The Annual Lipman Lecture in Jewish Studies

Endowed by the Lipman Family, this distinguished lecture has attracted a variety of important speakers to Colby since 1979, including Nobel Prize winner Elie Wiesel (1986) and renowned author Chaim Potok (1989).

Masha Gessen: “Where the Jews Aren’t: The Sad and Absurd Story of Birobidzhan, Russia’s Jewish Autonomous Region”

The 2018-19 annual Lipman Lecture in Jewish Studies

October 18, 2018 / 7:00 pm / Ostrove Auditorium (Diamond Building)

Masha Gessen is the author of the National Book Award-winning The Future is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia as well as The Man Without a Face: The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin, The Brothers: The Road to an American Tragedy. The book that shares its title with this lecture reveals the complex, strange, and heart-wrenching account of the dream of Birobidzhan—and the true history of Jewish people in twentieth-century Russia. Gessen, a staff writer at The New Yorker who teaches at Amherst College, is the recipient of numerous awards, including a Guggenheim Fellowship and a Carnegie Fellowship.

Prior Lipman Lecturers

2017-18 — Anthony Wexler, “Israel and the New American Jewish Novel”

2016-17 — Nathan Englander, “What We Talk About: Writing in Uncertain Times”

2015-16 — Ori Gersht, “Seeing and Believing”

2014-15 — Gershom Gorenberg, “The Battle for History: Israeli and Palestinian Narratives in War and Peacemaking”

2012-13 — Etgar Keret, “Is Reality Overrated?”

2011-12 — Jonathan Safran Foer, “When Jews Laugh at Things That Aren’t Funny”

2010-11 — Tom Segev, “Simon Wiesenthal, Nazi Hunter: The Man who Refused to Forget”

2009-10 — David Bame, “A Faith in Peace: Current U.S. Policy Issues in the Middle East”

2008-09 — Michael Wex, “Just Say Nu: Yiddish from the Jewish Shtetl to the American Heartland”

2007-08 — Jonathan Sarna, “The Furture of the American Jew: American Judaism in the 21st Century”

2006-07 — Deborah Lipstadt, “In Every Generation They Wish to Destroy Us: Anti-Semitism and Anti-Israelism as Factors in Jewish Identity”

2005-06 — Jerry Fowler, “Creating a Constituency of Conscience: The Role of Holocaust Remembrance in Combating Contemporary Genocide”


The Jewish Studies Program is also grateful to Barry and Judith Bronstein (P’96) for endowing the Bronstein Fund for Jewish Studies and Holocaust Studies, whose funds support a variety of Jewish Studies programs.