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Julia Phillips Cohen

Associate Professor of Modern Jewish History
Associate Professor of History

B.A. (University of California, Davis 2001)
Ph.D. (Stanford University 2008)


Office: Buttrick 144

Julia Phillips Cohen is an Associate 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 was awarded the 2015 Jordan Schnitzer Award in Modern Jewish History, the 2015 Barbara Jelavich Prize of the Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies, the 2014 National Jewish Book Award for Writing Based on Archival Material, and honorable mention for the 2014 Salo W. Baron Book Prize, the 2014 the National Jewish Book Award for Sephardic Culture, and the 2015 British-Kuwait Friendship Society Book Prize. Together with Sarah Abrevaya Stein, Cohen is also 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 American Research Institute in Turkey, the Herbert D. Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies of the University of Pennsylvania, the Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies, and a Vanderbilt Chancellor’s Award. Cohen has served as Sephardi/Mizrahi Division Chair of the Association for Jewish Studies, chair of the Ottoman and Turkish Studies Association’s Stanley N. Fisher Prize, and board member of the Journal of the Ottoman and Turkish Studies Association and the International Journal of Middle East Studies. From 2020 to 2021 she served as co-editor of Jewish Social Studies. She is currently a member of the editorial board of AJS Review and the advisory board of the Stanford University Press Ottoman World Series: Critical Studies in Empire, Nature, and Knowledge.

Other publications include “Global Threads: An Alternative History of Fin-de-Siècle Parisian Fashion, by Way of Constantinople, Algiers and Kyoto” forthcoming in Journal of Modern History (with Devi Mays); “Avant-Garde Textiles, Jewish Art?AJS Perspectives “The Art Issue” (Fall 2021), 84-86 (with Linsey Labson and Devi Mays);  “Jewish Studies in Times of Crisis,” Jewish Social Studies 26:1 (Fall 2020): 5-19 (with Elissa Bemporad and Ari Y. Kelman); “A Model Millet? Ottoman Jewish Citizenship at the End of Empire,” in Abigail Green and Simon Levis Sullam, eds., Jews, Liberalism, Antisemitism: A Global History (London: Palgrave, 2020), 209-231; “The East as a Career: Far Away Moses & Company in the Marketplace of Empires,” Jewish Social Studies 21:2 (Winter 2016), “Oriental by Design: Ottoman Jews, Imperial Style, and the Performance of Heritage,” American Historical Review 119:2 (April 2014), which won the 2014 Berkshire Conference of Women Historians’ Article Prize for an article in any field of history other than the history of women, gender, and/or sexuality, “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 Review100:3 (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.


Jewish History, History of the Ottoman Empire, Urban History, Inter-Communal Relations in the Modern Mediterranean, Judeo-Spanish (Sephardi) History, Jews in Islamic Lands


Cover for Becoming Ottomans cover for Sephardi Lives

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