Carnegie Mellon University

Michal Friedman

Michal Friedman

Assistant Teaching Professor & Jack Buncher Professor of Jewish Studies, History

  • Baker Hall 239D


Michal 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 Sepharadan 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.


Ph.D.: Columbia University, 2012


Journal Articles

Edited Collections

Book Chapters

Courses Taught

  • 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