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Meet the Faculty

Nina Caputo is an Associate Professor in the Department of History. She received her B.A. and M.A. from the University of California, Los Angeles, and her Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley. Professor Caputo is a scholar of medieval Jewish history and interfaith relations in medieval Europe. She has taught at the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Michigan, and Florida International University, and has been recipient of a Mellon Foundation Fellowship at the Penn Humanities Center and the Dorest Fellowship at the Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies. Caputo’s first book, Nahmanides in Medieval Catalonia: History, Community, Messianism (2007), explores the history of encounters between Jewish and Christian interpretations of history and redemption. More recently, she published a graphic history of the Barcelona Disputation, Debating Truth: The Barcelona Disputation of 1263 and co-edited Faithful Narratives: Historians, Religion, and the Challenge of Objectivity (2014) with Dr Andrea Sterk, and On the Word of a Jew: Religion, Reliability, and the Dynamics of Trust (2019) with Mitchell B. Hart. She is currently working on a book that uses Petrus Alfonsi to explore the figure of the convert and conversion in the Christian middle ages. Professor Caputo’s recent courses include Medieval Jewish History, Early Modern Jewish History, and Holy War. Her graduate students work in medieval Jewish history, medieval Iberian history, and early modern Sephardic culture in the Caribbean.

Malka Dagan is a senior lecturer in the department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures at UF, where she teaches courses in Modern Hebrew. Mrs. Dagan is a graduate (1968) of Oranim that is the college of education of the University of Haifa, and in 1985 received her MA from the University of Tel Aviv.

In the fall of 1985 Malka came to Gainesville Florida, with her Family for her husband to pursue his Ph.D. at UF and she joined then AALL teaching 2nd year Hebrew. In 2001 Malka rejoined the department teaching all levels of Moderen Hebrew.

Dror Abend-David teaches at the department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures at the University of Florida. His first book, based on his dissertation, was published in 2003 by Peter Lang under the title: Scorned my Nation: A Comparison of Translations of The Merchant of Venice into German, Hebrew, and Yiddish. His second book, Media and Translation: An Interdisciplinary Approach, was published in June 2014 (softcover 2016) with Bloomsbury Academic Publishing. His third book, Representing Translation: Languages, Translation, and Translators in Contemporary Media is forthcoming in September 2018. Dror received his doctorate in Comparative Literature from New York University (2001), and has published articles on Translation in relation to Media, Drama, Literature, and Jewish Culture.

Alice Freifeld, an Associate Professor in the Department of History at UF, received her PhD (1992), M.A. and B.A. from University of California, Berkeley. She joined the University of Florida in 1994 after teaching at Wheaton College, University of New Hampshire-Durham, University of Connecticut-Storrs, University of Nebraska, and Transylvania University, Lexington, KY. Professor Freifeld has published Nationalism and the Crowd in Liberal Hungary, 1848-1914 (2000) which won the Barbara Jelavich Book Prize in 2001. She also coedited East Europe Reads Nietzsche with Peter Bergmann and Bernice Rosenthal (1998). She has published numerous articles and is currently working on a manuscript entitled Displaced Hungarian Jewry, 1945-48.

Professor Freifeld’s most recent courses include: Displaced Persons, Jewry in Eastern Europe, Hapsburg Monarchy, 20th-Century Eastern Europe, and 19th-Century Europe.

