Samuel Heilman
Distinguished Professor of Sociology and Holder of the Harold Proshansky Chair in Jewish Studies at Queens College

Samuel Heilman holds the Harold Proshansky Chair in Jewish Studies at the Graduate Center and is Distinguished Professor of Sociology at Queens College of the City University of New York.  In 2007-2008, he was a fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study in Jerusalem.  In fall 2008, he was selected as a Fulbright Senior Specialist and sent to the People’s Republic of China where he lectured at Nanjing, Henan, and Shanghai Universities.  He has also beenScheinbrun Visiting Professor of Sociology at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, visiting professor of social anthropology at Tel Aviv University, and a Fulbright visiting professor at the Universities of New South Wales and Melbourne in Australia. He has been a guest lecturer at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, U.C.L. A., Rutgers University, Harvard University, the University of Maryland, Carelton College, Sydney University, Spertus College, the University of Pennsylvania, and Brandeis University, among others. He has been a guest lecturer at Chonnam University in Gwangju, South Korea. He has given the Rosen Lecture at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, the Michaelson Lecture at the University of California at Santa Barbara (2008) and the Stroum Lectures at the University of Washington (1993). He is a frequent contributor to newspapers and magazines. Receiving his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania, he wrote his thesis under the direction of Erving Goffman, about whom he was recently interviewed.

Steering Committee

Talal AsadAsad
Distinguished Professor of Anthropology at the CUNY Graduate Center

At the Graduate Center since 1998, Talal Asad is a sociocultural anthropologist of international stature specializing in the anthropology of religion with a special interest in the Middle East and Islam. He earned his M.A. at Edinburgh University and B. Litt. and D.Phil. at Oxford. Before coming to the United States to teach at the New School, he taught at Oxford and the universities of Khartoum, Sudan, and Hull, England. He was a member of the New School graduate faculty from 1989 to 1995, then joined the faculty at Johns Hopkins University. In the Spring of 1979, he was a visiting professor at the University of California at Berkeley.

Beth BaronBaron
Professor of History at the City College & The CUNY Graduate Center

Beth Baron is Professor of History at the City College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. She is the author of Egypt as a Woman: Nationalism, Gender, and Politics (University of California Press, 2005) and The Women’s Awakening in Egypt: Culture, Society, and the Press (Yale University Press, 1994), which was translated into Arabic by the Supreme Council of Culture in Egypt. She co-edited Iran and Beyond: Essays in Middle Eastern History (Mazda, 2000) and Women in Middle Eastern History (Yale University Press, 1991). Baron has received grants from the American Council of Learned Societies, Ford Foundation, National Endowment for the Humanities, and Woodrow Wilson Foundation. She co-founded and now co-directs the Middle East and Middle Eastern American Center (MEMEAC) at the CUNY Graduate Center, for which she was recently awarded a Department of Education Title VI Undergraduate International Studies and Foreign Languages grant for 2005-2007 of $192,000. Baron is currently writing a book on women, children, and social action in Egypt which examines the roles of American missionaries, British colonial wives, and Egyptian social reformers, among others, in shaping social welfare projects and reshaping women’s productive and reproductive lives.

Dagmar HerzogHerzog
Professor of History at the CUNY Graduate Center

Dagmar Herzog is Distinguished Professor of History and the Daniel Rose Faculty Scholar at the Graduate Center. She has conducted extensive comparative and transnational research on how religion and secularization have affected social and political developments in modern Europe; her work is especially concerned with the history of Jewish-Christian relations, the Holocaust and its aftermath, and the histories of gender and sexuality. She is the author of Sexuality in Europe: A Twentieth-Century History (Cambridge UP 2011), forthcoming also in Turkish; Sex in Crisis: The New Sexual Revolution and the Future of American Politics (Basic Books 2008); Sex after Fascism: Memory and Morality in Twentieth-Century Germany (Princeton 2005), which has been translated into German and Japanese; and Intimacy and Exclusion: Religious Politics in Pre-Revolutionary Baden (Princeton 1996; Transaction 2007). She is the editor and coeditor of six anthologies, including, most recently, After the History of Sexuality: German Genealogies With and Beyond Foucault (Berghahn 2012 – with Helmut Puff and Scott Spector); Brutality and Desire: War and Sexuality in Europe ‘ s Twentieth Century (Palgrave Macmillan 2009); and Lessons and Legacies VII: The Holocaust in International Perspective (Northwestern 2007). In her work on contemporary social policy, Prof. Herzog works closely with public health experts and medical and therapeutic professionals as well as jurists; she is currently researching two new projects: one on the intertwined vicissitudes of disability rights and reproductive rights in the European Union, and one on the politics of the European and American histories of psychoanalysis, trauma, and desire in the postwar era. Both involve debates over the place of religion in the modern world.

