Sitting in his office in Centennial Hall, Alex Tepperman talks about his upcoming book on Jewish crime. They are an assistant professor in the University of Winnipeg’s Department of Criminal Justice.
Tepperman has undergraduate, master’s, and doctoral degrees in history from the University of Toronto (U of T), the University of Rochester and the University of Florida. He completed his master’s in criminology from the U of T, as well.
“I do historical criminology, so I try to use historical methods and perspectives to understand present-day criminal justice-related concerns, so in issues related to things like race, class, gender, sexual orientation. Basically everything has this long, historical tale, so I try to use this historical tale to understand the present,” Tepperman says.
To better understand criminal justice in the present, they also completed a certificate in qualitative and multi-method research.
“I did this program at (Syracuse University) so that I could learn how to do ethnographic work, which means working within certain populations so that I can better understand (the) mindsets and perspectives of people unlike myself,” they say.
Tepperman is Jewish, and he says it’s helpful to study communities that you’re part of.
Still, they note important differences between themself and the people they will study. “Frankly, there’s going to be an unspoken divide between me and people in Brooklyn, because I’m not from Brooklyn, I’m not Orthodox ... So they won’t see me as ‘properly’ Jewish, a lot of them,” he says.
“I’m really excited, actually. I’ve been interested in areas related to Jews and Jewish crime for a while,” Tepperman says. “In about a month, I’m going to stay in Brooklyn for three weeks and then Pittsburgh for a week in the Jewish areas there.”
What is something you’ve learned from your students?
“I’ve learned everything from my students!”
What do you do in your spare time?
“I’m a dad of three dogs, and (I do) CrossFit with my wife.”
What do you like most about Winnipeg?
“I like its oddness ... The worst thing a place can be is boring, and I do not find Winnipeg boring at all.”
Published in Volume 77, Number 22 of The Uniter (March 16, 2023)