UC Berkeley has long been a national leader in Jewish Studies, especially notable for the innovative scholarship promoted in its graduate program. The Center for Jewish Studies provides a strong new focus and a vivid presence for the many varied activities associated with Jewish Studies on the Berkeley campus. It oversees the Designated Emphasis in Jewish Studies for graduate students and the undergraduate minor in Jewish Studies. Additionally, the center is home to UC Berkeley's two annual endowed lecture series, sponsors conferences and public lectures, offers a congenial setting for graduate student colloquia, and serves as an attractive meeting place for the many visiting scholars in the field who come to UC Berkeley each year.
The Berkeley Institute for Jewish Law and Israeli Law, Economy and Society is an interdisciplinary initiative to expand Jewish and Israel Studies offerings at UC Berkeley coordinated by faculty in Political Science, Sociology, Economics, Comparative Literature, History, and Music, and in the Law, Journalism, and Business Schools.
The Magnes Collection of Jewish Life and Art was established in 2010 at the Bancroft Library after the transfer of the Judah L. Magnes Museum to UC Berkeley. The Magnes is one of the world's preeminent Jewish collections in a university setting. It offers highly innovative and accessible resources to researchers on campus, enables hands-on learning for students interested in Jewish Studies, offers a venue for important programming, and provides fellowships for students working on Jewish culture.
The UC Berkeley Judaica collection supports the research of students involved in the graduate Jewish Studies Designated Emphasis, the undergraduate minor, and the instructional activities of faculty and students in a number of interdisciplinary fields. These fields include Near Eastern languages and literature; Talmudic studies, including the Babylonian and Palestinian Talmuds and subsequent texts and commentaries; rabbinic, medieval, and modern Jewish history throughout the world; modern Jewish thought; and comparative literature, including works in Hebrew, Yiddish, English, and other languages.
Jewish Studies: Minor
Jewish Studies: Designated Emphasis (DE)
Above photo courtesy of The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life
Faculty and Instructors
Lila Balint, Assistant Professor. Contemporary German literature and media, theories of the Contemporary, aesthetics and politics, transnationalism and translation, digital writing, European Jewish literatures, literary and cultural theory, theories of the novel.
Kenneth A. Bamberger, Professor. Technology, government regulations, corporate compliance.
Karen Barkey, Professor. Comparative historical sociology, religion and politics, the politics of shared sacred sites .
Isaac L. Bleaman, Assistant Professor, Department of Linguistics.
Robert Braun, Assistant Professor. Altruism and social solidarity, comparative historical sociology, peace, war, and social conflict, political sociology, sociology of religion, social movements and collective behavior .
Benjamin Brinner, Professor. Indonesia, Java, Bali, Israel, musical memory, situated musical cognition, musical interaction, improvisation, gamelan, music and oral narrative.
John M. Efron, Professor. Cultural and social history of German Jewry.
Ronald Hendel, Professor. Textual criticism, Hebrew bible, ancient Near Eastern religion and mythology, Northwest Semitic linguistics.
Ethan Katz, Associate Professor. Jewish history, modern France, empire, Jewish-Muslim relations, secularism.
Chana Kronfeld, Professor. Comparative literature, modernism, Hebrew, Yiddish, modern poetry, minor literatures, politics of literary history, feminist stylistics, intertextuality, translation studies.
Francesco Spagnolo, Adjunct Associate Professor.
Ronit Stahl, Assistant Professor, Department of History. Faculty affiliate of the religious diversity cluster of the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society.
Rutie Adler, Lecturer.
Yael Chaver, Lecturer.
Sarah Levin, Lecturer.
Tomer Persico, Visiting Assistant Professor.
Stephanie Rotem, Visiting Assistant Professor.
Robert B. Alter, Professor Emeritus. Comparative literature, Near Eastern studies, 19th-century European and American novel, modernism, literary aspects of the bible, modern and biblical Hebrew literature.
Joan Bieder, Senior Lecturer SOE Emeritus. History of Jewish communities in South East Asia.
George Breslauer, Faculty Director of the Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life.
Claude S. Fischer, Professor Emeritus. Social networks, American social history, technology, urban sociology, sociology.
Ann Swidler, Professor Emeritus. Religion, culture, Africa, AIDS, political sociology, theory, development, NGOs.