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On the Road: Jewish Peddling and the Shaping of Jewish History

Event Date & Time: 17th June, 2019 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm
Location: Birkbeck, University of London, Clore Lecture Theatre, Clore Management Centre, Torrington Square, London WC1E 7JL
Speakers: Professor Hasia Diner, New York University
Tags: Israel Abrams, Jewish life in the Middle Ages
Theme: Economics, Jewish Identities, Labour, Migrants, Minorities, Peddlers, Religion, Violence
Region / Country: Africa, Australia, Canada, Caribbean, Europe, Ireland, Lithuania, Mid-Atlantic, Spain, USA
Historical Period: 19th century, 20th century


In the long history of Jews and business, few phenomena have been more formative than Jewish peddling. The Jewish men who went out on the road laden with a jumble of goods, going door-to-door, selling to non-Jewish customers profoundly marked the experiences of both  Jews and those who bought from them. In this lecture Hasia Diner explores the contours of this history. She reveals how the practice of peddling changed over centuries, and what its impact has been on the great Jewish migrations out of Europe.

Hasia Diner is the Paul and Sylvia Steinberg Professor of American Jewish History and a Professor of Hebrew at New York University. Her areas of interest and research are American Jewish history, American immigration history and women’s history. She is the author of many books including Roads Taken: The Great Jewish Migrations to the New World and the Peddlers Who Forged the Way (Yale University Press, 2015).

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The Pears Institute explores the pattern of antisemitism both today and in the past. We connect research on antisemitism to the wider study of racialization and intolerance.

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