Ko, Nancy

Field: Middle East; Advisor: Khalidi and Kobrin; Year: 2019

Nancy Ko is a scholar of race, capital, and migration working at the intersection of Jewish and Middle East Studies. A PhD student in the Department of History at Columbia University and a current recipient of the Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans, Nancy is interested in the social life of concepts, especially histories of (theories of) settler colonialism and moral sentiment. Her present work traces the consequences of the emergence of Sephardic identity politics in the global Middle East.

Prior to beginning her studies at Columbia, Nancy received an MPhil at the University of Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar and a B.A. from Harvard University, where she was a Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellow, an undergraduate fellow at the Safra Center for Ethics, and a founding organizer of the Open Hillel movement. She now teaches topics in History and Ethics at Columbia and Harvard, and is a 2021-22 Public Humanities Fellow at the Heyman Center, where she corresponds on the ZIP Code Memory Project. In the 2020-21 academic year, she served as co-president of the Graduate History Association.

Nancy is the daughter of immigrants from Jeju Island and can be spotted (though never often enough) at the family bodega in South Brooklyn. She knits and runs marathons when she can. Hear her in conversation with recent authors in History, Critical Theory, and Jewish and Middle East Studies over at the New Books Network.