Lois Dubin

Dubin headshot
Born in Montreal, Quebec, Canada in 1952, Lois C. Dubin is a scholar of modern Jewish history and thought and Professor Emerita of Religion at Smith College, Northampton, MA. She earned a B.A. from McGill University and a M.A. and Ph.D. from Harvard University.

Dubin taught at Hebrew College and Yale University before serving on the Smith faculty from 1989 to 2023 in the Religion Department and the Jewish Studies Program. Her courses spanned Jewish history and religion, including Hebrew; world religions; food, ritual and other aspects of lived religions; and women’s history and religious politics. She held visiting research appointments at Harvard, University of Michigan, EHESS (École des hautes études en sciences sociales) in Paris, and University of Pennsylvania, and has lectured in North America, Europe, Israel, and South Africa.

Dubin has published widely on Jews and Judaism in early modern Europe, focusing on themes of citizenship, commerce and culture, religious adaptation, and civil marriage and divorce. Besides the award-winning book
The Port Jews of Habsburg Trieste: Absolutist Politics and Enlightenment Culture, she has edited issues of the journal Jewish History: “Port Jews of the Atlantic”; and “From History to Memory: The Scholarly Legacy of Yosef Hayim Yerushalmi,” which includes her article “Yosef Hayim Yerushalmi, the Royal Alliance, and Jewish Political Theory.” Her chapter “Port Jews Revisited: Commerce and Culture in the Age of European Expansion,” appeared in The Cambridge History of Judaism VII: 1500-1815 (ed. Jonathan Karp and Adam Sutcliffe). She brings Europe and Canada together in her essay “Montreal and Canada through a Wider Lens: Confessions of a Canadian-American European Jewish Historian,” in No Better Place?: Canada, Its Jews, and the Idea of Home (ed. David S. Koffman).

Dubin also writes on contemporary feminist ritual, theology, and spirituality. She has addressed spiritual responses to miscarriage and pregnancy loss, and most recently to COVID. Her essay “Prayer in a Time of Pandemic: Loneliness, Liturgy, and Virtual Community,” is forthcoming in
Emet le-Ya’akov: Facing the Truths of History: Essays in Honor of Jacob J. Schacter (ed. Zev Eleff and Shaul Seidler-Feller). Her current book project is Rachele’s Pursuits: Love, Law, and Liberty in Revolutionary Europe.

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Port Jews Habsburg Trieste eBook cover