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Bill Miles

For 35 years, North­eastern polit­ical sci­ence pro­fessor William F.S. Miles has trav­eled to sub-​​Saharan Africa, the West Indies, the Indian Ocean, and Israel to learn about Jewish cul­ture in those regions.

A pro­lific writer, Miles has penned a new book titled Afro-​​Jewish Encoun­ters, a col­lec­tion of new and revised essays about his many visits to con­duct research and field­work in Africa over that time—thrice as a Ful­bright Scholar.

“What is most unusual about the book is it begins when I was first going to Africa 35 years ago, but also brings the story up to this very year,” said Miles, who has now written more than 10 books about his expe­ri­ences. “The focus is about my expe­ri­ence with non-​​Jewish Africans.”

On Wednesday, Northeastern’s Depart­ment of African Amer­ican Studies, Jewish Studies Pro­gram, and Depart­ment of Polit­ical Sci­ence spon­sored a book launch event to mark Miles’ most recent lit­erary accomplishment.

“We’ve been crossing paths and com­mu­ni­cating, com­mis­er­ating, and col­lab­o­rating for a good while now,” Robert Hall, interim chair of the Depart­ment of African Amer­ican Studies, said about Miles, whom he co-​​taught a course with some 13 years ago.

About 40 people attended the event, including Miles’ col­leagues and family. He also wel­comed Ronit Nudelman-​​Perl, deputy consul gen­eral for the Con­sulate Gen­eral of Israel to New Eng­land. A career diplomat, Nudelman-​​Perl has served in the Israel Min­istry of For­eign Affairs for about 20 years.

She was joined by Ross Parker, Miles’ former stu­dent who grad­u­ated from North­eastern in May with a bach­elor of sci­ence in crim­inal jus­tice and a minor in polit­ical sci­ence. Parker is cur­rently the director of press and polit­ical affairs at the Israeli Consulate.

Miles, who has trav­eled to Africa more than two-​​dozen times, read two excerpts from his book on Wednesday, one about one of his first trips to Africa and another about a more recent trip.

– By Joe O’Connell

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