Faculty Bio

Joshua Schreier

Professor of History

Joshua Schreier was raised in Cambridge, Massachusetts and Baltimore, Maryland. He received is BA from the University of Chicago and his MA and Ph.D. from New York University. He has also studied at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Middlebury College.

Schreier works at the intersection of Middle Eastern, Algerian, Jewish, and French histories. His research focuses on French colonialism in Algeria, and notably how several deeply-rooted North African Jewish communities responded to French imperial policy in the years before the rise of the "Imperial" (Third) Republic in 1870. He is interested in how French officials deployed the ideology of “civilization” to consolidate colonial rule, but also how local actors co-opted, reformulated, or deflected it. He has also written about how French lawmakers and legal thinkers used Jewish and Muslim religious law, and specifically those concerning the family, to deny or confer citizenship to Algerian Muslims and Jews. His recently published book is entitled "‘Arabs of the Jewish Faith:’ The Civilizing Mission in Colonial Algeria."

Professor Schreier teaches an introductory course on the modern Middle East, as well as intermediate courses on the Israel-Palestine conflict and French colonial cultures. He also offers an advanced seminar on the historiography of the modern Middle East. Schreier calls Swift Hall home, but also participates in Vassar’s Jewish Studies program and often serves as a thesis adviser for students in the International Studies program. In addition to a number of conferences and workshops, he has been invited to present his scholarship at Swarthmore College, Colby College, the University of Washington, UCLA, and Yale University.