Politics and International Relations

Affiliation: International Relations

Post: Stanley Lewis Professor of Israel Studies and Fellow, St Anne's College

E-mail:  derek.penslar [AT] area.ox.ac.uk

Phone Number:  +44 (0)1865 612859

College: St Anne's College

Website: Personal Website

Office Address:  School of Interdisciplinary Area Studies
11 Bevington Road
Oxford OX2 6LH

Research Interest Areas:

Professor Derek Penslar (MA, PhD)

Post: Stanley Lewis Professor of Israel Studies and Fellow, St Anne's College


Professor Penslar is a comparative historian with interests in the relationship between modern Israel and diaspora Jewish societies, global nationalist movements, European colonialism, and post-colonial states.

A native of California, he taught at Indiana University in Bloomington and the University of Toronto before coming to Oxford in 2012. Between 2002 and 2008 he directed the University of Toronto's Centre for Jewish Studies. He co-edits two scholarly journals, The Journal of Israeli History and Jewish Social Studies, and serves on the editorial board of Israel Studies and The Israel Studies Review. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and of the American Academy for Jewish Research.

Research Areas and Interests

Modern Israel’s history, politics, and economy; modern Jewish history; comparative nationalism and ethnicity

Previous Posts Held

Indiana University, Bloomington, Jewish Studies Program and Department of History: Assistant Professor, 1987-93; Associate Professor, 1993-98

University of Toronto, Department of History:  Samuel J. Zacks Chair in European Jewish History.  Associate Professor, 1998-2001; Professor, 2001 -

École Pratique des Hautes Études, Paris, directeur d’études invité, March 2002

Harvard University, Nachshon Visiting Professor of Israel Studies, Fall 2006

Columbia University, Visiting Professor of Israel Studies, Spring 2009

Teaching Responsibilities

Professor Penslar supervises post-graduate students and lectures in various topics related to modern Israel and global nationalism.

Media Expertise

Israeli politics and society

The Israel-Palestine conflict

Israel-diaspora relations

North American Jewish politics and culture



Zionism and Technocracy:  The Engineering of Jewish Settlement in Palestine, 1870-1918 (Indiana University Press, 1991)

Shylock’s Children: Economics and Jewish Identity in Modern Europe (University of California Press, 2001)

Orientalism and the Jews (co-edited with Ivan Kamar. University Press of New England, 2004

Israel in History: The Jewish State in Comparative Perspective (Routledge, 2006)  

“Shlomo Sand’s ‘The Invention of the Jewish People’ and the End of the New History,”   Israel Studies 17:2 (2012), 156-68

The Origins of Israel, 1882-1948: A Documentary History (with Eran Kaplan. University of Wisconsin Press, 2011)

“The German-Jewish Soldier: From Participant to Victim.” German History 29, 3 (2011), 423-44

Jews and the Military:  A History Princeton University Press, 2013.  Also available from Amazon

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