Yohanan Petrovsky-Shtern

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Yohanan Petrovsky-Shtern
Born (1962-04-06) April 6, 1962 (age 55)
Kiev, Ukrainian SSR, Soviet Union
Nationality Ukrainian
Occupation Historian, philologist

Yohanan Petrovsky-Shtern (born April 6, 1962) is a historian, philologist and essayist, noted in particular for his studies of the institution of Cantonism, his critique of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's controversial two volume-work about Jews in Russia, Two Hundred Years Together, as well as translations of Jorge Luis Borges' works into Russian. He teaches Early Modern, Modern and East European Jewish history and Culture at Northwestern University.

He was born in Kiev in 1962 to the family of Miron Petrovsky, a noted Ukrainian philologist.[1] He studied art and music early on, and for some time sang in the Shchedryk children's choir.

He holds a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from Moscow University and a Ph.D. in Jewish history from Brandeis University. He has been a Rothschild Fellow at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, a Sensibar Visiting Professor at Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership in Chicago, a Visiting Scholar at École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, a Research Fellow at The National Endowment for the Humanities, in Poland, and a Fulbright Scholar at Kyiv Mohyla Academy in Kiev.


Among his publications are more than 50 scholarly articles and such monographs as

  • Jews in the Russian Army, 1827–1917: Drafted into Modernity (Cambridge University Press, 2009),[2]
  • The Anti-Imperial Choice: the Making of the Ukrainian Jew (Yale University Press, 2009),
  • The Golden Age Shtetl: A New History of Jewish Life in East Europe (Princeton University Press, 2014), which provided the first grassroots social, economic, and cultural history of the shtetl.
  • Jews and Ukrainians (Oxford, Littman Library of Jewish Civilization, 2014)
  • Paul Robert Magocsi / Yohanan Petrovsky-Shtern, Jews and Ukrainians: A Millennium of Co-Existence (Univ. of Toronto Press, 2016)


Petrovsky-Shtern's wife is a concert pianist Oksana Petrovsky.[3] They have two children.


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