A scholar on Jewish history will speak at Fairfield University on Thursday, Feb. 16, about the role peddlers played in the great Jewish migrations of the modern period.

The presentation by Hasia Diner, a professor at New York University, is free and open to the public, and starts at 7:30 p.m. in the Dolan Schools of Business dining room. Space is limited, and the university suggested reservations.

"Peddlers, itinerant merchandisers selling from packs on their backs and then from animal-driven carts, did nothing less than help facilitate the Jewish exodus from Europe and the Ottoman Empire," Diner said in a Fairfield University news release. "(They accomplished this) over a period of time stretching from late 18th until the early 20th (century), covering the British Isles, North, Central and South America as well as Australia and southern Africa."

Diner's appearance is sponsored by Fairfield University's Carl and Dorothy Bennett Center for Judaic Studies.

Recipient of a 2011 Guggenheim Fellowship, Diner is an expert in American Jewish history, American immigration history and women's history. She is director of the Goldstein-Goren Center for American Jewish History at NYU, according to the news release.

Diner's most recent book -- "We Remember with Reverence and Love: American Jews and the Myth of Silence after the Holocaust, 1945 -- 1962" (New York: New York University Press, 2009) -- won the National Jewish Book Award and the Saul Viener Prize of the American Jewish Historical Society.

To make a reservation, call the Bennett Center for Judaic Studies at 203-254-4000, Ext. 2066.