Associate Professor of History, Indiana University, Bloomington
Associate Professor and Associate Director of Borns Jewish Studies Program, Indiana University, Bloomington
Co-Director, AHEYM (Archive of Historical and Ethnographic Yiddish Memories) Oral History Project
Area of Research: Russian and Eastern European Jewish history, Jewish cultural history
Education: Ph.D. (History) Georgetown University, 1998
Major Publications: Veidlinger is the author of The Moscow State Yiddish Theater: Jewish Culture on the Soviet Stage (Indiana University Press, 2000; paperback edition, 2006) winner of National Jewish Book Award, Barnard Hewitt Award, Choice Magazine Outstanding Academic Title and The George Freedley Memorial Award Finalist.
He is also the co-editor of 150 Years of Jewish Emigration from Russia-USSR-Russia (1885-2005): History and Destinies, Volume 2: Migration Between Extremes, 1914-1939 which is in progress and under contract to be published by The International Center for Russian and East European Jewish Studies in Moscow and the Leonid Nevzlin Research Center for Russian and East European Jewry at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
Veidlinger is currently working on a book tentatively entitledJewish Public Culture in the Late Russian Empire.
Awards: Veidlinger is the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships including:
National Jewish Book Award Winner in Yiddish Language and Literature Category, 2000;
Choice Outstanding Academic Title (Choice Magazine), 2001;
Barnard Hewitt Award for Outstanding Research in Theater History and Cognate Studies, American Society of Theatre Research, 2001;
National Jewish Book Award Finalist in Eastern Europe Category. 2000;
The George Freedley Memorial Award Finalist, Theatre Library Association, 2000;
Lucius N. Littauer Foundation Book Grant, 2000.
ACLS/SSRC/NEH International and Area Studies Fellowship, 2002-2003;
National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Stipend, 2001;
Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada Fellowship, 1996-98;
Mellon Summer Fellowship, 1998;
REEI Mellon Endowment Grant-in-Aid for international travel, May 2004, June 2006;
Indiana University Arts and Humanities Institute Fellowship, 2002-2003;
Indiana University Research and the University Graduate School Summer Faculty Fellowship, 2002;
Indiana University College of Arts and Sciences Summer Faculty Fellowship, 2001;
Russian and East European Institute Travel Grants, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2005;
Indiana University Trustees' Teaching Award, 2001;
National Endowment for the Humanities Grant to Preserve and Create Access to Humanities Collections ($200,000) 2005-2007;
Atran Foundation ($10,000) 2005;
Indiana University Arts and Humanities Institute ($6000), 2003;
Indiana University Arts and Humanities Initiative Fellowship ($50,000) 2003;
Indiana University Russian and East European Institute Fellowship ($2000), 2003;
Indiana University Multidisciplinary Ventures Grant ($3500), 2002;
Indiana University President Council on International Programs ($2000), 2002;
Indiana University Russian and East European Institute Fellowship ($3500) 2002.
He is co-director of AHEYM (The Archive of Historical and Ethnographic Yiddish Memories), a project that collects videotaped oral histories of Yiddish speakers in Eastern Europe, mostly about Jewish life in the region before the Second World War.
Veidlinger is a member of the Association for Jewish Studies, American Historical Association, American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies, Oral History Association.
He has published articles and reviews on Jewish cultural and intellectual history in numerous periodicals, including Slavic Review, Studies in Jewish Civilization, Ab Imperio, Kritika¸ Jews in Eastern Europe, East European Jewish Affairs, Studies in Contemporary Jewry, Simon Dubnow Institute Yearbook, Cahiers du Monde Russe, and others.
