Congratulations to Dr. Shira Klein (History) and Dr. Nora Rivera (English), who each recently received highly competitive awards funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH).

Dr. Shira Klein, Associate Professor of History, was awarded an NEH Summer Stipend for work on her book, Jews and Race in the Italian Colonization of Africa, 1890–1945. The Summer Stipends program aims to stimulate new research in the humanities and its publication through continuous, full-time work on a humanities project for two consecutive months. During the grant period, Dr. Klein will conduct research and write one chapter in a five-chapter book.

Dr. Shira Klein


“The NEH grant will provide me with resources to work on my second book, in particular, to procure archival documents and hire a translator to translate them from Italian to English. This will enable me to spend less time deciphering illegible handwriting in archaic Italian and more time harnessing evidence to build up my argument. Additionally, this grant infuses me with encouragement and confidence about my work.”  said Dr. Klein.


Jews and Race examines the causes, nature, and consequences of Italian Jews’ support for imperialism. Klein argues that between the 1890s and 1930s, Italian Jews took an active part in racializing and controlling indigenous Libyan and Ethiopian Jews. Moreover, by promoting the empire and upholding a racial hierarchy between Europeans and Africans, Italian Jews unwittingly contributed to their own downfall, since Italy’s antisemitic campaign (1938-1945) borrowed heavily from earlier anti-black legislation and propaganda. This book is the first scholarly account of Italian Jews’ encounter with empire, the first to critically analyze a range of voices using multiple archives and languages. 

Dr. Nora Rivera

Dr. Nora Rivera, Assistant Professor of English, was selected to participate in the NEH Worlds in Collision: Nahua and Spanish Pictorial Histories and Annals in 16th-Century Mexico Summer Institute at Adelphi University. NEH-funded institutes are professional development programs that convene higher education faculty from across the nation to deepen and enrich their understanding of significant topics in the humanities and enrich their capacity for effective scholarship and teaching.

“Being selected as a Summer Scholar for the NEH Worlds in Collision Summer Institute is a great opportunity to expand my research on rhetoric and composition histories. During this three-week program, I’ll be part of an interdisciplinary group that will examine newly accessible 16th-century Nahua pictorial archives. Working on this project will help me continue my work on tracing how ancient Mesoamerican writing influences Latinx and Indigenous composition practices today,” said Dr. Rivera.

Worlds in Collision is a three-week summer institute for higher education faculty to participate in a program exploring newly accessible archives of 16th-century Spanish and Nahua textual and pictorial documents. These give expression to the new existential realities created by the Spanish incursions into the Valley of Mexico in 1519-1521, the overthrow of the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan, and the founding of Spanish colonial Mexico City. Institute participants will study crucial secondary studies, plus a variety of primary documents, such as pictorial histories in the form of scrolls, codices, lienzos (linens), and maps.