Daniel Soyer

Daniel Soyer

Professor of History
Email: [email protected]
Office: Collins B37

  • New York University, PhD in History, 1994

    New York University, MA in History, 1985

    Oberlin College, AB in Government, l979

  • Daniel Soyer’s research has focused mainly on Eastern European Jewish immigrants to the United States during the mass migration of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, on transnational Jewish politics, and on New York politics in the mid to late 20th century.

    His work has examined how Yiddish-speaking immigrants Americanized on their own terms in the context of fraternal and mutual aid societies made up of people from the same home towns; how New York City shaped the development of Jewish politics, culture, community and identity, as well as how Jews influenced the city; and the role of travel – especially to Poland, the Soviet Union and Palestine --  in Jewish political debates in the interwar period. His most recent book recounts the history of New York’s Liberal Party, a social democratic labor party based in the garment unions, and explores not only its influence, but also its eventual degeneration into what many considered a cynical patronage machine.

    In his current project, Dr. Soyer seeks to contribute to the burgeoning genre of family histories as vehicles for exploration of larger historical issues. Through the story of one family (his own), he will explore traditional Jewish life in the Russian Empire’s Pale of Settlement, migrations to the interior of Russia and cultural Russification, immigration to the United States, and cultural and political movements, including the Haskalah (Jewish Enlightenment), the rise of modern Hebrew and Yiddish literature, Zionism, Communism, social realism in the visual arts, and acculturation into an urban, liberal, cosmopolitan American identity.

    Dr. Soyer has advised or curated a variety of film and exhibition projects at the Lower East Side Tenement Museum, WNET-TV, the Museum of the City of New York, the Center for Jewish History, and elsewhere, and is a member of the academic council of the American Jewish Historical Society. He has had several moments of fame, resulting from an appearance on the television series “History Detectives,” from being quoted by Malcolm Gladwell in Outliers: The Story of Success (2008), and from being featured in the New York Times article about New Yorkers with deep roots in the city.

    From 2016 through 2021, Dr. Soyer was co-editor of the journal American Jewish History.

  • Undergraduate Courses

    • HIST 110 – UHC: American History

    • HIST 1851 – Jewish People in the Modern World

    • HIST 3806 - U.S. Immigration/Ethnicity

    • HIST 3808 - New York City Politics

    • HIST 3862 - History of New York City


    Graduate Courses

    • HIST 5725 - History of American Cities

    • HIST 6731 - U.S. Immigration and Ethnicity

  • Left in the Center: The Liberal Party of New York and the Rise and Fall of American Social Democracy (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2021).

    Editor, The Jewish Metropolis: New York from the 17th to the 21st Centuries (Brookline, MA: Academic Studies Press, 2021), with introduction.

    Co-author (with Deborah Dash Moore, et al.), Jewish New York: The Remarkable Story of a City and a People (New York: New York University Press, 2017). One-volume version of City of Promises.

    Co-Editor (with Irena Klepfisz), The Stars Bear Witness: The Jewish Labor Bund, 1897-2017 (New York: YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, 2017).

    Co-author (with Annie Polland), The Emerging Metropolis: New York Jews in the Age of Immigration, 1840-1920 (volume 2, City of Promises, New York: New York University Press, 2012).

    • Everett Family Foundation Jewish Book of the Year, National Jewish Book Award (City of Promises)
    • Choice Outstanding Academic Title – Top 25 (City of Promises)
    • Finalist, JDC-Herbert Katzki Award for Writing Based on Archival Research, National Jewish Book Award (Emerging Metropolis)
    • 100 Best Non-Fiction Book List, Kirkus Reviews (City of Promises)

    Co-editor and co-translator (with Jocelyn Cohen), My Future Is in America: Autobiographies of East European Jewish Immigrants (New York: New York University Press, 2006; paperback, 2008), with introduction and annotations.

    Editor, A Coat of Many Colors: Immigration, Globalism, and Reform in the New York City Garment Industry (New York: Fordham University Press, 2005), with introduction.

    Contributing editor and translator (with Nancy Green, et al.), Jewish Workers in the Modern Diaspora, Nancy Green, et al., eds. (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998). 

    Jewish Immigrant Associations and American Identity in New York, 1880-1939. (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1997; paperback: Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 2001).

    • Co-winner, Saul Viener Book Prize of the American Jewish Historical Society for best book in American Jewish history in previous two years.
    • Thomas J. Wilson Prize of Harvard University Press for best first-book
      manuscript accepted in 1995.

    In addition to chapters in a number of edited volumes, Daniel Soyer has also published articles in such journals as Labor HistoryJournal of American Ethnic HistoryReligion and American CultureAmerican Jewish HistoryJewish Social StudiesNew York History, and American Communist History.

  • Daniel Soyer's Curriculum Vitae