Navras Jaat Aafreedi

Assistant Professor

I teach undergraduate and postgraduate courses and supervise BA, MA and PhD research projects in Jewish History, Genocide Studies, Interfaith RelationsMinority Studies, Antisemitism Studies, and Popular Culture Studies. My courses in Jewish History and Holocaust Studies are the only such courses in Asia, excluding China and Israel. My numerous publications include a monograph Jews, Judaizing Movements and the Traditions of Israelite Descent in South Asia (New Delhi: Pragati Publications, 2016), an edited collection (with Priya Singh), Conceptualizing Mass Violence: Representations, Recollections, and Reinterpretations (London and New York: Routledge, 2021), several papers in peer-reviewed journals, chapters in edited books published by prestigious international scholarly publishing houses, such as Brill, De Gruyter, Routledge, Springer, Indiana University Press, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, Lexington, etc., and articles and op-eds in popular media, including India's leading English daily newspapers, such as The Times of India, The Pioneer, The Telegraph, etc.

I am also a Research Fellow at the Institute for the Study of Global Antisemitism and Policy (ISGAP), New York (the first Indian to be awarded this fellowship) and a Fellow of the Salzburg Global Seminar under its Holocaust Education and Genocide Prevention Program and Asia Peace Innovators Forum. I am counted among 67 ‘famous fellows’ out of its total 40 thousand fellows from 170 countries. I am a member of the ISGAP-Woolf Institute Cambridge Research Collective, a member of the Advisory Group on Addressing Antisemitism through Education, formed under the joint auspices of the Organization for Security & Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and an alumnus of Australia India Youth Dialogue (AIYD), 2014 as well. I have held visiting fellowships at the universities of Tel Aviv and Sydney, and the Woolf Institute, Cambridge, UK (I was the first recipient of the visiting fellowship awarded by the Centre for the Study of Muslim-Jewish Relations, Woolf Institute, Cambridge, UK) and been a scholar-in-residence at St. John’s College, Oxford for a summer institute on curriculum development in critical antisemitism studies under the auspices of the Institute for the Study of Global Antisemitism & Policy (ISGAP), New York. 

I focus on Indo-Judaic Studies, but my academic interests include studies of interfaith relations, mass violence, marginality, antisemitism, micro-minorities, online hate, social media, peacebuilding, and reconciliation. I have given lectures/talks/presentations in Australia, Austria, Bangladesh, Canada, India, Israel, Morocco, Switzerland, UK and USA in-person and under the auspices of the Holocaust & Genocide Centres of Johannesburg and Cape Town in South Africa, online - which have all been well received. I have been an invited delegate at the second International Conference on Cohesive Societies (ICCS), held in Singapore in September 2022 under the auspices of the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University (NTU), with the support of the Singapore Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY) and hosted by President Madam Halimah Yacob. I have also been a member of Indo-Pak Peace delegation to Israel, organised by Sharaka, an Israeli NGO, under the auspices of its program titled "Tolerance Promotion through Holocaust Education" in May 2023. 

Some of my publications have been translated into French, German, Russian, Spanish and Turkish. My latest peer-reviewed publication is a chapter titled "Hindu, Muslim, and Jewish Identities in Modern South Asia", in Empire, Religion, and Identity: Modern South Asia and the Global Circulation of Ideas, edited by Soumen Mukherjee (Leiden & Boston: Brill, 2024), pp. 207-229, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1163/9789004694330_010

Although I write primarily in English, I am the first person to make any worthwhile contributions to Jewish Studies in the Urdu language, the lingua franca of linguistically diverse South Asian Muslims. Many of my Urdu publications can be accessed here and here and my Urdu podcasts can be accessed here

I have been teaching since 2010. Prior to joining Presidency University, Kolkata in 2016, I taught at Gautam Buddha University, Greater NOIDA in the National Capital Region (NCR) of Delhi. I received my entire education, right from the primary to the tertiary level, in my hometown Lucknow. I earned the degrees of BA, MA, and PhD in History from the University of Lucknow, followed by postdoctoral stints at Tel Aviv University, Israel; the Woolf Institute, Cambridge, UK; and the University of Sydney, Australia. I wrote my doctoral thesis on "Indian Jewry and the Self-Professed 'Lost Tribes of Israel' in India".

Before the commencement of my teaching career I worked for a couple of years, 2008 to 2010, in my hometown Lucknow, as a Fellow of the Centre for Communication & Development Studies (CCDS), Pune, under its youth outreach programme called Open Space. During those two years I organized 56 events aimed at engaging the youth with society in a meaningful manner. One of the events was a Holocaust Films Retrospective, held in  2009 at five different venues, including the campuses of the two biggest universities in Lucknow, Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar University and the University of Lucknow, for a fortnight. It was the first ever retrospective of Holocaust cinema in South Asia, during which 46 films were screened. The event attracted an audience of four thousand people and was extensively covered in the local press in English, Hindi and Urdu.

I convened a couple of international multidisciplinary conferences on mass violence, at O.P. Jindal Global University, Sonipat (in collaboration with a couple of colleagues from O. P. Jindal Global University and Jawaharlal Nehru University) in 2016 and the Presidency University, Kolkata in 2017.  In my capacity as a Research Fellow of the Institute for the Study of Global Antisemitism & Policy (ISGAP), New York, I convened a couple of webinar series on antisemitism in South Asia (2021) and in East & Southeast Asia (2022; with Dr Mary J. Ainslie of Nottingham Uni. Ningbo Campus, China). 

My forthcoming publications include "Holocaust Education in South Asia: The Much Needed Response to Holocaust Denial, Trivialization, and Inversion" in International Approaches to the Holocaust, edited by Mark Celinscak & Mehnaz M. Afridi (University of Nebraska Press, 2024), “The Coexistence of Philosemitism and Antisemitism in India" in A Companion to Antisemitism in a Global Perspective, edited by William I. Brustein and Joanna B. Michlic (Wiley Blackwell, 2024), “The Role of Jews in Indian Cinema and their Portrayal in it” in Handbook on Judaism and Film, edited by Olga Gershenson (Oxford University Press, 2024), "The Departure of the Jews of Cochin to Israel: Cross Memories - How they remember versus how they are remembered", in Jews from Elsewhere: Forgotten Diasporas, Singular Jewish Identities, edited by Edith Bruder (New York: Oxford University Press, 2024), and "Antisemitism in the Religious Nationalist and Intellectual/Spiritual/Philosophical Discourses of Hindus," in Global Antisemitism: A Crisis of Modernity Revisited, edited by Charles A. Small (Brighton, MA: Academic Studies Press, 2024).

Many of my publications can be accessed here. I can be followed on Twitter @Navras_Aafreedi Videos recordings of many of my public lectures, interviews and podcasts in English, Hindi and Urdu can be accessed on my YouTube channel. The following are links to my profiles on Vidwan, ORCID, Scopus, Google Scholar, SciProfiles, Web of Science, and Linkedin

For more about me, please click here. I can be reached at Navras.His@PresiUniv.ac.in

Address

Presidency University,
86/1 College Street, Kolkata - 700073,
West Bengal, India

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Email: navras.his at presiuniv.ac.in
alternate E-mail: aafreedi at gmail.com

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