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Jonathan Karp

Jonathan Karp

Associate Professor
Ph.D., Columbia University
Jewish cultural and economic history; Jewish-Christian relations
Office:  LT 1411
Phone: (607) 777-3263   E-mail:

My scholarly interests center on the roles that Jews have played as both economic and cultural middlemen, that is to say, as transmitters, translators, interpreters and entrepreneurs in the realms of commerce and culture. I address the basic question of how, in recent centuries, Jews have adapted to the modernizing circumstances of capitalism and how they perceived themselves and were perceived by others as economic actors.

Along these lines, my monograph, The Politics of Jewish Commerce (Cambridge University Press, 2008), examines shifting ideological constructions of the Jews as commercial agents in the literature of European political economy from the middle of the seventeenth to the middle of the nineteenth centuries. My next book, entitled Chosen Surrogates: A Class and Cultural Analysis of Black-Jewish Relations, analyzes the ethnic and cultural dimensions of Jewish middleman functionality in twentieth-century urban America and focuses on, inter alia, the place of Jews and African Americans in the business and art of twentieth-century popular music.

Recent undergraduate and graduate courses:


Books and Book Manuscripts:

Selected Articles, Book Chapters, and Reviews Essays:

(a number of the articles below can be viewed at

Selected Articles in Magazines and Newspapers

In the Media:

Selected Interviews, Profiles, and Public Programs

Related Professional Experience:

Executive Director, American Jewish Historical Society, 2010-2013
Interim President, United University Professions, 2010
Interim Vice President for Academics, United University Professions, 2009-10

Fellowships and Awards

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Last Updated: 8/12/14