Norman J.W. Goda is the Norman and Irma Braman Professor of Holocaust Studies. He received his Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He studies modern European history and specializes in the history of the Holocaust, war crimes trials, and twentieth-century diplomacy. He teaches a variety of courses on the Holocaust and Nazi Germany from historical and interdisciplinary perspectives. He is the author of Tomorrow the World: Hitler, Northwest Africa, and the Path toward America(1998); Tales from Spandau: Nazi Criminals and the Cold War (2007); The Holocaust: Europe, the World, and the Jews (2013). He has also co-authored, with Richard Breitman, US Intelligence and the Nazis (2005) and Hitler’s Shadow: Nazi War Criminals, US Intelligence and the Cold War (2010). He has edited a volume of international essays titled Jewish Histories of the Holocaust: New Transnational Perspectives (2014) as well as To the Gates of Jerusalem: The Diaries and Papers of James G. McDonald, 1945-1947 (2014), which concerns Holocaust refugees and the question of Palestine in those years. He has published articles in various journals including the Journal of Modern HistoryThe International History Review, and The Journal of Contemporary History, and Antisemitism Studies and his work has been the subject of stories by the The New York Times, the Associated PressUS News and World ReportHaaretz, and other major news outlets. Goda has served as a consultant to the US and German governments, as well as for various radio, television, and film documentaries in the US, Europe, and Israel.

Rachel Gordan is an assistant professor of religion and Jewish Studies, and the Shorstein fellow in American Jewish Culture. She received her BA in American Studies from Yale, her masters from the Yale Divinity School, and a Ph.D. in American religious history from the Committee on the Study of Religion at Harvard, University where she wrote a dissertation on post-WWII American Judaism titled, “How Judaism Became an American Religion.” She is currently revising that dissertation into a book, that is now under contract. She is also working on a book about the 1947 novel-turned-film, Gentleman’s Agreement. Gordan has held postdoctoral fellowships at Northwestern University and the University of Toronto. Her academic articles have appeared in Jewish Social Studies, The Jewish Quarterly Review, the Journal of American Jewish History, and Studies in American Jewish Literature. For a more general readership, Gordan has written about her research for  publications including, the Forward, Tablet, Moment, Religion & Politics, the NYT online edition. She teaches courses on Judaism, religious studies, and Jews and American culture.

Mitchell Hart is a professor of History and the Alexander Grass Chair in Jewish History. He teaches modern Jewish history, European and American history. He has published books on the history of Jews and race, social science, and medicine. He has recently completed a book on Jews and syphilis.

Galia Hatav is associate professor of Theoretical and Hebrew Linguistics. She teaches classical, Biblical and modern Hebrew in the Department of African and Asian Languages and Literatures.

Hatav’s main area of specialization in biblical Hebrew from the perspective of theoretical linguistics. Her specific interest is temporality in language, i.e., the devices languages use to express time relations between events and states. As biblical Hebrew uses mainly its verb system for this purpose, Hatav’s research concentrates on it. She investigates other periods of the Hebrew language, namely Mishnaic and Modern Israeli Hebrew. Hatav has written and spoken about the verb system in biblical Hebrew as well as about issues in theoretical linguistics.

Rebecca Jefferson is the Head of the Isser and Rae Price Library of Judaica. She received her B.A. in Hebrew from University College London, and her MPhil and PhD in medieval Hebrew from the University of Cambridge. She previously worked as a Research Associate in the Taylor-Schechter Genizah Research Unit at Cambridge University Library where she was responsible for the Bibliography Project and co-authored the second volume of Published Material from the Cambridge Genizah Collections (2004). She continues to publish articles concerning the Cairo Genizah and its provenance, and she is currently writing a book under contract entitled The Cairo Genizah and the Antiquities Trade in Egypt. Jefferson also serves as the Principle Investigator on a National Endowment for the Humanities Challenge Grant, focusing on collecting, preserving and providing access to Jewish resources from Florida, Latin America and the Caribbean.

Robert Kawashima holds a joint appointment in the Center for Jewish Studies and the Department of Religion. He received his Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from the University of California, Berkeley. Before joining the faculty of the University of Florida, he was a faculty fellow at UC Berkeley and a Dorot Assistant Professor/Faculty Fellow in New York University’s Skirball Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies. His work is broadly comparative, focusing on the Hebrew Bible in relation to both the ancient Mediterranean world and the literary and intellectual history of the West; other research interests include literary theory, linguistics, epic, and the novel. He has published on various aspects of ancient Israelite language, literature, law and religion, as well as on Homer and literary theory. His first book, Biblical Narrative and the Death of the Rhapsode (Indiana University Press, 2004), was a finalist for the Koret Jewish Book Award (category: Autobiography, Biography and Literary Studies). He is currently at work on a second book, The Archaeology of Ancient Israelite Knowledge, an analysis of Israel’s religious traditions informed by Foucault’s investigations into the history of systems of thought. He is also co-editing (with Ann Banfield) a volume of historically significant essays on literary style and poetics, with the tentative title, Represented Speech, Style Indirect Libre, Erlebte Rede.

