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Aviva Ben-Ur

Professor of Judaic and Near Eastern Studies

Ben-Ur headshot

(413) 577-0649

731 Herter Hall

Professor Ben-Ur is a historian specializing in Atlantic Jewish history, slavery studies, and the Ottoman diaspora. She is the author of Remnant Stones: The Jewish Cemeteries and Synagogues of Suriname: Essays (Hebrew Union College Press, 2012) and Remnant Stones: The Jewish Cemeteries of Suriname: Epitaphs (Hebrew Union College Press, 2009), both co-authored with Rachel Frankel, and Sephardic Jews in America: A Diasporic History (New York University Press, 2009). 


Her latest book is Jewish Autonomy in a Slave Society: Suriname in the Atlantic World, 1651-1825 (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2020). 

A description can be viewed here: 

preview can be viewed here:


Her current project, funded by the Marion and Jasper Whiting Foundation Fellowship, focuses on the ordeal of citizenship in Western Europe as experienced by thousands of Ottoman Jews, Christians, and Muslims during the first half of the twentieth century.


Her articles have appeared in the following journals: Journal of Global Slavery; Immigrants and Minorities; New West India Guide; Jewish Quarterly Review; Jewish Social Studies; American Jewish History; American Jewish Archives; Jewish History; and Studies in Bibliography and Booklore. Many of these publications can be found at:


Professor Ben-Ur holds adjunct appointments in the Department of History and in the Programs in Spanish and Portuguese and Comparative Literature.



Awards and Accolades

  • Marion and Jasper Whiting Foundation Fellowship
  • Leiden University, Institute for History
  • Koninklijke Nederlandse Akademie van Wetenschappen
  • Leids Universiteits Fonds (Leiden University Fund)
  • N.W. Posthumus Institute
  • Koninklijk Instituut voor Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde [Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies Research]
  • Netherlands Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities and Social Sciences
  • U.S. Fulbright Scholar Program
  • National Endowment for the Humanities
  • American Council of Learned Societies/SSRC/NEH
  • Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture
  • John Carter Brown Library, Brown University


Courses Recently Taught

  • Mediterranean Mosaic
  • The Jewish Experience in the Atlantic World
  • The Jewish Experience II: Medieval to Modern Times
  • Sustainability in Comparative Religious Perspective
  • Jews in Greco-Roman Antiquity
  • American Diversity
  • American Jewish Diversity
  • Slavery in Comparative Religious Perspective
  • Jewish History Through Biography
  • Jewish Utopia/Dystopia
  • Jews, Christians and Muslims in the Medieval World
  • Sephardic Literatures and Cultures of the Spanish Diaspora
  • Jewish Travelers and Travel Liars
  • The Jewish Experience in America
  • Jewish Food in Historical Perspective