Amy Fedeski

Marc and Nancy Shrier Jefferson Fellow
B.A. University of Sheffield (2017) with Highest Honors
M.Phil. University of Cambridge (2018)
Graduate School of Arts & Sciences


Amy’s dissertation, “’What We Want To Do As Americans:’ Jewish Political Activism and United States Refugee Policy, 1965-1989,” explores the way in which shifts in Jewish Americans’ understanding of their ethnic identity and place within US politics enabled the emergence of a new approach to refugee policy from 1965 to 1989. It will argue that refugee policy activism has an important role in the history of Jewish politics during the Cold War, and equally that Jewish activism was at the heart of American immigration reform during the post-1965 era. Jewish activists’ novel approach to legislative lobbying and public advocacy, neglected by historians of both Jewish and immigration history, was in fact central to the emergence of a new refugee policy and discourse from 1965 to 1989. This new policy discourse framed refugee flows as an issue for which the United States should assume responsibility, precipitating the fundamental changes in American refugee law during this period.

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