Eric Kligerman is an assistant professor in the Department of Germanic and Slavic studies. He received his PhD from the University of Michigan in the spring of 2001. Kligerman spent several years studying in Germany at the University of Freiburg on a Fulbright Fellowship. His research focuses on 19th- and 20th-century German literature, philosophy and visual arts, and he is especially interested in German-Jewish literature and Holocaust studies. Kligerman is currently looking at how poetic invocations of trauma in the works of Paul Celan have been translated into the space of visual media, especially the architecture of museums and memorials in Berlin.

Jack Kugelmass is the Melton Legislative Professor of Jewish Studies and Professor of Anthropology. He was formerly Director of the Jewish Studies Program and Professor in the Interdisciplinary Humanities Program at Arizona State University in Tempe, and Professor of Anthropology and Director of the Folklore Program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He received a B.A. from McGill University, an M.A. and Ph.D. from the New School for Social Research. Among other books he is the editor of Jews, Sports and the Rites of Citizenship (Illinois University Press, 2006), Key Texts in American Jewish Culture (Rutgers University Press, 2003), author of The Miracle of Intervale Avenue: The Story of a Jewish Congregation in the South Bronx (Columbia University Press, 1996) and co-author of From A Ruined Garden: The Memorial Books of Polish Jewry (Indiana University Press, 1998). He writes on the public culture of American Jews and is completing a book called Sifting the Ruins: Yiddish Travelogues to Post-War Poland. He was the editor for two terms City & Society the journal of the Society for Urban, National, Transnational and Global Anthropology. Kugelmass has held fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Lady Davis Foundation, the Center for Advanced Judaic Studies at the University of Pennsylvania and the Council of the Humanities at Princeton University. He teaches courses on Jewish film, ethnography, the anthropology of travel, culture theory and photography.

Dragan Kujundić is a Professor of Jewish, Germanic and Slavic Studies. He also holds affiliated appointments and teaches in Film and Media Studies, European Studies, as well as Religion. Since 2016 he is a visiting professor in the Graduate School in Philosophy at the European University (NGO) in Sankt Peterburg, Russia. He holds a PhD Degree in Slavic Studies with an emphasis on Critical Theory from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. Prior to joining University of Florida as the chair of Germanic and Slavic Studies in 2005, he was a director of Russian Studies at the University of Memphis, and University of California at Irvine, where he was also a founding director of the International Center for Writing and Translation.

Kujundić is the author of over one hundred and twenty articles in critical theory, deconstruction and literary criticism, published in fifteen countries and translated in eight languages. These articles have been presented as invited lectures at leading universities in the United States, and numerous others in Europe, in journals such as Modern Language Notes, diacritics, Discours Social/Social Discourse, Critical Inquiry, Quarterly Review of Film and Video, Discourse, Russian Literature, Labyrinthe, Revue des Etudes Slaves, Nuova corrente, @ objet petit a, Wiener Slawistischer Almanach, Tolstoy Studies Journal, Filozofskij zhurnal, Novoe literaturnoe obozrenie, Neprikosnovennyj zapas, Seans, Artmargins, Tympanum, Social Identities, Letopis Matice srpske, Zbornik za Slavistiku Matice srpske. Since 2012, he has served as Chair of the International Editorial Board of Interculturality, at the Institute for Culture of Vojvodina, Novi Sad, Serbia. He has edited over twenty special journal issues, article clusters and volumes, including Deconstruction, A Merry Science (1985), Khoraographies for Jacques Derrida on July 15, 2000 (2000), The Other Europe and the Translation of National Identity (2001), Who or What Jacques Derrida (2008), tRaces: Derrida With Balibar (2011), and two volumes on J. Hillis Miller: J (2005) and Provocations to Reading (with B. Cohen, 2005). He was the founding editor of Bakhtinsky sbornik in Moscow, Russia, and edited two volumes of the journal (in 1990 and 1992). His other publications include the monographs Critical Exercises (1983), The Returns of History (1997), Tongue in Heat (2003), and Out of Interculturality (2016).

