the impact of the 1905 Russian Revolution on the formation of Yiddish scholarship. I am currently working on two monographic-length projects.

The first of these is under contract with Bloomsbury Press and is tentatively entitled “Race, Refuge, and Remembrance: The United States and the Nazi Holocaust”. This work adopts an integrated approach that brings together general United States and American Jewish historical research, recent studies on whiteness, and the literature on the “instrumentalization” of the Holocaust. In it, I examine the response of the United States government, the general public, and the American Jewish community to the rise of Nazism in Germany and Austria and then to World War II and Holocaust. I argue that discussions on the resettlement and rescue of European Jewry not only concerned the specific case of Jews themselves but were also part of a much larger set of national conversations on the changing definition of whiteness, the status of Americanness, and the question of who would have full rights of citizenship before the law.

My second project, “‘Bible for the New Age’: The Nazi Holocaust and the Exile of Yiddish”, is an examination of the only attempt to publish a comprehensive encyclopedia in the Yiddish language, considers a broad range of historiographical questions on the shifting agenda of Yiddish-language research and the ways that the Nazi Holocaust shaped Jewish historians’ understanding of their task. In support of this project, I have been awarded a Summer Research Grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (2008), a Fellowship from the Frankel Center for Advanced Judaic Studies at the University of Michigan (Spring 2009), and the Kiev Judaica Collection Fellowship Program at George Washington University (2012-13). In 2011, I co-led the Curt C. and Else Silberman Seminar for Faculty at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum's Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies and I occasionally teach for the Holocaust Educational Foundation of Northwestern University's Annual Summer Institute on the Holocaust and Jewish Civilization.

Recently, I have been appointed to the Board of Scholars of Facing History and Ourselves and to the Academic Council of the Holocaust Educational Foundation of Northwestern University.


Recent Publications:

“Bridging the “Great and Tragic Mekhitse”: Pre-war European Yiddish Serials and the Transition to Post-Khurbn America,” in Marion Aptroot, et al. eds., Leket : yidishe shtudyes haynt | Jiddistik heute | Yiddish Studies Today. (Düsseldorf: Düsseldorf University Press, 2012), 565-584.

“A Bible for a New Age: a History of the Dubnow Encyclopedia.” Yearbook of the Simon Dubnow Institute Volume 9 (2010) 507-521.

“Jewish Universalism, the Yiddish Encyclopedia and the Nazi Rise to Power.” In Gennady Estraikh and Misha Krutikov, eds. Yiddish in Weimar Berlin: At the Crossroads of Diaspora Politics and
(Oxford: Legenda Press, 2010) 195-214.

Links to:

Full Curriculum Vitae