Russian Jewish history, Yiddish culture, Jews and sexuality, diaspora studies, Holocaust Studies
Introduction to Jewish History: Bible to 1492 (HIST/JWST 1818), History of Yiddish Culture (HIST/JWST 4544), Modern European Jewish History (HIST 4803), Europe Between Nazism and Stalinism (HIST 4020), Global Seminar to Israel and the West Bank: Justice, Human Rights, and Democracy (JWST 4302/IAFS 3520)
Called a “pathbreaking” scholar by the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Shneer’s research focuses on 20th century European, Russian, and Jewish history and culture. His newest book, Through Soviet Jewish Eyes: Photography, War, and the Holocaust (Rutgers University Press, 2011), finalist for the National Jewish Book Award and winner of the 2013 Association for Jewish Studies Jordan Schnitzer Prize, looks at the lives and works of two dozen Soviet Jewish World War II military photographers to examine what kinds of photographs they took when they encountered evidence of Nazi genocide on the Eastern Front. In fall 2011, the traveling museum exhibit Through Soviet Jewish Eyes debuted at the CU Art Museum in Boulder, Colorado. Through Soviet Jewish Eyes was recently on display at the Holocaust Museum Houston in Texas through October 27, 2013.
His other books include Queer Jews, finalist for the Lambda Literary award, Yiddish and the Creation of Soviet Jewish Culture, finalist for the National Jewish Book Award, and New Jews: The End of the Jewish Diaspora, which has sparked discussion in publications like the Economist and The Jerusalem Post. His new project, Not On Their Last Road, examines Yiddish musical culture’s role in the clash between fascism and communism through the life and work of Lin Jaldati, a Dutch-Jewish Yiddish-singing cabaret singer, who survived the Holocaust and was the last person to see Anne Frank alive. After the war, she moved to East Germany and became the Yiddish diva of the Communist world until her death in 1988.
Shneer has recently been named editor-in-chief of East European Jewish Affairs, an interdisciplinary journal which is essential for an understanding of the position and prospects of Jews in the former Soviet Union and the countries of East-Central Europe. It deals with the issues in historical perspective and in the context of general, social, economic, political, and cultural developments in the region. The journal includes analytical, in-depth articles; review articles; archival documents; conference notes; and annotated books. Shneer took over editorship January 1, 2014.
He also recently served as the keynote speaker at the Manchester Metropolitan University’s international conference, “Jews and Modern Visual Culture.” His talk, “Her Cry Became The World’s Cry: Dmitrii Baltermants’ Grief and the Universalization of the Holocaust Through Soviet Photography,” examined the relationship between photographic aesthetics and the politics of photography’s circulation in understanding how key images of the Holocaust became universalized during the Cold War.
Shneer lectures nationally and internationally and has written for the Huffington Post, Rocky Mountain News and the Denver Post as well as publications dedicated to Jewish life and culture, including Forward, Pakntreger, Jewcy, and Nextbook. Shneer has taught or been a scholar-in-residence at the University of California campuses at Berkeley and Davis, and at the University of Illinois, the National Yiddish Book Center, the University of Wisconsin, the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, serving as the Pearl Resnick Fellow, and the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley. In addition to his editor-in-chief position for the journal East European Jewish Affairs, he currently serves on the editorial boards of the scholarly journal Journal of Jewish Identities, the Association for Jewish Studies’ magazine Perspectives, and for the book series Borderlines with Academic Studies press. He serves as consultant to numerous Jewish agencies on questions of contemporary Jewish identity, and has served on the board of directors of the Association for Jewish Studies. He has won prestigious fellowships from the Social Science Research Council, Hadassah-Brandeis Institute, the International Research and Exchange Council, and the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.
In his broader work, Shneer co-founded Jewish Mosaic, the first national Jewish LGBT organization, which merged with Keshet in 2010, and was education director of Congregation Sha’ar Zahav, the LGBT outreach synagogue of the San Francisco Bay Area from 1997 through 2001. His work with the Jewish non-profit world includes consulting with organizations around issues of integrating post-Soviet Jews into Jewish communal life, serving as co-chair of Limmud Colorado, vice-chair of Keshet, and working with Facing History and Ourselves, a global non profit dedicated to fostering a democratic, human-rights oriented education in high schools.