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Department of History

Contact Information

phone: 615-322-6206
215 Benson Hall

Office Hours

By appointment


PhD Stanford University, 2008

Julia Phillips Cohen

Assistant Professor of Modern Jewish History
Assistant Professor of History

Julia Phillips Cohen is an Assistant Professor in the Program in Jewish Studies and the Department of History at Vanderbilt University. She is the author of Becoming Ottomans: Sephardi Jews and Imperial Citizenship in the Modern Era (New York: Oxford University Press, 2014), which won the 2014 National Jewish Book Award in the category of “Writing Based on Archival Material,” and (together with Sarah Abrevaya Stein) co-editor of Sephardi Lives: A Documentary History, 1700-1950(Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2014), which won the 2014 National Jewish Book Award in the category of “Sephardic Culture." She has received a number of grants to support her work, including fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Stanford Humanities Center, the Foundation for Jewish Culture, the Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture, the Institute for Turkish Studies, the American Research Institute in Turkey, and the Herbert D. Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies of the University of Pennsylvania. During 2015-2017 she will serve as a board member of the International Journal of Middle East Studies and as Sephardi/Mizrahi Division Chair of the Association of Jewish Studies.

Her articles include "Oriental by Design: Ottoman Jews, Imperial Style, and the Performance of Heritage," American Historical Review 119:2 (April 2014), "Between Civic and Islamic Ottomanism: Jewish Imperial Citizenship in the Hamidian Era," International Journal of Middle East Studies 44: 2 (May 2012), "Halal and Kosher: Jews and Muslims as Political and Economic Allies," AJS Perspectives (Spring 2012), "Sephardic Scholarly Worlds: Toward a Novel Geography of Modern Jewish History," Jewish Quarterly Review 100:3 (Summer 2010) (with Sarah Abrevaya Stein), and “Conceptions rivales du patriotism ottoman : les célébrations juives de 1892" in Esther Benbassa, ed. Itinéraires Sépharades (Paris: Presses de l’Université Paris-Sorbonne, 2010).

Cohen received her BA in Spanish and History from the University of California, Davis, and pursued her PhD in Modern Jewish History at Stanford University. Her teaching interests include a variety of topics in modern Jewish history, the comparative urban histories of Europe and the Middle East, Jewish-Muslim relations and the modern Ottoman Empire.