Immigrant New York
with Rebecca Kobrin
Offered in partnership with Columbia University
Monday, November 4, 2019

In both the 1910 and 2010 Censuses, roughly 40% of New York City’s residents were foreign born. While city immigrants pose serious challenges to civic, educational, and political institutions, immigrants also rejuvenate neighborhoods, transform the labor force, and create new industries. Using the great immigrant city of New York as an example, and with the help of memoirs, literature, and digital mapping sources, this master class will consider the intersection of immigration, race, and politics in cities throughout the world.

Rebecca Kobrin, Russell and Bettina Knapp Associate Professor of American Jewish History at Columbia University, specializes in modern Jewish migration. In 2015, she was awarded Columbia’s Lenfest Distinguished Faculty Award for her outstanding teaching. She’s the author of Jewish Bialystok and Its Diaspora, which won the Jordan Schnitzer Prize; the editor of Chosen Capital: The Jewish Encounter with American Capitalism; and a coeditor of Purchasing Power: The Economics of Jewish History. Her forthcoming book, A Credit to the Nation: Jewish Immigrant Bankers and American Finance, 1870-1930, explores the legal, cultural, and communal impact of Jewish immigrant banking on American finance. Her writing has appeared in The Washington Post, CNN, The Guardian, and Bloomberg News.





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Photos by Pat Swain.


“I appreciate how we are encouraged to engage as learners for the first part of the day and teachers for the second part of the day. The opportunity to learn in an authentic way is key to being an inspired teacher!”
James Bleshman, Brooklyn International High School


Assigned readings:


Cahan, Abraham. Yekl and The Imported Bridegroom and Other Stories of the New York Ghetto, 1–162. New York: Dover Publications, 1970.
Foner, Nancy. “How Exceptional Is New York? Migration and Multiculturalism in the Empire City.” Ethnic and Racial Studies 30, no. 6 (November 2007): 999–1023.
Padilla Peralta, Dan-el. Undocumented: A Dominican Boy’s Odyssey from a Homeless Shelter to the Ivy League, 191–243, 294–99. Penguin Group USA, 2016.
Yezierska, Anzia. Bread Givers, 3rd ed., 1–66, 281–297. New York: Persea Books, 2003.


Master Class Fellows