Alon Confino

Alon Confino

Professor (1992)

On Leave: Spring 2016

Office Hours: office hours by appt.

Office: Nau 484

Phone: (434) 924-6412

Email: confino (at)

Fields & Specialties

Modern Germany, Holocaust, and Europe; historical method and narrative; memory and cultural history; transnational history of forced migration in the modern world, with an emphasis on the 1940s and in particular on Palestine/Israel


Ph.D. History, University of California, Berkeley, 1992
M.A. History, University of California, Berkeley, 1986
B.A. History, Tel Aviv University, 1985


I grew up in Jerusalem and educated at Tel Aviv University and UC Berkeley. I am broadly interested in the theory and practice of writing history displayed in particular in the topics of memory, culture, and nationhood. My work has often taken modern German history as a point of departure, yet has consistently cast its net wider. As a historian, I have sought to reach in my work the edges of the historical discipline, those areas of research and theory where the historical method meets ethnography, literature, anthropology, and cultural studies. In my writing over the years, I have sought to craft a narrative weaving together story telling with critical analysis. But in recent years I have been particularly interested in probing into different possibilities of historical narration. I am the author of The Nation As a Local Metaphor: Württemberg, Imperial Germany, and National Memory, 1871-1918 (1997) and Germany As a Culture of Remembrance: Promises and Limits of Writing History (2006). In the last few years I worked on the Holocaust and the result is Foundational Pasts: The Holocaust As Historical Understanding (Cambridge University Press, New York, 2012) and A World Without Jews: The Nazi Imagination from Persecution to Genocide (Yale UP, 2014)It explores the German sensibilities in the Third Reich that underlie the persecution and extermination of the Jews, making them conceivable and imaginable; the project was awarded a 2011 Guggenheim Fellowship. I am now working on forced migrations in the 1940s in Central and Eastern Europe, India/Pakistan, and Palestine/Israel, focusing on issues of local history, memory, and human rights. My focus is a book project on 1948 in Palestine that crafts two narratives: one is based on the experience of Arabs, Jews, and British based on letters, diaries, and oral history, and the second is placing 1948 within global perspective of decolonization, forced migrations, and partitions. Since 2013 I am also a professor of history at Ben-Gurion University in Israel, where I teach the spring semester. I am the recipient, among others, of grants from the Fulbright, Humboldt, and Lady Davis Foundations, the Institute of Advanced Studies at the Hebrew University, the Social Science Research Council, the Israel Academy of Sciences, and the Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies at the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington.

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Corcoran Department of History
University of Virginia
Nau Hall - South Lawn
Charlottesville, VA 22904

tel: (434) 924-7147; fax: (434) 924-7891
office: M-F 8 am to 4:30 pm
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