Category Archives: Recent News

Jonathan Z. S. Pollack Publishes on Jewish Life at UW-Madison

by CJS

In Wisconsin, The New Home of the Jew, Jonathan Z. S. Pollack describes the daily lives, contributions, and challenges of Jewish students, faculty, staff, and alumni at UW–Madison. The early establishment of student Zionist groups, Hillel, and fraternities and sororities at UW set examples for campuses nationwide. In the decades that followed, Madison’s Jewish faculty included a remarkable constellation of internationally renowned scholars. As Pollack shows, however, this is also a story of fluctuating reactions to the Jewish presence and recurring anti-Semitism on the part of the administration, local residents, and state government. Amid periods of acceptance and embrace, discrimination and exclusion, Jews with a stake in the University invested in their community and left a lasting imprint on UW and beyond.

The entire book is available for download – click here for the pdf.

The 2019 George L. Mosse Lectures with Tara Zahra

by CJS

Sunny Yudkoff Wins Salo Baron Prize!

by CJS



Salo Baron Prize Winner

The American Academy for Jewish Research is pleased to announce the winner of its annual Salo Baron Prize for the best first book in Jewish studies published in 2018. The prize, including a $5,000 award presented at the annual luncheon at the AJS Conference, will honor:

Sunny S. Yudkoff, Tubercular Capital: Illness and the Conditions of Modern Jewish Writing (Stanford University Press)

Situated at the intersection of Jewish Studies, Comparative Literature, and the Medical Humanities, Tubercular Capital explores the writing of Hebrew and Yiddish writers for whom the diagnosis of tuberculosis proved an artistic and material spark. It argues that Jewish literature might productively be re-examined through the lens of this disease, which paradoxically hampered and inspired afflicted writers.  Whether they wrote in Eastern Europe, Central Europe, the Middle East, or the American West, Yiddish and Hebrew writers mobilized their diagnoses, translating them into creative writing, monetary gain, and engagement with a long tradition of European, American, and Russian writing about TB.  At times, the results reverberated globally, as in the galvanizing of a trans-hemispheric campaign to help Sholem Aleichem recuperate after his tuberculosis diagnosis in 1908.  Tubercular Capital is a book of great elegance, sophistication, and creativity.  In crossing an unexpected range of texts, geographies, literary traditions, and methodological schools, it contributes to a broad array of fields.  With spell-binding writing and literary élan, Yudkoff puts an unexpected disease at the very center of the modern Jewish and literary worlds, permitting us to see both as never before.

The American Academy for Jewish Research ( is the oldest professional organization of Judaica scholars in North America.  Its membership represents the most senior figures in the field.

The Baron Prize honors the memory of the distinguished historian Salo W. Baron, a long-time president of the AAJR, who taught at Columbia University for many decades.  It is one of the signal honors that can be bestowed on a young scholar in Jewish Studies and a sign of the excellence, vitality, and creativity of the field.

Chad Goldberg’s new book selected as winner of the 2018-19 Midwest Sociological Society Distinguished Book Award

by CJS

The Midwest Sociological Society’s Book Award Committee selected Chad Goldberg’s book Modernity and the Jews in Western Social Thought as the winner of the 2018-19 Midwest Sociological Society Distinguished Book Award.

Sunny Yudkoff’s new book reviewed positively by The Los Angeles Review of Books

by CJS

The Los Angeles Review of Books recently posted this very positive review of Sunny’s book:

Doug Rosenberg awarded Brocket Book Prize for Dance Research

by CJS

Please join the Center in congratulating Doug Rosenberg on being awarded the Brocket Book Prize for Dance Research for his recent edited volume, The Oxford Handbook of Screendance Studies. The prize is awarded by the Dance Studies Association. Congratulations Doug!

For more information, see the blurb by UW’s School of Education here:

Center for Jewish Studies prominently represented in the Winter 2019 issue of the _Jewish Review of Books_

by CJS

The Mosse/Weinstein Center for Jewish Studies is prominently represented in the Winter 2019 issue of the Jewish Review of Books. The issue includes the fascinating article “Who Tried to Kill Spinoza?” by Steven Nadler as well as a thoughtful and appreciative review of Chad Goldberg’s book, Modernity and the Jews in Western Social Thought.

