Professor David Feldman

David Feldman has been Director of the Institute since it was established in 2010. He is also a Professor of History at Birkbeck.

His current research deals with the history of Jews in Britain and with the history of antisemitism. He is especially interested in the history of ideas concerning the similarities and differences between Jews and non-Jews and how these changed over time.

In addition to his work on Jewish history, David has published extensively on the history of migration and immigration in Britain from 1600 to the present. He has written on systems of immigration control, migrants and entitlement to welfare, the long history of multiculturalism and Islamophobia.

David is actively engaged in research which addresses public policy. He led a pan-European research project exploring antisemitism in Europe. His expertise has been sought by EU and international institutions including the Organization for Security and Co-Operation in Europe (OSCE), the United Nations  and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as well as by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Antisemitism, the Antisemitism Policy Trust and the Runnymede Trust.

He provides expertise and advice on antisemitism to a wide range of political, philanthropic and cultural organisations.  His writing on the Labour Party and antisemitism has appeared in The Guardian, Financial TimesHaaretzHistory Workshop Online and The Independent. Together with Ben Gidley and Brendan McGeever his assessment and analysis of the crisis appeared in The Political Quarterly.

David Feldman is currently researching and writing a book titled The Meanings of Antisemitism. Here he traces the meanings of the term ‘antisemitism’ – how it was used in political debate and what it was understood to be – from the nineteenth century to the present. Essays emerging from this project have appeared in the American Historical Review and Zion.

In 1994 he published Englishmen and Jews: Social Relations and Political Culture, 1840-1914. In the last decade he has returned to Jewish history and his work has followed four overlapping paths. First, he has been a pioneer of the imperial turn in Jewish historiography. In that that context he has written on the Labour Party’s century-long engagement with Zionism.  Second, he has explored the place of Jews in the nineteenth century ‘culture wars’ and, in particular, the alliance of Jews and evangelical Protestants in their struggles with nineteenth-century Catholicism. Third, he has examined nineteenth century debates on the extent and nature of the Jews’ difference from non-Jews. Fourth, he addresses historical and contemporary political concerns in his research and writing on the history of boycotts and history of the concept of antisemitism.


Book Chapters

  • ‘A Retreat from Universalism: Opposing and Defining Antisemitism and Islamophobia in Britain, ca. 1990–2018’ in Scott Ury and Guy Miron (eds.) Antisemitism and the Politics of History, Brandeis University Press, 2023.
  • ‘Capitalism, Commerce and Antisemitism’ in Marc Volovici and Joanne Rosenthal (eds.) Jews, Money, Myth, Jewish Museum London and Pears Institute, 2019.
  • Boycotts from the American Revolution to BDS’ in D. Feldman (ed.) Boycotts: From the American Revolution to Israel, Palgrave Macmillan, 2019, pp. 1-19.
  • ‘Islamophobia and Antisemitism’ in O. Khan (ed.) Islamophobia Twenty Years On, Runnymede Trust, 2017.
  • ’Zionism and the British Labour Party’ in Ethan B. Katz, Lisa Moses Leff and Maud S. Mandel (eds.), Colonialism and the Jews, Indiana University Press, 2017, pp. 193-214.
  • Mutable Citizenship’ in Bridget Anderson and Vanessa Hughes (eds.), Citizenship and its Others, Palgrave Macmillan, 2015, pp. 28-35.
  • ‘Modern Blood’ in Anthony Bale and David Feldman (eds.), Blood – Reflections on What Unites and Divides Us, Shire, 2015, pp. 25-29.
  • ‘Community’ in B. Anderson and M. Keith (eds) Migration: The COMPAS Anthology, COMPAS, University of Oxford, 2014.
  • The Damascus Affair and the Debate on Ritual Murder in Early Victorian Britain‘ in S. Gilman (ed.), Judaism, Christianity and Islam: Conflict and Collaboration in the Age of Diaspora, Hong-Kong University Press, 2014, pp. 131-152.
  • ‘Afterword’ in N. Meer ed, Racialization and Religion: Race, Culture and Difference in the Study of Antisemitism and Islamophobia, Routledge, 2013.
  • ‘Settlement and the Law in the Seventeenth Century’ in A. Winter and S. King (eds.) Migration, Settlement and Belonging In Europe, 1500-1930s: Comparative Perspectives, Berghahn, 2013, pp. 36-53.
  • ‘Conservative Pluralism and the Politics of Multiculturalism’ in Nira Yuval-Davis and Philip Marfleet (eds.), Secularism, Racism and the Politics of Belonging, Runnymede Trust, 2012, pp. 10-12.
  • Why the English like Turbans: A History of Multiculturalism in One Country‘ in D. Feldman and J. Lawrence (eds.), Structures and Transformations in British History, Cambridge University Press, 2011.
  • Transformations and Structures in British Historiography‘ in D. Feldman and J. Lawrence, (eds.), Structures and Transformations in British History, Cambridge University Press, 2011 (with J. Lawrence).
  • L’émigration et l’Etat britannique, 1815-1925‘ in N. Green and F. Weil (eds.), Citoyenneté et émigration: Les politiques du depart, Editions de l’école des hautes études, Paris, 2006, pp. 159-179. Reprinted as “Emigration and the British State, 1815-1925′, in N. Green and F. Weil (eds.), Citizenship and Those who Leave: Emigration and Expatriation, University of Illinois Press, 2007 pp. 133-55 (with M. Page Baldwin).
  • Pour une histoire relationnelle du ministère du Travail en France, en Italie et an Royaume Unis dans l’entre deux guerres: the transnational, le bilatéral et l’interministériel en matière de politique migratoire‘ in A. Chatriot, O. Join-Lambert and V. Viet (eds.), Les Politiques du Travail (1906-2006), Presses Universitaire de Rennes, 2006, pp. 143-159 (with P-A Rosental and C. Douki).
  • Immigrant Integration in Western Europe: Then and Now‘, in D. Feldman, L. Lucassen and J. Oltmer, (eds.), Paths of Integration: Migrants in Western Europe (1880-2004), University of Amsterdam Press, 2006, pp. 7-23 (with L. Lucassen and J. Oltmer).
  • ‘Was the Nineteenth Century a Golden Age for Immigrants?’ in A. Fahrmeier, O. Faron and M. Weil (eds.), From Europe to North America, Berghahn Books, 2003, pp. 167-178.
  • ‘Class’ in P. Burke (ed.), History and Historians in the Twentieth Century, Oxford University Press, 2002, pp. 181-206.
  • Migration‘, in M. Daunton (ed.), The Cambridge Urban History of Britain, III, 1840-1950, Cambridge University Press, 2000, pp. 185-206.
  • Jews and the State in Britain, 1830-1930‘, in M. Brenner, R. Liedtke and D. Rechter (eds.), Two Nations: The Historical Experience of British and German Jews in Comparison, J.C.B. Mohr, Tubingen, 1999, pp. 141-161.
  • Jewish Workers in the Modern Diaspora, University of California Press, 1998, (an anthology of documents edited by Nancy Green).

Journal Articles


David Feldman contributes to teaching in the Department of History, Classics and Archaeology on BA and MA programmes and teaches the module on ‘Jews and Antisemitism in Europe since 1848’. He also convenes Birkbeck’s non-credit, short course ‘Facing Antisemitism: Politics, Culture, History‘.

He welcomes research students interested in the history of antisemitism, Jewish history, the idea of race and the practice of racialization, and the history of immigrants and ethnic minorities.



David Feldman regularly provides background briefings and comment for UK, European and international media.

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