Kimberly Cheng

Contact: kac780@nyu.edu

 

Education

New York University, Graduate School of Arts and Science, New York, NY

August 2015 – Present, Ph.D. Candidate

Joint Ph.D. Program in Hebrew and Judaic Studies & History

Major Field: Modern Jewish History; Minor Field: Modern Chinese History

Advisors: Marion Kaplan, Rebecca Karl

Dissertation: “Between Empires: Central European Jewish Refugees and Chinese Residents in Wartime Shanghai, 1937-1948”

 

University of Pennsylvania, Graduate School of Education, Philadelphia, PA

June 2013 – May 2015, M.S.Ed. (May 2015)

Penn Boarding School Teaching Residency Master’s Program

Master’s Thesis: “Community Building in the Classroom”

 

Cornell University, College of Arts and Sciences, Ithaca, NY                                                 

August 2009 – May 2013, A.B., magna cum laude, with distinction in all subjects (May 2013)

Majors:  History and the College Scholar Program in Diaspora Studies

Minors:  German Studies and Jewish Studies

College Scholar Honors Thesis: “The ‘Lost’ Jews of Kaifeng”

 

Close Encounters: Shanghai´s German Jewish Refugees and Chinese, 1937 – 1948

During World War II, approximately 18,000-20,000 Central European Jewish refugees fled Nazi-occupied Europe for China. While scholarship on this historical moment has centered around questions of state policy and global aid, Cheng’s dissertation focuses on Jewish refugee life on the ground in the multi-ethnic, wartime city of Shanghai. Combining Chinese, English, German, and Hebrew sources, her project examines the range of and limitations to sites of encounter between Jewish refugees and their Chinese neighbors in daily life and public discourse. In specific, she explores the impact that the entangled web of relations between the Jewish refugees, Chinese, Japanese, Europeans, and Americans in the city had on Sino-Jewish relationships. Although Jewish refugees came to Shanghai as destitute refugees, their appearance and background afforded them more common ground at times with the city’s other white contingents, who had colonized the city since the end of the Opium Wars a century ago. Forced to carve out places for themselves within the network of overlapping colonial spheres in China, Jewish refugees found themselves neither colonizers, nor the colonized locals within this system. A third party of sorts, Jewish refugees, nonetheless, adapted to and at times, even prospered from foreign intervention in China at the expense of the city’s Chinese population. With this framework, Cheng’s dissertation ultimately sheds light on Holocaust refugee life in colonial or quasi-colonial spaces, refugees’ shifting notions of home and belonging, and the construction of foreignness, race, and anti-semitism in Shanghai more broadly. In doing so, her dissertation seeks overall to establish a link between Modern Jewish and East Asian historiography that expands the geography of the Holocaust and its effects.

 

 

Publications

Book Chapter—“American Dreams: Central European Jewish Refugees and Chinese Locals in Post-World War II Shanghai” in Shelter from the Storm? German Jews and Asians in the Shadow of the Holocaust, 1930-1950, ed. Joanne Miyang Cho, Eric Kurlander, Doug McGetchin, Forthcoming

 

Article—”State of the Field: English-Language Scholarship on WWII Central European Refugee Migration to China,” ShiYuan, Department of History, National Taiwan University, Forthcoming

 

Fellowships & Awards

J.B. and Maurice C. Shapiro Fellowship, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies, 2019 – 2020

 

Provost’s Global Research Institute Fellowship, NYU Graduate School of Arts and Science, New York University, Fall 2019

 

Breslauer, Rutman, and Anderson Research Fellowship, USC Shoah Foundation Center for Advanced Genocide Research, 2018 – 2019

 

Dean’s Student Travel Grant, NYU Graduate School of Arts and Science, New York University, Spring 2019

 

Mainzer Summer Fellowship, NYU Graduate School of Arts and Science, New York University, Summer 2018

 

New Horizons in Jewish Studies Graduate Essay Prize: Honorable Mention, The Center for Jewish Studies at the University of California, Irvine, 2018

 

American Academy for Jewish Research Graduate Student Seminar, Frankel Center for Judaic Studies at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, 2018

 

Dean’s Student Travel Grant, NYU Graduate School of Arts and Science, New York University, Fall 2017

 

Henry Mitchell MacCracken Fellowship, NYU Graduate School of Arts and Science, New York University, 2015 – 2019

 

Selected Presentations

Association for Asian Studies Annual Conference, Panel Organizer, Boston, MA, March 2020: “Anxieties of Escape: Climate, Hygiene, and Central European Jewish Refugees in WWII Shanghai”

 

134th Annual American Historical Association Meeting, New York, NY, January 2020: “Finding Europe in Asia: German-Speaking Jewish Refugees in WWII China”

 

43rd Annual German Studies Association Conference, Asian German Studies Seminar, Portland, OR, October 2019: “All Things Considered: Shanghai’s WWII German-Speaking Jewish Refugees and Objects of Material Culture”

 

In Global Transit: Forced Migration of Jews and Other Refugees (1940s-1960s), German Historical Institute West & The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life of UC Berkeley, Berkeley, CA, May 2019: “American Dreams: Jewish Refugees and Chinese Locals in Post-World War II Shanghai”

 

28th Annual Columbia Graduate Student Conference on East Asia, Columbia University, New York, NY, February 2019: “The Trial of Lam See-woh: Chinese Foreign Nationals in the Third Reich and Postwar Germany”

 

The Reception of Jews in China during World War II Research Workshop, Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum & New York University Shanghai, Shanghai, China, October 2018: “American Dreams: Jewish Refugees and Chinese Locals in Post-World War II Shanghai”

 

USC Shoah Foundation Center for Advanced Genocide Research, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, September 2018: “American Dreams: Jewish Refugees and Chinese Locals in Post-World War II Shanghai”

 

Future of Holocaust Research, CUNY Graduate Center of the City University of New York, New York, NY, April 2018: “A House Is Not a Home: Encounters between Shanghai’s German Jewish Refugee Children and their Chinese Neighbors during WWII”

 

Hearing Silences: Loyola University Chicago History Graduate Student Conference, Loyola University Chicago, Chicago, IL, November 2017: “Chinese Foreign Nationals in Hitler’s Germany”

 

Milton Academy Hong Kong Distinguished Speakers Series, Milton Academy, Milton, MA, February 2017: “Shanghai’s Jewish Refugees”

 

Public History

 Historical Consultant, “Safe Harbor: WWII Jewish Refugees in Shanghai,” The Chinese American Museum DC, Washington, DC, March 2019 – Present

 

Curation/Archive Assistant, “Leopold Zunz and Wissenschaft des Judentums,” The Center for Jewish History, New York, NY, April 2018 – June 2018

 

Documentary Archival Consultant, “Shanghai Memories,” Selfhelp Community Services, New York, NY, April 2017 – July 2017

 

Archive Education Department Intern, The History Center in Tompkins County, Ithaca, NY, March 2011 – May 2013

 

Roman Vishniac Archive Intern, Roman Vishniac Archive, International Center of Photography, New York, NY, May 2011 – August 2011

 

 

Other Employment & Volunteer Experience

 NYU Graduate School of Arts and Science Mentorship Program, New York, NY

December 2017 – August 2018, Peer Mentor

 

NYU Office of Academic and Student Affairs, New York, NY

October 2017 – August 2018, Graduate School of Arts and Science Intern in Diversity and Inclusion in Higher Education Administration

 

China International Business Magazine, Shanghai,  China                                                                                May 2010 – August 2010, Free Lance Writer