Check out Nadler’s article here:…/who-tried-to-kill-spinoza/

Check out the review of Goldberg’s book here:

Chad Goldberg’s book, _Modernity and the Jews in Western Social Thought_, selected as the finalist for the 2018 Jordan Schnitzer Book Prize

by CJS

Chad Goldberg’s book, _Modernity and the Jews in Western Social Thought_, was selected by the Association for Jewish Studies as the finalist for the 2018 Jordan Schnitzer Book Prize in the category of Social Science, Anthropology, and Folklore. For more information, see:

Scott Straus wins Grawemeyer Award for Ideas Improving World Order

by CJS

Political science professor, CJS faculty member, and author Scott Straus has won the 2018 University of Louisville Grawemeyer Award for Ideas Improving World Order for his 2015 book, “Making and Unmaking Nations: War, Leadership, and Genocide in Modern Africa.”

In the book, Straus, who teaches at University of Wisconsin-Madison, explains how ideas and political messages can become tipping points for genocide. His original research examines patterns and circumstances that have resulted in genocide and contrasts those with similar situations where genocide seemed likely to happen but did not. Straus contends that the “founding narratives” of national leaders can determine whether an ethnic minority is tolerated or deemed a threat to the state.

“Straus’s work alerts us to the circumstances under which genocide emerges and he identifies key points when action by national leaders, and efforts by the international community, can halt the slide into mass violence,” said Charles Ziegler, award director and a member of UofL’s department of political science.

Straus specializes in the study of genocide, political violence, human rights and African politics. He has written extensively about violence in Rwanda. His Grawemeyer Award-winning book and others have garnered high acclaim. His honors include an appointment to the United States Holocaust Memorial Council by President Barack Obama. Before starting in academia, Straus was a freelance journalist based in Nairobi, Kenya.

All 2018 Grawemeyer Award winners will be announced this week, pending formal approval by the university’s board of trustees. The University of Louisville presents the prizes annually for outstanding works in music composition, ideas improving world order, psychology and education, and gives a religion prize jointly with Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary. The 2018 winners will present free lectures about their award-winning ideas when they visit Louisville in April to accept their $100,000 prizes.

Mark L. Louden named “Alfred L. Shoemaker, J. William Frey, and Don Yoder Professor of German Linguistics”

by CJS

We would like to extend our congratulations to CJS faculty member Mark L. Louden, recently named the Alfred L. Shoemaker, J. William Frey, and Don Yoder Professor of Germanic Linguistics.

Louden earned his A.B. (1984), M.A. (1987), and Ph.D. (1988) in Germanic linguistics at Cornell University. After serving for twelve years on the faculty of the University of Texas at Austin, he joined the Department of German in 2000. Most of his research and public outreach have centered on the Pennsylvania Dutch language and the Amish and Mennonite groups that speak it. His book, Pennsylvania Dutch: The Story of an American Language (Johns Hopkins UP, 2016), is the first comprehensive history of the language in its cultural and social contexts. In addition to his work on Pennsylvania Dutch, he has published on other German-American languages as well as Yiddish. He has held guest professorships at the Universities of Giessen, Marburg, and Freiburg in Germany and is the recipient of several awards for teaching and research. Committed to the Wisconsin Idea, he delivers approximately twenty-five outreach presentations across the state each year and serves as an interpreter and cultural mediator for Amish in multiple settings.

In 1949, Alfred L. Shoemaker, J. William Frey, and Don Yoder, founded what was at that time a unique institution in American academia, the Pennsylvania Dutch Folklore Center. Devoted in equal measure to rigorous scholarship and public outreach, the PDFC under the leadership of Shoemaker, Frey, and Yoder set out to document and interpret the history, language, and culture of the people known as the Pennsylvania Dutch and to disseminate the fruits of their research among both scholarly and general audiences.