Hilary Falb Kalisman headshot
Director of Graduate Studies for the Program in Jewish Studies
Jewish Studies • History

 Office: Hellems 356

Access Hilary Kalisman's CV here


Assistant Professor of History and Endowed Professor of Israel/Palestine Studies in the Program in Jewish Studies


Areas of research related to Jewish Studies:

History of Israel/Palestine, standardized testing in Israel and the Middle East, education and childhood in Mandate Palestine, religion and education in Israel.

About Prof. Kalisman:

Hilary Falb Kalisman holds a B.A. from Brown University and a Ph.D. from the University of California Berkeley. Her research interests include education, colonialism, state and nation building in Israel/Palestine as well as in the broader Middle East. Her first book, Teachers as State-Builders: Education and the Making of the Modern Middle East uses a collective biography of thousands of public school teachers across Israel/Palestine, Iraq and Transjordan/Jordan to trace how the arc of teachers’ professionalization correlated with their political activity, while rearranging correspondence between nations, nationalism, and governments across the region.

Her research has been supported by the American Council of Learned Societies, the National Academy of Education, the American Academic Institute in Iraq as well as the International Institute of Education, among other organizations. She has recently begun a new project analyzing the history of standardized testing in Israel, Palestine, Jordan, and Iraq. During the 2019-2020 academic year, she was a non-resident fellow at the Middle East Initiative, part of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard Kennedy School.

Her teaching comprises Jewish and Middle Eastern History, with specializations in the history of Israel/Palestine, the history of education, transnational history as well as the history of childhood.

Recent Publications:

Teachers as State-builders: Educators and the Making of the Modern Middle East Princeton University Press, September, 2022.

““A World of Tomorrow”: Diaspora Intellectuals and Liberal Thought in the 1950s,” Journal of Palestine Studies, 50:2, 2021.

The next generation of cultivators”: teaching agriculture in Iraq, Palestine and Transjordan (1920-1960)". Histoire De L'éducationno. 148, 2019.  

"Education Policy in Iraq: Competing Visions of the State." in Benjamin Iskahan, Shamiran Mako and Fadi Dawood (eds.), State and Society in Iraq: Citizenship under Occupation, Dictatorship and Democratization, London, I.B. Tauris, 2017. 

"The Little Persian Agent in Palestine: Husayn Ruhi, British Intelligence, and World War I," The Jerusalem Quarterly, Issue 66, September 2016