My story takes place in a small Ukrainian town that was, before the Second World War, a center of Jewish life. Like many others of its type, this shtetl (Yiddish for small town) once thrived with urban bustle, its marketplace teeming with Yiddish conversation. Today it is more like a country village, its town center virtually deserted. When I was there a few years ago, a lone chicken roamed through the empty square and a goat bleated, tied to a tree. The former Yidishe Gas (Jewish Street) was then Vladimir Lenin Street, so neglected that it had not even been renamed since the collapse of Communism over a decade before. Abandoned houses still bore the marks of mezuzahs on their doorposts, but inside only chickens made their homes. The seventeenth-century synagogue, famous throughout the district, had been converted into a juice-bottling factory sometime after the war. It had not yet been reclaimed, as was happening in many similar towns, by the nascent Jewish community, which, incidentally, was sometimes directed by the same individual who, in a prior incarnation, led the local Communist Party branch that seized the synagogue in the first place.
I was here, with my colleagues Dov-Ber Kerler and Dovid Katz, as part of an oral history, linguistic, and ethnographic project about Yiddish-speaking Jews in Eastern Europe. Local lore, we discovered, held that the town had been spared some of the worst of Nazi atrocities because it was protected by the spirits of two Hasidic holy men who were buried in the cemetery. With one of our informants as our guide, we set off for the burial ground to pay homage to the town's saviors and to recite the Jewish prayer for the dead. Like most of the Jewish cemeteries of the region, it was overgrown with weeds; even fully mature trees had grown over time amidst the underbrush. Only a handful of gravestones remained, jutting out of the earth sporadically throughout the field. Most of the stones had been carried off long ago to pave the streets or to repair broken walls.
I decided to wander off on my own, to see if any old stones could still be found protruding from the ground. In an isolated corner of the graveyard, I found a few inches of stone, surrounded by earth and foliage. I squatted down to see if I could make out any of the epitaph, but the inscription was concealed behind layers of thorny weeds. Lost in my thoughts, I felt a shadow creep over the tomb and heard heavy breathing behind me. I glanced up and saw, standing over me, a somber-looking man in black, brandishing an enormous scythe.
Suddenly encountering the image of Death Himself can be startling in the best of circumstances. It is even more so in an abandoned cemetery in a strange land. In my moment of terror, I saw in the shimmering blade the blood of all those Jewish martyrs who had been murdered by Cossaks, in pogroms, by Hitler's henchmen, and by Stalin's agents, just like this, on the outskirts of Ukrainian villages in centuries past. The peasant from the neighboring field, aware only that he had inadvertently startled me, smiled, revealing a mouthful of gold and silver teeth, and gently lowered the rusting blade to help clear the brush away from the stone. I thanked him with a dollar bill as the name of the deceased came into view.
By Jeffrey Veidlinger
About Jeffrey Veidlinger
"Veidlinger is extremely knowledgable and I learned so much from him! Rock on!" -- Anonymous Students
Professor of History, Yale University (Fall 2006)
Area of Research: East European history
Education: Ph.D., University of Oxford, 1997
Major Publications:Sketches from a Secret War: A Polish Artist's Mission to Liberate Soviet Ukraine (Yale University Press, 2005); The Reconstruction of Nations: Poland, Ukraine, Lithuania, Belarus, 1569-1999 (Yale University Press, 2003); and Nationalism, Marxism, and Modern Central Europe: A Biography of Kazimierz Kelles-Krauz (Harvard University Press, 1998); Co-editor of Wall Around the West: State Power and Immigration Controls in Europe and North America (Rowman and Littlefield, 2001). Snyder has one book currently in progress; Brotherlands: A Family History of the Slavic, German, and Jewish Nations.
Awards:Nationalism, Marxism, and Modern Central Europe was awarded the Oskar Halecki Prize for Outstanding Work of Polish or East European History from the Polish Institute of Arts and Sciences. The Reconstruction of Nations won the American Historical Association's 2003 George Louis Beer Prize. Postdoctoral fellowships include; The American Council of Learned Societies, Harvard University; IREX fellow at the Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw; and The Olin Institute for Strategic Studies, Harvard University.
"The Stolen Dissertation" (C) Timothy Snyder, 2005
Someone (I know who) stole all of my dissertation research in New Haven, Connecticut, in May 1993.
