Jakubczak, Aleksandra

Field: Jewish History; Advisor: Kobrin; Year: 2017

Aleksandra Jakubczak is a Ph.D. candidate in the field of Jewish history. Her interests include the social and economic history of modern Jewry; migration; transnational history, gender, and sexuality; and Eastern European Jewish women’s history.

Her dissertation, “Protecting the Jewish Daughters:” The Economics of Sex Work and Mobility between the 1870s and 1939, examines how Eastern European Jewish women experienced urbanization, industrialization and mass migration. This work draws on Polish, Russian, German, French, Spanish, Hebrew, Yiddish, and English sources and looks at women’s growing entrance to the public sphere, in particular the sex industry, to investigate how mobile and financially independent Jewish women confronted and redefined modernity. She argues that these women’s experiences of industrialization, urbanization, and international mass migration are crucial for understanding the transformation of Eastern European Jewry, as the women not only actively participated in these processes, but also shaped the debate on the Jewish Question. Aleksandra also shows how Jewish discussions around these processes had important consequences for the future of Jewish family, nation, community, and identity. 

Before coming to Columbia, Aleksandra received double BA and MA degrees in Hebrew Studies and History from Warsaw University. She was also a graduate visiting student at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and a research fellow at the Institute for the History of Polish Jewry and Israel Poland Relations at Tel Aviv University. She has published several articles and, most recently, a monograph in the Polish language on the trafficking scare in the Polish lands, published by Warsaw University Academic Presses.

For academic year, 2020-2021 Aleksandra is serving as the editor of the H-Poland network and a Lead Teaching Fellow at Columbia University’s Center for Teaching and Learning.