Jeff Kopstein

Jeffrey Kopstein, UCI political science professor, has been awarded the 2021-22 Ina Levine Invitational Fellowship to continue his research on social scientific approaches to the Holocaust. During his in-residence fellowship at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., he will work on his new book, Three Pogroms: Anti-Jewish Violence from Antiquity to the Holocaust, a close comparative study of three communities that fell victim to deadly riots in different eras and under significantly different international orders and cultural contexts. The book explores the continuities and changes in the sources, meaning, and processes of exclusionary violence over the past two millennia.   

Kopstein joined the faculty at UC Irvine in 2015, following professorial posts at the University of Toronto and University of Colorado at Boulder. His research, funded by the National Science Foundation, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, and European Commission, focuses on interethnic violence, voting patterns of minority groups, and anti-liberal tendencies in civil society, with special attention on cases within European and Russian Jewish history. His work has been featured widely in academic journals and popular press, including pieces in The Washington Post and The Atlantic, and the topics comprise his undergraduate and graduate courses at UCI.

His latest monograph (with Jason Wittenberg), Intimate Violence: Anti-Jewish Pogroms on the Eve of the Holocaust (Cornell UP, 2018), examined a particularly brutal wave of violence that occurred across hundreds of predominantly Polish and Ukrainian communities in the aftermath of the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union. The study sought to explain why pogroms occurred in some localities and not in others. His forthcoming edited volume (with Jelena Subotić and Susan Welch), Politics, Violence, Memory: The New Social Science of the Holocaust (Cornell UP, 2022), resulted from an international collaborative project using new sources, data, and methods in Holocaust research. 

Kopstein’s expertise in Jewish studies and political science serves as the foundation for the School of Social Sciences’ interest in developing an Israel studies program that creates and sustains cross-regional and interdisciplinary research discussions.


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