In recent years, Dragan Kujundić has started producing and directing documentary films, together with critical and theoretical works, books, or journal clusters related to them, to perform a corpus of theoretical-mediatic installations. The First Sail: J. Hillis Miller (2011) has been released together with the book about the film (Kujundić, Hillis Miller, et. al., 2015); Cinemuse: Selfie With Sokurov has been screened, among other venues, at the international film festival Message to Man, Sankt Peterburg, Russia (October 2016) and was accompanied by lectures and publications of the film transcript and essays about Aleksander Sokurov in English and in Russian. Frozen Time, Liquid Memories (2012), a film about the Holocaust in Serbia and France, has been screened internationally, as well as at the National Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC, with accompanying publications related to this film. He is currently filming Play It Again: Sam Weber, along with writing essays about his work, and is the co-translator from French into English of an essay about Weber by Jacques Derrida (2016).

His other work in progress includes a new monograph, Cinetaphs. Encryptions of East and Central Europe in Film and a film about the rock group Leningrad: Pushkin With Shnurov in Digital Age: Leningrad at 20, to be released in Spring 2017, together with lectures and a publication of related essays.

In recent years Dragan Kujundić has taught courses such as the Other Europe, Deconstruction and Critical Theory, Vampire Cinema, Eisenstein and Disney, Dostoevsky and Nietzsche, Religion and Media, Introduction to Jewish Studies, Jewish and Jewish American Cinema, Russian Jews, Screening Literature and Shakespeare, and Jewish Critical Theory.

James Mueller is Associate Professor in the Department of Religion. He received his PhD from Duke University in 1986 with a concentration in Early Judaism and Early Christianity.

His work focuses primarily on the development of Judaism in the Hellenistic and Roman periods, and the interaction between Judaism and Christianity in the first several centuries of the Common Era. He has authored The Five Fragments of the Apocryphon of Ezekiel: A Critical Study (Sheffield Academic Press, 1994), and co-edited The Oxford Study Bible (Oxford University Press, 1992). He is currently writing a commentary on a medieval apocalypse known as the “Vision of Ezra” to be published by Walter de Gruyter, and is general editor for The Dictionary of Early Judaism to be published by Wm. B. Eerdmans and E.J. Brill.

Judith W. Page, who joined the faculty in the fall of 2000, holds a PhD from the University of Chicago, a MA from the University of New Mexico, a BA from Newcomb College of Tulane University, and studied for a year at the University of Birmingham in England.

Before coming to UF, Professor Page taught most recently at Millsaps College, where she received awards for her teaching and served in several administrative positions, including Chair of the English Department, founding coordinator of the Women’s Studies Concentration, and Associate Dean of Arts and Letters.

Her book Imperfect Sympathies: Jews and Judaism in Romantic Literature and Culturewas published by Palgrave in 2004. She is the author of Wordsworth and the Cultivation of Women (University of California Press), which was named an outstanding academic book for 1995. She is also the author of numerous articles and reviews in such journals as Philological Quarterly, Criticism, Journal of English and Germanic Philology, Modern Philology, SEL, Victorian Literature and Culture, Texas Studies in Literature and Language, The Blake Quarterly, and The Wordsworth Circle. She has published articles on pedagogy in the MLA “Approaches to Teaching” series.

