Liora R. Halperin, University of Colorado Boulder
Liora R. Halperin is an Assistant Professor in the Department of History and the Program in Jewish Studies at the University of Colorado Boulder. Her research focuses on Jewish cultural history, Jewish-Palestinian relations, language ideology and policy, and the politics surrounding nation formation in Palestine in the years leading up to the creation of the State of Israel in 1948. She is also a member of the advisory board for CU's Archive of Post-Holocaust American Judaism, and affiliated faculty in Middle Eastern Studies at the CU Center for Asian Studies.
Halperin received her Ph.D. from UCLA's history department. In 2011-2012 she was the Blaustein Postdoctoral Fellow at Yale University. In 2012-2013 she was an Assistant Professor of Near Eastern Studies and Judaic Studies at Princeton University, where she taught courses on Israel/Palestine, Modern Jewish History, and Middle Eastern History.
She received her undergraduate degree at Harvard in History and Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations and has held additional visiting affiliations at U.C. Berkeley, the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and Harvard.
My first book, Babel in Zion: Jews, Nationalism and Language Diversity in Palestine, 1920-1948, was published by Yale University Press in November 2014.
Order a copy of the book here (Amazon)
or here (Yale University Press)
The promotion and vernacularization of Hebrew, traditionally a language of Jewish liturgy and study, was a central accomplishment of the Zionist movement in Palestine in the years following World War I. Viewing twentieth-century history through the lens of language, author Liora Halperin questions the accepted scholarly narrative of a Zionist move away from multilingualism, demonstrating how Jews in Palestine remained connected linguistically by both preference and necessity to a world outside the boundaries of the pro-Hebrew community even as it promoted Hebrew and achieved that language’s dominance. The story of language encounters in Jewish Palestine is a fascinating tale of shifting power relationships, both locally and globally. Halperin’s absorbing study explores how a young national community was compelled to modify the dictates of Hebrew exclusivity as it negotiated its relationships with its Jewish population, Palestinian Arabs, the British, and others outside the margins of the national project and ultimately came to terms with the limitations of its hegemony in an interconnected world.