I had been living for months in Poland, visiting libraries and archives, accumulating files on a Macintosh laptop that I carried with me everyhere in a black leather backpack. My digs in Warsaw were in a skanky dormitory which boasted more standing than running water, and had rusty locks on the doors. Every night I slept with my backpack by my head, lest someone should break in to steal the computer.
My brother Phil was graduating from Yale that spring, so I flew back for the ceremony, bringing with me all the possessions that mattered: the computer, my backup disks, and a Banana Republic weekend jacket, all in the black backpack. As I was helping to move Phil's things to the family van, I noticed that my backpack had disappeared from his room. Feeling safe with family in my own country, I had let down my guard! Phil and I ran off in the two most likely directions, on the New Haven streets that he knew pretty well, looking for someone carrying a black backpack. My youngest brother Mike called the police.
When the police came, they asked my mother whether she wanted to prosecute the thief or recover the backpack. She chose the latter. The police officer then drove my mother to a pawn shop. Though scarcely twenty minutes had passed since the theft, my computer was there on a shelf."Oh," said my mother to the proprietor,"how much do you want for that computer?" He said he had paid $50 for it. Then she asked,"You wouldn't happen to have a backpack, would you?" The proprietor produced mine from under the counter, saying that someone who owed him $20 had given it to him as payment. Then my mother looked him up and down."Nice coat," said she. He said she could have it for another $20. My mother redeemed my scholarly future (and my Banana Republic weekend jacket) for ninety bucks in a pawn shop.
When I came back from running around New Haven, breathless and upset, I found my mother and the police officer standing outside Phil's room, the officer holding the computer."Can you identify this?" he asked. I told him that the hard disk drive was named"nosic," a Polish verb for carry. This seemed to suffice. By then my family and I were ready to leave, really ready to leave. We piled into my parents' big Chevrolet van. When the side door had slammed shut, my father began to wonder aloud about the arrangement between the police and the pawn shops. We had something to think about.
What does this teach us about young historians -- besides that they should back up their data in separate places and never keep all of the copies in one backpack that might be stolen and sold for quick money to buy crack? As I was running around New Haven that day, there were two sounds in my head. One was that of my feet pounding the pavement. The other was that of an inner voice, already reconciling me with reality. It said:"that research took three years to do; but I bet I could redo it in two years." If I had lost the research for good, I probably would have started again -- but then the dissertation would have been different, based on another review of the sources, written by an older and altered person. Many other changes in life would no doubt have followed that one.
Much hung on that absurd moment. Yet how easy it is to make a coherent narrative of my academic career without it! Brown, Oxford, eastern Europe, Yale, scholarships, books, awards -- what need for the detail of a transaction in a New Haven pawn shop to tell the story? That tawdry event makes the official story possible, then the official story returns the favor by excluding the tawdry event.
The recovery of my research was one those turning points, free of intentions and grandeur, easily forgotten later, invisible to everyone but those closest to the events, and visible then only if those present are ready to be surprised. (My mother, the heroine of this story, actually filmed the thief on a video camera, but did not realize this at the time, since in her mind she was filming Phil's graduation day.) It is a great pleasure and necessity, I think, that in our work we get close enough to the sources to see such things, that we learn to catch and release these little contingencies. They are out of the reach of our teachers, our theories, and our hypotheses -- but they are there, in our sources, and in our work, when the work is done well, when the story is told right.
Quotes by Timothy Snyder
Quotes About Timothy Snyder
"This class was terrific, maybe the best class I've taken at Yale."...
"East Central Europe" was a phenomenal class. Prof. Snyder is a dynamic, energetic, and truly inspiring lecturer."...
"This is quite simply the best history course I have taken at Yale. It was interesting, well-balanced, and extremely well-taught."...
