Nathan A. Kurz is an Early Career Fellow at the Pears Institute for the Study of Antisemitism at University of London, Birkbeck College. I graduated from Yale University with a Ph.D in modern Jewish and international history in May 2015.
My manuscript, “‘A Sphere Above the Nations?’ The Rise and Fall of International Jewish Human Rights Politics, 1945-1975” explores the post-Holocaust engagement of Jewish organizations from the United States, France, and Britain in the politics of international human rights. Such activity was by its very nature transnational, with Jewish activists crossing national borders at will and operating in multiple national and international contexts simultaneously. My work shows that the post-Holocaust attempts of Western Jewish elites to tie the defense of Jewish rights to international human rights was much more problematic than has been previously assumed. The defining characteristic of the conflict was a clash between the universalist aspirations of Jewish human rights politics and the particularist pursuit of a strong Jewish nation-state. Paradoxically, both impulses derived from a palpable Holocaust consciousness. Drawing on sources in Hebrew, French, and English from archives in five countries, I investigate how these imperatives interacted in contexts ranging from the postwar reconstruction of East-Central Europe to the postcolonial transition in North Africa.
I was born in Palo Alto, California and received a B.A. in history from Stanford University in 2006. Before enrolling in graduate school, I worked in Washington, D.C. for two years, first with the AVODAH Jewish Service Corps program, and then with the Office of the President of the National Endowment for Democracy.
For more of Nathan’s work, please visit his Academia.edu page.