Magnus, Shulamit S. 1950-

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Magnus, Shulamit S. 1950-

PERSONAL: Born 1950. Education: Barnard College, B.A., 1972; Columbia University, M.Phil., 1977; Columbia University, Ph.D., 1988.

ADDRESSES: Office—Department of History, Oberlin College, Rice Hall 316, 10 N. Professor St., Oberlin, OH 44074-1095. E-mail[email protected] edu.

CAREER: Historian, educator, and writer. Columbia University, New York, NY, reader in history, 1974-75, lecturer on the Holocaust, 1979-1980; Reconstruction-ist Rabbinical College, director of modern Jewish civilization program, 1982-1991; Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA, acting assistant professor of history, 1991-94, affiliated scholar at the Institute for Research on Women and Gender, 1994-98; Oberlin College, Oberlin, OH, associate professor of history and Jewish studies, 1998—, chair and director of Jewish studies program, 2001-2006.

AWARDS, HONORS: Fellowships from Columbia University, 1972-76, 1978-81, Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture, 1976, National Foundation for Jewish Culture, 1978-79, 1980-81, Yad Hanadiv and Barecha Foundation, 1988-89, and Community Foundation of Santa Clara, 1994-95; Legacy Grant for historical research on Jewish women, 1994-95; National Endowment for the Humanities translation grant, 1995-97.


Jewish Emancipation in a German City: Cologne, 1798-1871, Stanford University Press (Stanford, CA), 1997.

Contributor to books, including Encyclopaedia Judaica, 2006. Contributor of articles and reviews to periodicals, including Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry, Association for Jewish Studies Review, Modern Judaism, Lifecycles, Slavic Review, German History, and Response.

SIDELIGHTS: A historian specializing in Jewish studies, Shulamit S. Magnus is the author of Jewish Emancipation in a German City: Cologne, 1798-1871. In her book, the author focuses on the repeal of ancient laws discriminating against Jews in the city of Cologne. The laws, which were common throughout Europe, forbade Jews from becoming citizens. Magnus chronicles the political events and social changes that led the laws’ repeal in Cologne. For example, she examines the dynamics of the relationship among the political leaders of the city, various territorial governments, and the city of Berlin, as well as the role that the strong Jewish banking industry played in the shift toward allowing Jews to become citizens. The author segments her study into four major periods: Cologne under French rule, the city under Prussian rule, the 1840s time period of new advocacy for Jewish rights, and the subsequent new influence of Jews in the political and social environments.

“Magnus makes no claim for Cologne as representative of the emancipation process elsewhere in Germany,” wrote Canadian Journal of History contributor Lionel B. Steiman in a review of Jewish Emancipation in a German City. Steiman went on to refer to the book as “a thoroughly researched, beautifully written analysis, and an important contribution to its field.” Noting that the author’s “book is not the first major study of the Jews of Cologne,” Michael A. Meyer, writing in the Historian, added that nevertheless “Magnus has gone far beyond . . . [a previous] account for the early nineteenth century, not only utilizing new archival sources and employing quantitative analysis, but presenting a much more integrated image of the Jewish community within its non-Jewish environment.” In a review in the Journal of Social History, James M. Brophy wrote: “The great strength in this study is Magnus’s close attention to the differing forms of anti-Jewish behavior and her sharp analysis of why antisemitic attitudes changed over time. Her nuanced arguments point up the need for exacting research to understand the contingencies that both hindered and aided the goal of Jewish civic equality.”



Canadian Journal of History, December, 1997, Lionel B. Steiman, review of Jewish Emancipation in a German City: Cologne, 1798-1871, p. 464.

Historian, spring, 1999, Michael A. Meyer, review of Jewish Emancipation in a German City, p. 715.

Journal of Social History, spring, 1999, James M. Brophy, review of Jewish Emancipation in a German City, p. 747.


Oberlin Department of History Web site, (January 22, 2007), faculty profile of author.