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 Jewish 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, particularly 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 debates on the Jewish Question. 

Before coming to Columbia, Aleksandra received her 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 a monograph in the Polish language on the trafficking scare in the Polish lands, published by Warsaw University Academic Presses and shortlisted for the best Polish-language book in Jewish Studies in 2020. 

Aleksandra’s research has been supported by various institutions, including the Center for Jewish History in New York, YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, American Academy for Jewish Research, Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture, the Israeli Council for Higher Education, American Jewish Historical Society, and Polish Academy of Sciences.


At Columbia, Aleksandra served as a Teaching Assistant for various undergraduate courses, including the History of the State of Israel, from 1948 to Today (Prof. Michael Stanislawski); Medieval Jewish Cultures (Prof. Elisheva Carlebach); and Latin America: Migration, Race, and Ethnicity (Prof. Jose Moya). 

In 2021, she taught three courses of her design at Max Weinreich Center, YIVO Institute for Jewish Research: Eastern Europe: A Portable Jewish Homeland and Eastern European Jewish Women in An Age of Transition, 1870-939. 

She completed an Advance Track of Teaching Development Program at the Center for Teaching and Learning at Columbia University. In AY 2020-21, Aleksandra organized pedagogy workshops and created teaching resources for the History Department as a Lead Teaching Fellow. In AY 2021-2022, she was a Teaching Assessment Fellow, advising Columbia’s faculty on how to improve their teaching practices.