Jonathan Pollack, honorary scholar

by CJS
Address: 108 Ingraham Hall, 1155 Observatory Dr., Madison, WI 53706


Ph. D in History, University of Wisconsin—Madison, 1999
M. A. in History, University of Wisconsin—Madison, 1992
A. B. in History, University of Michigan—Ann Arbor, 1990

Areas of Research

American Jewish history, specifically: the history of the Madison Jewish community and Midwestern Jewry more generally; American Jewish business history; Jews in American popular culture

Courses Taught

None at UW; survey courses in History at Madison Area Technical College (see attached CV for a complete list)

Selected Publications

“Success from Scrap and Second-hand Goods: Jewish Business in the Midwest, 1890-1930,” in Rebecca Kobrin, ed. Chosen Capital: The Jewish Experience with American Capitalism (in press)

“’Ovoutie Slanguage is Absolutely Kosher’: Yiddish in Scat-Singing, Jazz Jargon, and Black Music,” in Bruce Zuckerman, Josh Kun, and Lisa Ansell, eds. The Song is Not the Same: Jews and American Popular Music (The Jewish Role in American Life: An Annual Review, vol. 8 ) (Purdue University Press) (2011)

“’Is This What We Have Among Us Here—A Jew?’: The Hillel Review and Jewish Identity at the University of Wisconsin, 1925-1931,” in Charles L. Cohen and Paul S. Boyer, eds. Religion and the Culture of Print in Modern America, (University of Wisconsin Press) (2008)

“Jewish Problems: Eastern and Western Jewish Identities in Conflict at the University of Wisconsin, 1919-1941,” American Jewish History 89:2 (2001)

Honors and Awards

Madison Area Technical College Fellow, UW-Madison Institute for Research in the Humanities (2008-present)

Miriam Singer Sulman Young Leadership Award, Madison Jewish Community Council (2006)

National Endowment for the Humanities Faces of America grant recipient for “Faces of Madison’s Jewish Community” (2002)

Research Statement / Bio

My Jewish Studies research agenda has two parts: writing the history of the Midwestern Jewish experience into broader themes of American Jewish History, and tracing the complex roles of Jewish entertainers, impresarios, and fans within the history of 20th-century popular culture.


I am a full-time Instructor in History at Madison Area Technical College, and I hold the Madison Area Technical College Fellowship at UW’s Institute for Research in the Humanities.


From 1997 to 2002, I played drums for Yid Vicious, Madison’s most reknowned klezmer band. I appear on the first two Yid Vicious CDs: Klez, Kez, Goy mit Fez (Uvulittle Records, 1997) and Forverts! (Knitting Factory Records, 2001)