headshot photo of Dr. Shira Klein

Dr. Shira Klein

Associate Professor
Wilkinson College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences; Department of History
Office Location: Roosevelt Hall 134
Office Hours: T/TH 11:30a-12:30p
Phone: 714-516-4581
Tel Aviv University, Bachelor of Arts
University la Sapienza, Master of Arts
New York University, Ph.D.


Shira Klein works on modern Jewish history. Her book Italy’s Jews from Emancipation to Fascism (Cambridge University Press, 2018) was selected as finalist for the 2018 National Jewish Book Award. Her next book project will examine the encounter between Jews and Italy’s African empire, from the 1890s to World War II. Dr Klein’s areas of expertise are Italian Jewry, Jewish migration, and the Holocaust. 

Dr. Klein teaches both introductory surveys and more in-depth courses in Jewish, European, migration, and Holocaust history. She incorporates digital humanities tools in her classes, and has published on pedagogical issues.

Awards and Fellowships:
  • National Jewish Book Award Finalist
  • Barbieri Grant in Modern Italian History, Trinity College
  • Yad Hanadiv/Beracha Foundation Fellowship in Jewish Studies
  • Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture Scholarship
  • USC Shoah Foundation International Teaching Fellow
  • Pedagogical Innovation Award, Chapman University
  • Paula Hyman Mentorship Program Recipient (HUC & JTS)
  • Dean’s Dissertation Fellowship, New York University



bookItaly’s Jews from Emancipation to Fascism (Cambridge University Press, 2018). View here.

2018 National Jewish Book Award Finalist in two categories: "History" & "Writing Based on Archival Material"

Journal Articles:

  • “Challenging the Myth of Italian Jewish Assimilation,” Modern Judaism 37 (1), February 2017 76-107. View here.
  • “An Army of Housewives: Women’s Wartime Columns in Two Mainstream Israeli Newspapers,” Nashim: Jewish Women's Studies & Gender Issues, Vol. 15, Spring 2008, p. 88-107. View here.

Other Publications:

  • “Brava Gente: Debunking the Myth of Jew-Loving Italians,” podcast in Tel Aviv Review, May 2018. Listen here.

  • Podcast Interview on Italy’s Jews from Emancipation to Fascism, for New Books Network, May 2018. Listen here.

  • Multimedia Israel: New Methods of Teaching Zionism,” Podcast Interview for Tel Aviv Review, June 2016. View here.

  • "History Lessons Cast in Bronze,” Chapman Magazine, October 2015. View here.

  • “How to Use Wikipedia to Teach Jewish Studies,” AJSNews: Newsletter of the Association for Jewish Studies, May 2015. View here.

  • Interview for Ha Keillah: Turin’s Jewish Community Newsletter, March 2015 (in Italian). View here.

  • “Teaching Research Skills and German-Jewish History with DigiBaeck,” Leo Baeck Institute Newsletter, September 2013. View here.

  • Review of Elizabeth Schächter, The Jews of Italy, 1848-1915: Between Tradition and Transformation (London: Vallentine Mitchell, 2011), Journal of Jewish Identities, July 2013. View here.

  • Co-authored with A. Kuerbis and M. Armillas-Tiseyra, "Building Bridges," Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning, March-April 2011, p. 57-58. View here.

  • “Displaced Persons Act,” in Anti-Immigration in the United States: A Historical Encyclopedia, edited by Kathleen Arnold. Santa Barbara: Greenwood Press, 2011, p. 160-165. View here.


  • Hist 296: The Holocaust: Myths and Memories
  • Hist 234: 3,000 Years of Jewish History
  • Hist 358: Jewish Life from Napoleon to Hitler: France, Italy, Germany
  • Hist 357: History of Jewish Migration
  • Hist 317: On the Move! Migrations in World History
  • Hist 305: Cooking, Clothes, and Comics: History of Daily Life in Modern Europe
  • Hist 520C: Migration and War (Course in the MA War & Society Program)

Podcast Series

“Forgetting Fascism”

In this special series, Dr. Shira Klein dispels some powerful myths about the Jews of Italy. What was Jewish life like under Fascism? How did the Holocaust unfold in Italy? Uncover the story of the world’s oldest Jewish minority.
Forgetting Fascism, Part 1: The Great Betrayal
Forgetting Fascism, Part 2: The Myth of the Good Italian
Forgetting Fascism, Part 3: The Rise and Fall of Italy’s Jews