Partial Transcript: "We'll start at the beginning, where were you born?"
Segment Synopsis: Vicki was born in Chicago and then grew up in Skokie, Illinois. She described Skokie as an interesting community, where there were lots of Jewish families and Holocaust survivors. Vicki talked about her parent's membership at a conservative synagogue, and her family's strong Jewish identity. Vicki discussed how she went to public school, and then Hebrew school.
Keywords: Evanston Township High School; Skokie, Illinois
Partial Transcript: "So the Holocaust, was not in those years as central to Jewish identity as it seems now"
Segment Synopsis: Vicki discussed how her mother's family was in Poland during World War II and some of them lost their lives in the Holocaust. Vicki mentioned that she also learned about the Holocaust in Hebrew school. Vicki also discussed the Holocaust museum in Skokie.
Keywords: Skokie, Illinois
Partial Transcript: "Where did you do your undergraduate work?"
Segment Synopsis: Vicki started her academic journey at the University of Wisconsin. Vicki talked about taking one of George Mosse's courses and how it had a big impact on her. She also discussed spending a year in Israel, and then finishing her degree at the University of Illinois. Vicki mentioned how George L. Mosse almost kicked her out of his class due to her sophomore standing, but she was very persistent and kept attending.
Keywords: George L. Mosse; Jewish Studies; Nancy Green
Partial Transcript: "So you're, we can go right to Columbia."
Segment Synopsis: Vicki attended Columbia for graduate school and studied Jewish history. Columbia was the first college to have a graduate program in Jewish history. Vicki discussed her colleagues, mentors, and how she had more of a secular Jewish background than her peers. She was primarily advised by Paula Hyman. Rather than having a traditional religious background, Vicki had more of a background in European history. The first generation of Jewish historians at secular universities was during the 1960's, and Vicki was part of the second generation in the 1970's.
Keywords: Columbia; Jewish Studies
Partial Transcript: "One aspect of that course that I found amazing..."
Segment Synopsis: John Tortorice felt that George L. Mosse's course was amazing because it covered the Holocaust at a time when there was not very much literature on the topic. Vicki discussed her interest in Holocaust history and how people's attitudes towards the fields of Holocaust studies and antisemitism evolved in the 1980's. Vicki and John discussed UW graduate and historian Christopher Browning and his contribution to these fields. Raul Hilberg also made a tremendous impact on the field of Holocaust studies.
Keywords: Christopher Browning; George L. Mosse; Holocaust Studies; Raul Hilberg
Partial Transcript: "So your main advisor was Paula Hyman?"
Segment Synopsis: Vicki's advisor was Paula Hyman. There were quite a few women in their program, although not all of them went into academia. Vicki described Paula as an "ardent feminist." Vicki wrote her dissertation on Jews in Alsace-Lorraine. She had a positive experience in graduate school. Columbia had ties to the Jewish Theological Seminary, YIVO, and the Leo Baeck Institute because it was located in New York City.
Keywords: Graduate School; Jewish Theological Seminary; Leo Baeck Institute; Paula Hyman
Partial Transcript: "To get back to Mosse for a bit..."
Segment Synopsis: George L. Mosse was one of Vicki's major influences, and she often used his book, "The Crisis of the German Ideology" in her courses. Vicki discussed critiques of Mosse's book, but she believed that George's focus on the broad, rather than the narrow made his research work. She quoted Mosse in her book, and commended his ideas on how religion and racism worked together. Vicki also shared Mosse's view on how even the most assimilated Jews still belong in the Jewish community. She firmly believes in not just examining Jewish sources, but looking for Jewish authors of secular works as well. Vicki described it as an all encompassing view of the Jewish identity. Vicki asked to work with George on her undergraduate honors thesis, but he declined because she did not speak German. Interestingly, a lot of George's students went on to work in French history.
Keywords: George L. Mosse; Jewish Identity; The Crisis of the German Ideology
Partial Transcript: Yes, you know we covered the field of Jewish history a bit."
Segment Synopsis: Vicki's first teaching job was at the University of Washington-Seattle. They had also wanted Steven Aschheim, who was a PhD student of Mosse's. When Aschheim went to Israel and declined their offer, they changed the position for Vicki and made it a one year appointment rather than a tenured track. Vicki ended up at Cornell. After she retired, her chair was filled by an anthropologist and there was no Jewish history professor there. Vicki does not believe the field of Jewish history is well respected in the history profession. Jewish studies was not authorized at the University of Wisconsin until the late 1980's. George taught one of the first specifically Jewish courses in 1971 at the University of Wisconsin.
Keywords: Cornell University; George L. Mosse; Jewish Studies; Steven Aschheim; University of Washington-Seattle History Department
Partial Transcript: "What would you consider your most important contribution to your field?"
Segment Synopsis: Vicki had some amazing students at Cornell. Her goal with her own work was to integrate Jewish history into the broader field of European history and she felt her work has been recognized in that way. She felt that was her most significant contribution. She thought her last book was the most encompassing.
Keywords: Cornell University; Jewish Studies