Kishinev’s 1903 pogrom was the first instance when an event in Russian Jewish life received wide hearing. The riot, leaving 49 dead in an obscure border town, dominated headlines of much of the western press for weeks; it intruded upon US- Russian relations, and made an imprint on an astonishing array of institutions: the nascent Jewish army in Palestine, the NAACP and, most likely, the first version of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. How was it that this particular incident – devastating, to be sure – came to define so much, and for so long?

About the Speaker: Steven J. Zipperstein, Daniel E. Koshland Professor in Jewish Culture and History at Stanford University, is the author of and editor of eight books including Elusive Prophet: Ahad Ha’am and the Origins of Zionism and, most recently, Rosenfeld’s Lives: Fame, Oblivion, and the Furies of Writing. He is Chair of the Academic Council of the Center for Jewish History in New York, and is currently writing a cultural history of Russian Jewry at the turn of the 20th century. He earned his PhD in Russian and Jewish History at UCLA in 1980, and taught here from 1987 to 1991 when he left for Stanford.