Noam Pianko

Noam Pianko


Israel, modern Jewish thought, theories of religion in an international context.

Noam Pianko is the Samuel N. Stroum Chair of Jewish Studies and Professor in the Jackson School of International Studies. Pianko also directs the Samuel and Althea Stroum Center for Jewish Studies and serves as the Herbert and Lucy Pruzan Professor of Jewish Studies. He received his Ph.D. in Religious Studies/Judaic Studies from Yale University in 2004 and joined the Jackson School faculty as an Assistant Professor in the fall of that year.

Pianko’s research interests include modern Jewish history, Zionism, and American Judaism. His first book, Zionism and the Roads not Taken: Rawidowicz Kaplan, Kohn (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2010) uncovers the thought of three key interwar Jewish intellectuals who defined Zionism’s central mission as challenging the model of a sovereign nation-state. His second book, Peoplehood: An American Innovation (New Jersey: Rutgers University Press, 2015) traces the history of an idea that is deceptively straightforward and enduring. Peoplehood emerged at the beginning of the last century as an American-Jewish innovation calibrated to shape discussions of nationalism, Zionism, and American Jewish identity. Peoplehood’s successful integration of a nationalist paradigm into the American context created a powerful vocabulary for negotiating American Jewish identity in response to dramatic historical events of the twentieth century, such as the Holocaust and the establishment of the State of Israel. In addition, Pianko has published articles in leading journals, including the Journal of Modern Jewish Studies, Ab Imperio: Studies of New Imperial History and Nationalism in the Post-Society Space, American Jewish History, and Jewish Social studies.

As Director of the Stroum Center for Jewish Studies from 2011 to the present, Pianko has expanded UW’s Jewish Studies offerings. On campus, he has overseen the development of a model online presence, the creation of a graduate fellowship program, the implementation innovative public programs, and the emergence of the Sephardic Studies program.

Pianko serves on the Executive Board of the American Jewish Historical Society, and has been nominated for a three-year term on the American Jewish Studies board. In addition, Pianko lectures widely on topics related to Judaism, Zionism, and Technology. He has been awarded a Mellon Foundation Fellowship, a UW Technology Teaching Fellowship, a Royalty Research Award, and a Wexner Graduate Fellowship.


  • Yale University, Ph.D., 2004