Joshua Schreier

Professor of History and Director of Independent Program

Joshua Schreier was raised in Cambridge, Massachusetts and Baltimore, Maryland. He received his BA from the University of Chicago, and his MA and PhD from New York University.

Schreier works at the intersection of Middle Eastern, Algerian, Jewish, and French histories. His research focuses on North African Jews in the first decades of the French occupation of Algeria, in the middle decades of the nineteenth century. He is interested in how the invasion affected local commercial networks and alliances, how the occupiers turned to local notables for help and expertise, and how pre-colonial elites continued to exercise influence under the new order.  He also looks at how the French deployed the ideology of “civilization” to consolidate colonial rule, even while local actors co-opted, reformulated, or deflected this ideology.

BA, University of Chicago; MA, PhD, New York University
At Vassar since 2002


Swift Hall
Box 597
Tues 2-3pm and Wed 10-12pm by Email Appointment,

Research and Academic Interests

North African History; Middle Eastern History; Jewish History; French History; Colonialism; Gender


AFRS 231 Algeria/France:Race, Religion & Citizenship
HIST 174 The Emergence of the Modern Middle East
HIST 231 Algeria/France:Race, Religion & Citizenship

Selected Publications

The Merchants of Oran: A Mediterranean Port at the Dawn of Empire, 1792-1856 (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2017)

Arabs of the Jewish Faith: The Civilizing Mission in Colonial Algeria (New Brunswick, NJ, and London: Rutgers University Press, September 2010).

“A Jewish Riot Against Muslims: The Polemics of History in Late Colonial Algeria,” Comparative Studies in Society and History 58:3 (2016): 746-773.

“From Mediterranean Merchant to French Civilizer: Jacob Lasry and the Economy of Conquest in Early Colonial Algeria,” International Journal of Middle East Studies 44 (November 2012), 631-649.

“The Creation of the “indigène israélite:” Merchants, Jews, and the Myth of “Civilizing” in Early Colonial Oran,” Journal of North African Studies 17:5 (November 2012), 757-772.

“Napoleon’s Long Shadow: Morality, Civilization, and Jews in France and Algeria, 1808-1870,” French Historical Studies 30:1 (Winter, 2007): 77-103

“‘They Swore upon the Tombs Never to Make Peace With Us,’ Algerian Jews and French Colonialism: 1845-1848” in Algeria & France, 1800-2000: Identity, Memory, Nostalgia, Patricia Lorcin, ed. (Syracuse, NY: Syracuse Univ. Press, 2006): 101-116.

Additional Publications

“Algerian Jews, French Colonialism, and the Question of Non-Elite History,” in AJS (Association for Jewish Studies) Perspectives,  “The People’s Issue” (Fall, 2014)

“L’élite commerçante juive et les débuts de la conquête française en Algérie : l’example de Jacob Lasry,” in Archives Juives (France) 45:2 (2012), 32-46.

“Du séfarade à l’indigène : Jacob Lasry et les négociants juifs dans l’Algérie coloniale,” in La bienvenue et l’adieu : Migrants juifs et musulmans au Maghreb, XVe – XXe siècle, vol. I: Temps et espaces. Actes du colloque d’Essaouira, “Migrations, identité et modernité au Maghreb,” 17-21 mars, 2010. Fréderic Abécassis, Karima Dirèche, et Rita Aouad, ed. (Casablanca, Morocco: Editions La Croisée des Chemins and Editions Karthala, 2011), 141-150.


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Joshua Schreier
Photo: Karl Rabe / Vassar College
Joshua Schreier
Courtesy of Joshua Schreier