Assistant Teaching Professor & Jack Buncher Professor of Jewish Studies, History
BioMichal Friedman is the The Jack Buncher Endowed Chair in Jewish Studies. She specializes in Jewish Diasporic history, especially that of Sephardi and Spanish speaking Jewish communities, and in Spanish history and culture. Her research and teaching focus on the history of the place and interactions of ethnic and religious minorities in Europe, the Middle East and the Americas, as well as conceptions of diaspora and nationhood. Born in Israel and raised in Tel Aviv and New York City, she completed university studies in the US and Spain and received her Ph.D. in Jewish history at Columbia University. Prior to becoming a faculty member at CMU she was a postdoctoral fellow at the Herbert D. Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies at the University of Pennsylvania and at The Seminar in Advanced Jewish Studies at the University of Oxford.
Her book manuscript, based on her doctoral dissertation Recovering Jewish Spain: Politics, Historiography and Institutionalization of the Jewish Past in Spain (1845-1935), is a study of initiatives to recover the Jewish past and the legacy of “Sefarad” in modern Spain. It explores the ways this history was mobilized by Spaniards and Jews alike in efforts to construct and claim a Spanish patria, in the elaboration of diverse ideologies including Liberalism and fascism, and in neo-imperial designs aimed to expand Spain’s national borders.
She is also the author of multiple book chapters and journal articles, as well as a guest editor of a forthcoming issue of Quest: Issues in Contemporary Jewish History and of a special forum in The Jewish Quarterly (JQR).
Friedman is also a co-founder and member of the organizing committee of Genealogies of Sepharad, an interdisciplinary group of scholars and writers from the United States, Spain, Portugal, and Israel who explore the meanings of Sepharad in Spanish and Portuguese history and culture as well as in the Sephardi diaspora from the 19th century to the present. The group does not conduct individual or family genealogy searches (read more in About Us). Most recently, Dr. Friedman has established a multifaceted collaboration with the Centropa Archive, a digitized collection of 1,200 interviews and 20,000 photographs of Jews who remained in Eastern and Central Europe, Russia, the Balkans, after surviving the Holocaust.
EducationPh.D.: Columbia University, 2012
- With Daniela Flesler and Asher Salah, "Introduction" Genealogies of Sepharad (“Jewish Spain”), Quest. Issues in Contemporary Jewish History, Issue 18/December 2020.
- “Orientalism between Empires: Abraham Shalom Yahuda at the Intersection of Sepharad, Zionism, and Imperialism.” Jewish Quarterly Review, 109:3 (Summer 2019), 435-451.
- “Reconstructing ‘Jewish Spain’: The Politics and Institutionalization of Jewish History in Spain, 1845-1940,” Journal of Judaic and Islamic Studies, Inaugural issue 1 (2014): 55-67.
- “Jewish History as ‘Historia Patria’: José Amador de los Ríos and the History of the Jews of Spain,”Journal of Jewish Social Studies, Volume 18, Number 1 (Fall 2011): 88-126.
- “Reconquering ‘Sepharad’: Hispanism and proto-Fascism in Giménez Caballero's Sephardist Crusade,” Journal of Spanish Cultural Studies, Vol. 12.1 (2011): 35-60.
- With Daniela Fleser & and Asher Salah, Genealogies of Sepharad (“Jewish Spain”), special issue of Quest. Issues in Contemporary Jewish History, Issue 18/December 2020.
- With Allyson González, Forum on Abraham Shalom Yahuda, Jewish Quarterly Review, 109:3 (Summer 2019).
- With Heath Cabot, Speaking Justice to Power: Local Pittsburgh Scholars Respond to the Tree of Life Shooting, Political and Legal Anthropological Review (PoLAR), January & March, 2019.
- With Daniela Felsler, "Negotiating Historical Redress: The Spanish Law of Nationality for Sephardi Descendants and Spain’s Jewish Communities" in Dalia Kandiyoti and Rina Benmayor eds.REPARATIVE CITIZENSHIP FOR SEPHARDI DESCENDANTS: Returning to the Jewish Past in Spain and Portugal (2023), 183-201.
- “Emerging and comparative trends in modern Jewish history: Beyond exceptionalism” in The Routledge Companion to Jewish History and Historiographyed. Dean Phillip Bell (Routledge, 2018).
- “Unsettling the ‘Jewish Question’ from the Margins of Europe: Spanish Liberalism and Sepharad” in Abigail Green and Simon Levis Sullam eds. Jews, Liberalism, Antisemitism: A Global History, (Palgrave, 2020).
- “Reconquering ‘Sepharad’: Hispanism and Proto-Fascism in Giménez Caballero's Sephardist Crusade” in Daniela Flesler, Tabea Linhard, Adrián Pérez Melgosa eds. Revisiting Jewish Spain in the Modern Era (Routledge, 2013). Reprinted from Journal of Spanish Cultural
- Topics in the Jewish Diaspora: Jewish-Latin America
- Iberian Encounters: Christians, Muslims and Jews in Spain
- Jews and Muslims in History: From the Time of Muhammad to the Present
- Antisemitism Then and Now: Perspectives from the Middle Ages to the Present
- General Francisco Franco: Fascism and its Legacies in Spain
- 20th/21st Century Europe
- Europe and the World since 1800
Department Member Since: 2010