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July 2003


The new Carolina Center for Jewish Studies has a new director, Jonathan M. Hess, a leading authority on Jewish history and culture in Germany. His appointment by the College of Arts and Sciences is effective July 1, 2003.

Hess, professor of German and adjunct professor of religious studies, has been a member of the university faculty since 1993. He is the author of numerous journal articles and two major books: “Germans, Jews and the Claims of Modernity” (Yale University Press, 2002) and “Reconstituting the Body Politic: Enlightenment, Public Culture and the Invention of Aesthetic Autonomy” (Wayne State University Press, 1999).

He received a Ph.D. in comparative literature and literary theory from the University of Pennsylvania in 1993, an M.A. in German from The Johns Hopkins University in 1989, and a B.A. in German from Yale University in 1987.

The Carolina Center for Jewish Studies, an interdisciplinary research and teaching center designed to explore Jewish history, culture and religion in the United States and abroad, was officially launched in March when the University approved a new undergraduate minor in Jewish studies to begin this fall. Plans call for an undergraduate major in the near future.

Based in the College of Arts and Sciences, the Center draws on relevant faculty strengths in many disciplines, including English, Germanic languages, history, political science, religious studies and Slavic languages and literatures.

The Center will offer undergraduate and graduate courses, create and disseminate new research, and convene public conferences and lectures featuring leading scholars of the Jewish experience in the United States, Europe, Israel and beyond.

Hess replaces the Center’s founding director, Jonathan Hartlyn, professor of political science, who helped to develop the program during the past year.