David Meola

About David

David Meola is U.S. Fullbright Scholar.


My life has meandered through several careers to this point: at first an investment banker, then a corporate manager at a language company, and then teaching English in Germany. Throughout that time, I always kept an eye toward being a historian. Well, I’ve since ascended that mountain and have been a professor of history for the past nine years. I have enjoyed the journey, and the best part about it has been being able to (generally) share it with my spouse and children. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to share my Goettingen experience (as a J. William Fulbright Scholar) with them; I hope to bring them all to Germany some time soon. It has been far too long.

For the longest time, I have had this curiosity about my family’s journey. Only recently, through the good work that my sister has done on Ancestry and in the US National Archives, have I been able to piece together more of the story – it is still not complete. Nonetheless, my family’s interesting past – having a “Jewish 48er” who fought in the US Civil War, immigrants to the US during the great wave from 1880-1920, and also learning more recently of relatives’ murders by the Nazis – have all and continue to inform my research and teaching. It started in asking big questions: why is my family so secular? Why did they move to the US when they did? 
From these questions, my own intellectual journey began to come into view: I became fascinated by questions about Jews’ equality and their efforts (agency) to about a change in their status. Eventually, I came across Dagmar Herzog’s Intimacy and Exclusion: Religious Politics in Pre-Revolutionary Baden (Princeton, 1996). This book certainly gave some answers, but mostly on a more abstract level – I was still interested in how Baden’s Jews advocated for their own rights and their religion in front of their local compatriots. Such an exploration became the focus of my first manuscript (forthcoming). But it also includes much more. “We will never yield” is a book about Jewish agency that looks locally and at the pan-German level. It interrogates German newspapers as a lens through which to see Jewish lives as they fought for emancipation and about religious reform.

Right now, my interests have expanded beyond Jewish agency in the press and this new project looks at their involvement in the German liberal and democratic movements of the Vormaerz. That is my task when I get to Germany. But this journey has expanded to include work in the US, as many “48ers” made their way across the ocean–including my Great-Great Grandfather–and became involved in the struggles in the US over abolition/emancipation of the slaves. Another important point of emphasis in this project are the cities of Mannheim and Heidelberg in the liberal/democratic project. This is an exciting project that I am beginning – I wonder where it will take me.



“We will never yield”: Jews, the German Press, and the Fight for Inclusion during the 1840s. Bloomington: Indiana University Press (German Jewish Cultures Series, published along with the Leo Baeck Institute London), forthcoming (2023)

“Mirror of Competing Claims: Antisemitism and Citizenship in Vormärz Germany,” Antisemitism Studies 4, 1 (Spring 2020): 3-47.

A Cultural History of Genocide in the Long Nineteenth Century, edited by David A. Meola, London: Bloomsbury Academic.