Devin Naar

Associate Professor, Program Chair Sephardic Studies; Marsha & Jay Glazer Chair in Jewish Studies
Devin Naar photo


Jews in the Ottoman Empire, Jews in Salonica, linguistic acculturation of the Jews of Thessaloniki

Devin E. Naar is the Marsha and Jay Glazer Endowed Chair in Jewish Studies, Assistant Professor of History, and Chair of the Sephardic Studies Program at the University of Washington. Born and raised in New Jersey, Dr. Naar graduated summa cum laude from Washington University in St. Louis, where he wrote an award-winning senior thesis. Following a year in Greece as a Fulbright Scholar, Dr. Naar began his PhD in History at Stanford University, where he won an award for excellence in teaching. Dr. Naar’s dissertation, “Jewish Salonica and the ‘Making of the Jerusalem of the Balkans,’ 1890-1943,” received the Elizabeth Spillman Rosenfeld Prize for best written dissertation in Stanford’s Department of History in 2011.

At the UW, Dr. Naar teaches courses linked to his areas of research, including modern Jewish history; Jewish culture from antiquity until today; Sephardic history and culture; the history and memory of the Holocaust; relations between Jews, Christians and Muslims in lands of the former Ottoman Empire; migrations from the Mediterranean world to the Americas in the twentieth century; and a graduate seminar on Jews, Cities and Empires. He also supervises MA and PhD students in fields such as modern Jewish history and culture, Sephardic Studies, and transnational studies.

As the chair of the new Sephardic Studies Program of the Stroum Center for Jewish Studies housed within the Jackson School of International Studies, Dr. Naar has begun a pilot project entitled, “Seattle Sephardic Treasures,” which seeks to collect, preserve and disseminate the rich Sephardic and Ladino historical, literary and cultural heritage. The first major Sephardic Studies Digital Library and Archive–an online Sephardic Museum–is in the works based on the more than 700 artifacts, books and letters collected so far from residents of the Seattle area. In addition to the digital initiative, the Sephardic Studies Program also hosts a wide range of student, scholarly and public programs that each draw hundreds of participants. The Sephardic Studies Program has already received extensive local, national and international media attention.

In recognition of the contributions he has already made to the study of Sephardic history, Dr. Naar was recently elected to the Academic Advisory Council of the Center for Jewish History in New York. He is the only assistant professor to receive this prestigious post, where he will represent the American Sephardic Federation. Dr. Naar was also elected to the Academic Council of the American Jewish Historical Society.

He conducts research in Ladino (Judeo-Spanish/Judezmo), Greek, Hebrew and French.



  • Stanford University, Ph.D., 2011