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Rachel Cilia Werdmolder

2nd Year Ph.D. Student

Rachel Cilia Werdmolder

Educational Background

  • BA (Hons) Classical Hebrew, University of Malta, 2013
  • MSt in Jewish Studies, University of Oxford, 2015


Prior to joining Cornell University's Department of Near Eastern Studies as a PhD student, I was Junior Curator of the Bibliotheca Rosenthaliana at the University of Amsterdam. It was during an internship there in 2013 that I developed a strong interest in Jewish book history and the materiality of books. I continued to cultivate this interest during my Master's degree, and especially upon returning to the Bibliotheca Rosenthaliana as Junior Curator. While Junior Curator, I had the opportunity to study the history and methods of book production, palaeography, and the effects of migration on the transfer of knowledge, skills, and techniques. Through cataloguing pre-1800 materials in the collection, I became familiar with the breadth of printed matter and its many genres and formats. I was also fortunate enough to be able to dedicate some time to research, and on occasion present it. 

My Bachelor's dissertation was on the use of the 'other' in identity construction, and I continue to be interested in identity construction, minority-majority relations, relative access to wealth and power, and nowadays also how this affects Jewish communities and their book cultures. 


  • Near Eastern Studies


  • Jewish book history
  • Minority-majority relations
  • Identity construction
  • Migration and diaspora
  • Material culture