Daniella Farah

Picture of Daniella Farah
Adjunct Assistant Professor, History and Jewish Studies
School of Humanities
Ph.D., Stanford University, 2021, History
University of California, Irvine
300K Krieger Hall
Mail Code: 3275
Irvine, CA 92697
Research Interests
Modern Jewish history, Mizrahi and Sephardi Studies, history of education, transnational history, diaspora and migration studies
Research Abstract
I study the socio-cultural histories of the Jews of the modern Middle East and North Africa. In particular, my research focuses on Jewish-Muslim relations, national belonging, and identity formation in nineteenth and twentieth-centuries Iran and Turkey.

I am currently working on my first book manuscript, Jewish Belonging in Modern Iran: Education, the Press, and Integration, which explores how Iran’s Jews leveraged education, the press, and nationalistic sentiment to claim belonging to the nation. I focus on the years 1945 to 1981 because this was a period in which Iran’s Jews achieved significant upward mobility, integrated into their non-Jewish milieus, and expressed strong claims to an Iranian identity. Bringing together archival records and oral histories in Persian, Judeo-Persian, Hebrew, French, and English from archives across France, Israel, England, and the United States, I argue that education and the press facilitated the Jews’ integration into Iranian society by providing them with spheres in which they could interact meaningfully and frequently with non-Jews.

I am a co-author for an NEH-funded book project, Reimagining Jewish Life in the Modern Middle East, 1800-Present: Culture, Society, and History, where I am writing a chapter on the migrations and diasporas of the Jews of the Muslim-majority world. I am also a member of the research team for the The National Study of Sephardic and Mizrahi Jewish Americans, for which I am writing a public-facing report on the history of Jews in Iran and their migrations to the US.
Awards and Honors
- UC Davis' Program in Jewish Studies' New Directions in Jewish Studies Lectureship (2022-3)
- Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture Grant (2021-22)
- Baron New Voices in Jewish Studies Award (2021-22)
- 2021-2022 National Academy of Education (NAEd)/Spencer Dissertation Fellowship [Declined]
- 2021-2022 Association for Jewish Studies Dissertation Completion Fellowship [Declined]
- Hamid and Christina Moghadam Program in Iranian Studies, Dissertation Research Grant, Stanford University (2019-2020)
- The Academic Consortium of the Jewish Community Federation’s Jewish Studies Graduate Student Research Grant (2018)
- Taube Center for Jewish Studies, Dissertation Research Grant, Stanford University (2018)
- Excellence in First Time Teaching Award, Department of History, Stanford University (2016)
- American Research Institute in Turkey (ARIT) Summer Fellowship for Intensive Advanced Turkish Language Study at Bogaziçi University, Istanbul (2015)
- Critical Languages Scholarship Program for Persian Language Study in Dushanbe (2013)
Short Biography
Dr. Daniella Farah joins the UCI Department of History from Rice University, where she served as the 2021-2023 Samuel W. and Goldye Marian Spain Postdoctoral Fellow in Jewish Studies. As an Iranian-American Jewish woman, she aims to give voice to the diverse experiences of Middle Eastern Jews. In addition to her research endeavors, she is a passionate, award-winning educator with significant teaching experience.
Book Manuscript in Progress:
Jewish Belonging in Modern Iran: Education, the Press, and Integration (under advance contract with University of Pennsylvania Press)
Journal Articles:
“Jews and Education in 1970s’ Iran: The ‘Threat of Assimilation’ and Changing Educational Trends,” Jewish Social Studies (forthcoming in Fall 2023)

“‘The school is the link between the Jewish community and the surrounding milieu’: education and the Jews of Iran from the mid-1940s to the late 1960s.” Middle Eastern Studies 57, no. 5 (March 2021): 793-809, DOI: 10.1080/00263206.2021.1892646.

Co-authored Monographs:
Reimagining Jewish Life in the Modern Middle East, 1800-Present: Culture, Society, and History (In progress)

Other Publications:
“Integrating Mizrahi and Sephardi Voices into Jewish Studies Curricula,” Branches: News From the Program in Jewish Studies at Rice University 21 (Spring, 2022): 3.
Last updated