Pogroms and Race Riots

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This week’s episode is the fourth of seven events Distant Friends and Intimate Enemies: The US and Russia, the Fall 2020 Speakers Series at the University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies. If you want to see the entire schedule go to REEES’ website https://www.ucis.pitt.edu/crees

Despite their different histories and traditions, Russia and the United States share of history of ethnic and racial violence. Pogroms, race riots, ethnic cleansing, lynching, and other acts of violence have defined relations between dominant and minority ethnic and racial groups in each nation. Interestingly, the height of mass violence against Jews in Russia and African Americans in the United States occurred concurrently. To get an understanding of this shared tradition ethnic and racial violence against Jews and African Americans I turned to Steven Zipperstein and Michael Pfeifer for their insight.


Steven J. Zipperstein is the Daniel E. Koshland Professor in Jewish Culture and History at Stanford University.  He’s the author and editor of nine books including The Jews of Odessa: A Cultural History, 1794-1881 and Imagining Russian Jewry:  Memory, History, Identity.  His most recent book is Pogrom: Kishinev and the Tilt of History published by Liveright.

Michael J. Pfeifer is Professor of History at John Jay College of Criminal Justice and the CUNY Graduate Center. He has authored or edited five books on the history of American and global lynching and collective violence. His most recent book is The Roots of Rough Justice: Origins of American Lynching published by the University of Illinois Press.


Billie Holiday, “Strange Fruit,” The Very Best of Billie Holiday.