"Professor Snyder is the best lecturer I have heard at Yale. He does not grandstand, nor does he read his lectures. They are delivered simply and clearly, but the intellectual rigor with which he teaches is phenomenal." -- Anonymous Students
Associate Professor of History, University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Area of Research:
Education: Ph.D. in history, 2001, Yale University
Major Publications: Suri is the author of Power and Protest: Global Revolution and the Rise of Détente (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2003) recipient of the 2003 Phi Alpha Theta Best First Book Award.; Arabic Language Edition of Power and Protest (Beirut: Al Hiwar Athaqafi, 2005); Indian Edition of Power and Protest (New Delhi: Viva Books Private Limited, 2005); Henry Kissinger and the American Century (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, forthcoming 2006) and The Global Revolutions of 1968 (New York: W.W. Norton, forthcoming 2006).
Awards: Suri is the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships including:
2006 Class of 1955 Distinguished Teaching Award from the University of Wisconsin;
2004 Dorothy and Hsin-Nung Yao Teaching Award from the University of Wisconsin;
2004-2007 Organization of American Historians Distinguished Lecturer;
2003 Phi Alpha Theta Best First Book Award;
2001 John Addison Porter Prize for the best dissertation in the humanities, Yale University;
2001 Hans Gatzke Prize for the best dissertation in international history, Yale University.
Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Interdisciplinary Workshop Grant, administered through the Center for the Humanities, University of Wisconsin, Madison, 2006-2007;
Vilas Associateship, University of Wisconsin, 2005-2007;
Collaborative Research Grant, Center for World Affairs and the Global Economy (WAGE) University of Wisconsin, 2005-2008;
Innovation and Development Grant, International Institute, University of Wisconsin, 2005;
National Fellowship, Hoover Institution, Stanford University, 2003-2004;
Research Travel Grant, German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), 2004;
Faculty Travel Grant, Center For European Studies, University of Wisconsin, 2003-2004;
Rockefeller Archives Center Research Grant, 2004;
Postdoctoral Fellowship, Center for International Security and Cooperation, Stanford University, 2000-2001;
United States Institute for Peace Research Fellowship, 1999-2000;
Jacob K. Javits United States Department of Education Doctoral Fellowship, 1994-1998;
A. Bartlett Giamatti Yale University Graduate Fellowship, 1996-1998;
Yale Center for International and Area Studies Dissertation Fellowship, 1998-1999;
Smith Richardson Dissertation Fellowship in International Studies, 1998-1999;
Friends of Princeton University Library Manuscript Research Fellowship, 1998;
Yale International Studies Summer Travel Grant, 1997;
Ohio University Contemporary History Institute Russia Travel Grant, 1996;
Stanford University Undergraduate Research and Travel Grant, 1994;
Harvard University John M. Olin Fellowship in International Studies, 1999-2000, declined by recipient;
Fellowship in Public Affairs, Miller Center, University of Virginia, 2000-01, declined by recipient.
Suri has had op-ed articles published in"The Seoul Times,""Washington Times,""San Francisco Chronicle," and the"Wisconsin State Journal."
Founder and editor (with Professor Sven Beckert) of Princeton University Press scholarly book series on"America in the World" and Editor, Encyclopedia of the Cold War (London: Routledge, forthcoming 2007), section on ideas, concepts, and institutions, and on the Editorial Board, Cambridge Dictionary of Modern World History (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, forthcoming 2007).
He is also a Senior Fellow, Center for World Affairs and the Global Economy, University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Writing contemporary international history is often a strange experience. Sometime it feels more like a Woody Allen movie than a traditional scholarly existence. Here is a slice in the life of the new book project that I am completely on Henry Kissinger and the American Century.
In the spring of 2004 I received an email message from a name I did not recognize with the following subject line:"Message from Dr. Kissinger." I was working on a book about the man, but I had never communicated with him. One of my crazy history colleagues must be pulling my leg, I thought. I was wrong. It turned out that the all-knowing Dr. K found out about my project, read my prior book, and wanted to meet me. I needed his instruction, he obviously thought.
