Ph.D., Columbia University
Jewish cultural and economic history; Jewish-Christian relations
Office: FA 345B
Phone: (607) 777-4569 E-mail: email@example.com
My scholarly interests center upon the roles that Jews have played as both economic and cultural middlemen, that is to say, as transmitters, translators and interpreters of commerce and culture. Here I seek to address the basic question of how, in recent centuries, the modernizing circumstances of capitalism came to influence economic perceptions held by and about Jews. 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. I am also currently completing a book that analyzes the ethnic and cultural dimensions of Jewish middleman functionality within the historical setting of twentieth-century urban America. Tentatively entitled The Rise and Demise of the Black-Jewish Alliance: A Class-Cultural Analysis, this work treats relations between American Jews and African Americans, inter alia, from the standpoint of the business and art of twentieth-century popular music.
Recent or current undergraduate courses:
- Zionism and its Jewish Critics
- Christianity and Judaism in Historical Conflict
- Blacks and Jews in American Cultural History
- Religion and the Eighteenth-Century Enlightenment
- Jews in the Age of the Renaissance and the Baroque
Books and Book Manuscripts:
- The Politics of Jewish Commerce: Economic Ideology and Emancipation in Europe, 1638-1848 (Cambridge University Press, 2008).
- The Art of Being Jewish in Modern Times: Essays on Jews and Aestehtic Culture, co-edited with Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett (University of Pennsylvania Press; 2007).
- Philosemitism in History, co-edited with Adam Sutcliffe (under contract with Cambridge University Press).
- The Rise and Demise of the Black Jewish Alliance: A Class-Cultural Analysis (in progress).
Selected Articles and Book Chapters:
- "Black Capitalism, Jewish Entrepreneurship and the Business of Race Music" in Jews in American Business, edited by Murray Friedman and Nancy Isserman, (Temple University Press, forthcoming 2008).
- "Economic History and Jewish Modernity -- Ideological Versus Structural Change," Simon Dubnow Institute Yearbook, VI (2007), pp. 249-68.
- "Killing Tin Pan Alley: Bob Dylan and the (Jewish) American Songbook," Guilt and Pleasure, n. 6 (Fall, 2007), pp. 50-55.
- "The Mosaic Republic in Augustan Politics: John Toland's Reasons Naturalizing the Jews," Hebraic Political Studies, vol. 1, no. 4 (Summer, 2006), pp. 462-492.
- "Of Maestros and Minstrels: American Jewish Composers between Black Vernacular and European Art Music," in Kirshenblatt-Gimblett and Karp, eds., Modern Jewry and the Arts (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2007).
- "Performing Black-Jewish Symbiosis: The 'Hassidic Chant' of Paul Robeson," in American Jewish History, vol. 91 (2003), pp. 53-81.
- "The Aesthetic Difference: Moses Mendelssohn's Kohelet Musar and the Origins of the Berlin Haskalah," in Ross Brann and Adam Sutliffe, eds., Renewing the Past, Reconfiguring Jewish Culture (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2004), pp. 93-120.
Selected Book Reviews:
- Review essay, "Jews, Hebraism and the Reformation World," Reformation, vol. 12 (2007), pp. 177-90.
- Review of Andrea Most, Making Americans: Jews and the Broadway Musical in Journal of the American Musiciological Society, vol. 59, no. 3 (Winter 2006).
- Review of Mitchell Hart, Social Science and the Politics of Modern Jewish Identity in Jewish Quarterly Review, vol. 95, no. 4, (Fall 2005), pp. 754-755.
- Review of Shmuel Feiner, Haskalah and History: The Emergence of a Modern Jewish Historical Consciousness and New Perspectives on the Haskalah, edited by S. Feiner and David Sorkin, in Studies in Contemporary Judaism, vol. 20 (2005), pp. 373-376.
- Review of David R. Ruderman, Jewish Enlightenment in an English Key: Anglo-Jewry's Construction of Modern Jewish Thought, in Jewish Quarterly Review, vol. 94, no. 2 (Spring 2004), pp. 418-421.
- Review of Derek Penslar Shylock's Children: Economics and Jewish Identity in Modern Europe and Nora Berend, Jews, Muslims and 'Pagans' in Medieval Hungary, c. 1000-c. 1300 in The Journal of Interdisciplinary History, vol. xxxiv: 3 (Winter, 2004 ), pp. 444-446.
Recent Conference Papers and Presentations:
- “A Blessing and a Curse: The Mosaic Constitution in the Writings of Zora Neale Hurston,” conference on Political Hebraism: Jewish Sources in the History of Political Thought, The Shalem Center, Jerusalem, 12/26/06.
- “Black Anti-Communism and Black Antisemitism,” Association of Jewish Studies Annual Conference, San Diego, Ca., 12/18/06.
- “'How Profitable the Nation of the Jews Are': The Rise and Fall of Mercantile Philosemitism in Early Modern Europe,” Boston University History Department Faculty Seminar, 12/6/06
- “Jewish Music Entrepreneurs: The Business of Rock and Roll,” conference on The History of Jewish Involvement in Business and Finance, Center for Jewish History, New York, 11/15/06.
- “Blacks and Jews in the Business of Rock & Roll,” Brownstone Annual Lecture, Dartmouth College, 10/17/06.
- “Can Economic History Date the Inception of Jewish Modernity?,” conference on Reconsidering the Borderlines of Modern Jewish History , Simon Dubnow Institute, University of Leipzig, July 2006.
- “Black-Jewish Relations and the Middleman-Peasant Model,” Association of Jewish Studies Annual Conference, Washington D.C., December 2005.
- “Before the Jewish Century: Images of Backwardness and the Jews in European Political Economy,” Simon Dubnow Institute, University of Leipzig , Germany, 9/20/05.
- “Jewish Ethnics and the Spirit of Feudalism” workshop on Jewish History Confronts Economy , University of Wisconsin at Madison, 4/15/05.
- “Can a People Be a Role Model? Philosemitism in Twentieth-Century African American Thought,” Association of Jewish Studies Annual Conference, Chicago, 12/21/04.
Fellowships and Awards
- Martin Gruss Fellowship, University of Pennsylvania, 2008-2009
- Brownstone Visiting Professor of Jewish Studies, Dartmouth College, Fall 2006
- Harpur College Dean's Research Award, Spring 2004
- Fellow, Center for Judaic Studies, University of Pennsylvania, Spring 2001
- Visiting Scholar, University of Pennsylvania, Fall 2001
- Nominated 12/99, Salo and Jeanette Baron Award, Best Dissertation in Judaic Studies at Columbia University
- Faculty Research Grant, Franklin & Marshall College, 1998