The Sassoons’ Philanthropy: The Interaction of Politics, Business, and Charity

For the Academic Community
Wednesday, February 8, 2023
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM EST

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How did the Sassoons' philanthropy function, who were its beneficiaries, and what was the political character of their philanthropic projects? Economic historian Joseph Sassoon will zoom in on the interaction between politics, business, and charity in the making of the Sassoon dynasty.


This event is part of the series "The Public and Private Politics of Philanthropy: New Insights into the Past, Present, and Future of Giving." Intended for scholars, students, and others interested in new research in the study of Jewish philanthropy, this webinar series draws attention to the past and present of Jewish philanthropy and its intersection with the political and civic life of its time.


Joseph Sassoon

Georgetown University

Joseph Sassoon is an associate professor and al-Sabah Chair in Politics and Political Economy of the Arab World, both at Georgetown University. He is also a Senior Associate Member at St. Antony’s College, Oxford. His current research focuses on globalization in the mid-nineteenth century and analyzes how merchant families built major trading networks around the globe. He has published extensively on Iraq, its economy, and the Middle East more broadly. He has published five books; the latest is: The Sassoons: The Great Global Merchants and the Making of a Dynasty (Pantheon, 2022)

Sassoon received his DPhil in the Economic History of the Middle East from St. Antony’s College, Oxford. He has held visiting scholar or fellowship positions at Georgetown University, Oxford University, and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, DC.

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The seminar is organized by Lila Corwin Berman and Steven Weitzman as part of the Jewish Philanthropy Research Initiative hosted by the Herbert D. Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies at the University of Pennsylvania and the Feinstein Center for American Jewish History at Temple University, with sponsorship from the Lippman Kanfer Foundation for Living Torah and the Middle East Center at the University of Pennsylvania.


Image: Book Cover of The Sassoons: The Great Global Merchants and the Making of an Empire by Joseph Sassoon