"I will meet Dr. Kissinger whenever he would like," I responded to his assistant's inquiry. No playing hard to get for me. We met at his Park Avenue office in New York a month later. There was no small talk. For an hour-and-a-half he grilled me on my research and"how I could know" what I had written. We argued and I lost every point of dispute."Why am I arguing with the man who negotiated with Mao," I wondered halfway through this surreal experience. When he was finished, Kissinger dismissed me with the words:"You just don't understand what it is like to make policy." Okay, I thought, but that is a very convenient excuse for your controversial actions. Nice cop-out, Henry.
Kissinger asked me about my future research for my book about him."I am taking my family to your hometown of Fuerth, Germany this summer," I explained."Why on earth are you doing that?" he responded."I want to understand your early years and the social history that influenced your policies.""You will learn nothing about me in Fuerth," he growled."It means nothing to me."
I dragged the family to Germany anyway. On the Monday of my second week in the city's Jewish archive, the main research supervisor told me that Kissinger was making a private visit to town with his brother, Walter. She only knew because her friend worked at the local press agency -- the only press agency told about this visit. I immediately surmised that Kissinger would visit the old family apartment, in the old Jewish ghetto, that I had examined in prior days. I bolted for the neighborhood and spent about 3 hours sitting on the stoop, stalking the man."So this is what I got a Ph.D. for," I thought."Maybe I should have chosen a more respectable profession -- like the law."
Kissinger arrived, finally, in a Mercedes with his brother and the mayor. He recognized me immediately and exclaimed,"What are you doing here." I had 3 hours to plan my response."I am researching you, Dr. Kissinger. You know, I have my own back channels."
That moment broke the ice. Since then, we have met for extended discussions on numerous occasions. He remains manipulative and controlling. He does not really sit for interviews. Kissinger and I have, however, developed a working relationship that has provided me with important insights -- some favorable, some critical -- about his background, his development, and his historical legacy. He probably will not like my book, but I feel much more confident in my ability to write about him because of our relationship.
You see, Woody Allen was right. Ninety percent of life is about showing up. Sometimes that means answering email; sometimes it requires sitting on a stoop.
By Jeremi Suri
To help us comprehend what it means to think globally, scholars have begun to conceptualize history in these terms as well. By examining how states, peoples, and cultures interacted with one another in the past, we surely gain some leverage on understanding the present. To see globalization as a historic phenomenon is to recognize that the new technologies of our day are not necessarily the primary forces behind the interdependence of economies, the interpenetration of cultures, and, perhaps most worrying, the internationalization of terrorism. Studying the 1960s and détente in global terms reveals how ideas, institutions, and personalities transcended national boundaries before the Internet or the “war on terrorism.
The Cold War, more than anything else, created a remarkable conjuncture among societies in the 1960s. Nuclear dangers elicited common fears of annihilation. International competition contributed to the growth of state-run bureaucracies. This was especially true for universities, which expanded in nearly every society to accommodate both a larger population of young citizens and state demands for more advanced technical training. Cold War rhetoric about capitalism and communism inspired rising expectations that, by the late 1960s, produced a common sense of disillusionment among culturally diverse men and women.
To see the period in these terms, and détente’s function as counterrevolution, requires a global perspective that looks across national boundaries and within societies at the same time. It demands attention to various kinds of relationships: social, cultural, political, and diplomatic. To isolate one kind of interaction from another, simply re-creates the provinciality of national history on a wider geographical terrain. Understanding moments of global conjuncture, like the 1960s, calls for an international history that treats power as both multicultural and multidimensional. This involves following the interactions of ideas, institutions, and personalities at many levels. It also leads one to examine how policies, like détente, evolved from truly diverse, and often unintended, influences.
An international history of this kind allows one to re-think many issues that animate historians and other fellow travelers in our global age. Analyzing power in multicultural and multidimensional terms adds to our understanding of human interactions. It also enriches the ways we remember the 1960s and the decade’s legacy for the twenty-first century. -- Jeremi Suri in"Power and Protest: Global Revolution and the Rise of Detente", 262-63.
About Jeremi Suri