Jack JacobsJacobs
Professor of Government at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice CUNY

Professor Jack Jacobs received his Ph.D. from Columbia University. He is the former Acting Associate Provost and Dean for Academic Affairs for the CUNY Graduate Center. Professor Jacobs was an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Columbia before coming to CUNY, and is now Professor of Government at CUNY’s John Jay College. In 1996-1997, Professor Jacobs served as a Fulbright Research Scholar at Tel Aviv University. In 1998, he was a visiting scholar at the Simon-Dubnow-Institut fuer juedische Geschichte und Kultur at Leipzig University. He served as Dr. Emanuel Patt Visiting Professor at the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research during the academic year 2003-2004. He has been the recipient of grants from the Lucius N. Littauer Foundation, the German Academic Exchange Service, the Friedrich Ebert Foundation, the American Council of Learned Societies, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Leo Baeck Institute, and the Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture, among other sources. He is the author of On Socialists and “the Jewish Question” after Marx (New York University Press, 1992), which has appeared in German (Decaton Verlag, 1994), and the editor of Jewish Politics in Eastern Europe: The Bund at 100 (New York University Press, 2001). His current research centers on Critical Theory and the image of the Jew.

David Sorkin
Distinguished Professor of History, CUNY Graduate Center; Jack H. Skirball Director of the Center for Jewish Studies

David Sorkin is an internationally renowned scholar of modern Jewish history. Throughout his career he has worked to integrate European intellectual history and Jewish history, by locating Jewish history in the context of the majority society; by illuminating developments in Judaism through comparison with other religions; and by writing a comparative intellectual history that incudes Judaism, Protestantism, and Catholicism. His current project is a comparative history of Jewish emancipation in Europe from the seventeenth century to 1921. His books include The Transformation of German Jewry, 1780–1840 (Oxford University Press, 1987); Moses Mendelssohn and the Religious Enlightenment (University of California Press, 1996), which has been translated into French, German, and Italian; and The Religious Enlightenment: Protestants, Jews and Catholics from London to Vienna (Princeton University Press, 2008). He was an associate editor of the Oxford Handbook of Jewish Studies (2002), which won the National Jewish Book Award. Sorkin has won numerous awards and grants, including a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, and recently held appointments at the Scuola Normale Superiore in Pisa and École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris.

John Torpey 
Professor of Sociology at the Graduate Center

John Torpey is Professor of Sociology at the Graduate Center. He is the author or editor of seven books, including Intellectuals, Socialism, and Dissent: The East German Opposition and its Legacy (University of Minnesota Press, 1995); The Invention of the Passport: Surveillance, Citizenship, and the State (Cambridge University Press, 2000); Old Europe, New Europe, Core Europe: Transatlantic Relations after the Iraq War (edited with Daniel Levy and Max Pensky; Verso, 2005), and Making Whole What Has Been Smashed: On Reparations Politics (Harvard University Press, 2006). He is also an editor of and contributor to the forthcoming volume, The Post-Secular in Question (New York University Press). His articles have appeared in Theory and Society, Sociological Theory, Journal of Modern History, Social Research, Genèses: Sciences sociales et histoire, Journal of Human Rights, Dissent, Contexts, openDemocracy, Frankfurter Rundschau, The Nation, and The San Francisco Chronicle. His interests lie broadly in the area of comparative historical sociology. His current work revolves around the question of how we identify periods of major social change, such as those associated with the birth and reform of major world religions, and whether we are in the midst of such a period at present.

Bryan TurnerMax-Plank-Forschungspreis 2015_8341
Presidential Professor of Sociology at The CUNY Graduate Center

Bryan Turner was the Alona Evans Distinguished Visiting Professor at Wellesley College USA (2009-2010). He edited The New Blackwell Companion to the Sociology of Religion (2010) and the four volume Secularization (Sage, 2010). The third edition of The Body and Society came out in 2008 and Religion and Modern Society;citizenship, secularisation and the state (Cambridge University Press) will appear in 2011. Professor Turner was awarded a Doctor of Letters by Cambridge University in 2009.

John Wallach Wallach
Professor of Political Science at Hunter College & The CUNY Graduate Center

John Wallach is Professor of Political Science at Hunter College & The Graduate Center, and Director of the new Hunter Human Rights Program. Before coming to Hunter in 1991, he was a Visiting Assistant Professor at Yale University and Vassar College. Professor Wallach received his Ph.D. in Politics (Program in Political Philosophy) from Princeton University in 1981. He is a classically trained political theorist. Having also studied the Philosophy of the Social Sciences, he has an interest in interdisciplinary issues concerning approaches to the understanding of politics. He is well-versed in the history of Western political theory and has specialized in ancient Greek political thought.