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Centre for the Study of Jewish Culture, Society and Politics


Steering Committee

Dr Yulia Egorova (director)

Dr Ilan Zvi Baron (co-director)

Dr Susan Frenk

Professor Lucille Cairns


Dr Yulia Egorova, Department of Anthropology:

  • Anthropology of Judaism and Jewish communities

Dr Ilan Baron, SGIA:

  • Diaspora/Israel relations
  • The Israelization of Diaspora identity
  • Jewish political thought, especially Hannah Arendt and more generally the idea of a Diaspora political and moral philosophy

Prof Lucille Cairns, MLAC, French:

  • Twentieth-/Twenty-first-century French Jewish writing
  • Twentieth-/Twenty-first-century French Jewish culture
  • Twentieth-/Twenty-first-century Franco-Israeli relations
  • Twentieth-/Twenty-first-century French Jewish literary representations of Israel

Dr Zoë Roth, MLAC, French: Francophone Jewish writing and visual culture

  • Intersection of postcolonial studies and Jewish studies
  • Transnational approaches to Holocaust memory
  • Race, embodiment, and lived experience

Dr Noam Leshem, Geography (cultural geography of Jerusalem)

  • Political geographies and histories
  • Activism and political protest
  • Urban conflict and resilience
  • Postcolonial theory
  • Jewish political theology

Dr Mark Sandy, English

  • Post-War Twentieth-Century Jewish American literature, especially the legacies of Romanticism in the writings of Saul Bellow and Philip Roth.

Dr Michael Mack, English:

  • Modern Jewish thought from Spinoza via Mendelssohn to Hirsch, Geiger, Freud, Buber, Levinas, Rosenzweig, Derrida, Benjamin and H. Cohen

Dr Caitríona Ní Dhúill, MLAC, German:

  • German Jewish writers and thinkers of the 19th and 20th centuries
  • Philosophy of Ernst Bloch

Dr Stuart Weeks, Theology:

  • Old Testament and Hebrew

Dr Kay Schiller, History:

  • 19th and 20th-century German-Jewish history
  • Sports history, especially the history of football
  • Modern German cultural and intellectual history
  • Post-1945 Germany

Professor Clive Jones, SGIA. Professor Jones is the current chair of the European Association of Israel Studies, a board member of the Israel institute and on the editorial board of the Israel Studies Review and Middle Eastern Studies.

  • Israeli foreign and defence policy
  • Jewish Diasporas in the Arab World
  • Israel’s insurgent citizens: the ‘Hardal’ and challenges to the State’.

Professor Mikhail Epstein, MLAC, Russian (Russian Jewish culture):

  • Cultural and literary theory
  • Genres and methods of intellectual creativity
  • Literature, philosophy and religion in Russia
  • New directions in the humanities and their practical applications
  • Postmodernism and after
  • Semiotics, language evolution, and neologisms
  • Russian–Jewish culture

Dr Steve Lyon, Department of Anthropology:

  • Jewish-Muslim relations:

Dr Emma Poulton, School of Applied Social Sciences:

  • Antisemitism within the context of football
  • Jewish identity within football

Visiting Fellows:

  • Rabbi, Dr Barbara Borts. Dr Borts is a rabbi and recent PhD graduate from Durham University. Her areas of expertise are in:
    • Jewish history and culture
    • Contemporary Jewish theology
    • Women and Judaism
    • Social issues and Judaism
    • Anthropology of contemporary Jewish cultures
    • Music and religion

Honourary Fellows

Dr Bruno Chaouat (University of Minnesota)

Professor Chaouat works on 19th-21st-century French literature and thought, drawing on his interest in contemporary literary debates to explore the relationship between language, experience, and memory. his work has addressed the writer’s dispossession in the face of death and articulated theoretically the questions of testimony and experience with those of language and writing. More recently, he has reflected on French debates concerning Jews in France, the memory and the representation of the Holocaust, and the impact of the Middle-East conflict in literature and theory. He is currently finishing a book of intellectual, literary and cultural history entitled Morose Thought. This work engages with the traumatic memory of WWII and Collaboration in French thought, and ends on an analysis of the different literary and philosophical responses to what he perceives as a malaise in liberal democracy.

Professor Sander Gilman (Emory College of Arts and Sciences)

Sander L. Gilman is a distinguished professor of the Liberal Arts and Sciences as well as Professor of Psychiatry at Emory University. A cultural and literary historian, he is the author or editor of over eighty books. His Obesity: The Biography appeared with Oxford University Press in 2010; his most recent edited volume, The Third Reich Sourcebook (with Anson Rabinbach) was published with the University of California Press in 2013, He is the author of the basic study of the visual sterotyping of the mentally ill, Seeing the Insane, published by John Wiley and Sons in 1982 (reprinted: 1996) as well as the standard study of Jewish Self-Hatred, the title of his Johns Hopkins University Press monograph of 1986. For twenty-five years he was a member of the humanities and medical faculties at Cornell University where he held the Goldwin Smith Professorship of Humane Studies. For six years he held the Henry R. Luce Distinguished Service Professorship of the Liberal Arts in Human Biology at the University of Chicago and for four years was a distinguished professor of the Liberal Arts and Medicine and creator of the Humanities Laboratory at the University of Illinois at Chicago. During 1990-1991 he served as the Visiting Historical Scholar at the National Library of Medicine, Bethesda, MD; 1996-1997 as a fellow of the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, Stanford, CA; 2000-2001 as a Berlin prize fellow at the American Academy in Berlin; 2004-5 as the Weidenfeld Visiting Professor of European Comparative Literature at Oxford University; 2007 to 2012 as Professor at the Institute in the Humanities, Birbeck College; 2010 to 2013 as a Visiting Reasearch Professor at the University of Hong Kong. He has been a visiting professor at numerous universities in North America, South Africa, The United Kingdom, Germany, Israel, China, and New Zealand. He was president of the Modern Language Association in 1995. He has been awarded a Doctor of Laws (honoris causa) at the University of Toronto in 1997, elected an honorary professor of the Free University in Berlin (2000), and an honorary member of the American Psychoanalytic Association (2007). In 2001 he was a Visiting Fellow at the Insitute for Advanced Study, at Durham University.

Nitza and Robin Spiro (Spiro Ark)

Nitza and Robin Spiro are leaders in Jewish Education, and have been pioneers in this field for over 20 years. They are the founders of Spiro Ark, a London-based charitable organisation that organises Jewish cultural events and courses in Jewish History, culture and languages. Spiro Ark aims to teach and enthuse about Jewish History and Culture, both because of the intrinsic fascination of these subjects, and because of the central role of Jewish Education in maintaining a Jewish sense of identity in the 21st century. In addition to regular classes in Jewish education, and Hebrew classes, Spiro Ark also manages a unique cultural programme covering many aspects of Jewish interest spanning the liberal arts and sciences. More information about Spiro Ark can be found on their website.