The recipient of several NEH awards, Professor Page has continued her work on Wordsworth and his circle, and has published a chapter entitled “Wordsworth and Domesticity” in the Cambridge Companion to Wordsworth (2003). She was awarded a Skirball Fellowship to spend the Spring 2003 semester in England at the Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies. Her current research project is on women and landscape, 1750-1850.

Professor Page teaches general courses in Romanticism and British women writers of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. She offers seminars on Wordsworth and his circle, Jane Austen in the context of Romanticism, and Milton and Romantic women writers. In addition, she has developed special topics courses in conjunction with UF’s Center for Jewish Studies on Romanticism and Judaism and on Jews and Judaism in Victorian Literature and Culture.

Tamir Sorek is sociologist who studies social, political, and cultural dynamics that shape ethnic and national identities, particularly in the context of Israel/Palestine. He combines both quantitative and qualitative methods in his work. In his book Arab Soccer in a Jewish State: The Integrative Enclave (Cambridge University Press, 2007), Sorek illustrates how a seemingly innocent arena like sports is in effect a powerful political sphere, which has implications for ethnic, religious, civic, national identification, and even political behavior. His book, Palestinian Commemoration in Israel: Calendars, Monuments, and Martyrs (Stanford University Press, 2015, Shapiro Book Award in Israel Studies) deals with the struggles over the representation of the Palestinian past in Israel. His book The Optimist: A social biography of Tawfiq Zayyad is forthcoming with Stanford University Press (2020). Currently he is in the process of editing a special issue of the journal Ethnic and Racial Studies, titled “Culture and Conflict in Palestine/Israel.” Sorek won several prestigious fellowships, including Fulbright-Hays and the Humboldt Research Fellowship for Experienced Researchers. He has also served on the  board of major academic journals, including Sociology, and Ethnic and Racial Studies.

Maureen Turim received her BA (1973), MA (1975), and PhD (1978) from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, degrees which included studies in France at the L’Universite d’Aix-Marseille (1971-72), and L’Ecole des Hautes Etudes and Paris III (1973-74). She taught at the State University of New York at Binghamton from 1977 until joining the UF faculty in 1991.

Professor Turim is author of Abstraction in Avant-Garde Films (Ann Arbor: UMI Research Press), Flashbacks in Film: Memory and History (New York: Routledge), and The Films of Oshima: Images of a Japanese Iconoclast (Berkeley: University of California Press). She has published over fifty essays in anthologies and journals on a wide range of theoretical, historical and aesthetic issues in cinema and video, art, cutural studies, feminist and psychoanalytic theory, and comparative literature. Several of these essays have appeared in translation in French and German. She has also written catalogue essays for museum exhibitions.

Her current book project, entitled Desire and its Ends: The Driving Forces of Recent Cinema, Literature, and Art, will look at the different ways desire structures narratives and images in various cultural traditions, and the way our very notion of desire may be shaped by these representations.

Kenneth Wald “Emeritus” is a distinguished professor of Political Science. He has been a Fulbright Professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and a visiting faculty member at the University of Haifa.

Professor Wald’s research interests include the politics of American and Israeli Jews and the role of religion in Israeli political life. He has also written and spoken about religious issues and church and state questions in American politics. Wald has lectured on religion in American political life at the Chatauqua Institution in upstate New York and in Israel, China, and the United Kingdom.

Patricia J. Sohn is Associate Professor of Political Science and Jewish Studies at UF. She received her Interdisciplinary Ph.D. in Near and Middle Eastern Studies (Modern Middle East Politics Track) from the University of Washington in 2001. She has been on the faculty at UF since 2001. She has been a Visiting Scholar at the Harvard University Center for Middle Eastern Studies; Hebrew University Department of Political Science; and several other universities abroad. She has received research funding from the National Science Foundation, the Social Science Research Council, and she has been recognized by the U.S. Fulbright Student Program for service to that program. Her research centers on law and society, religion and politics, and gender politics in the Middle East, and particularly Israel. She has an interest in state-society relations, grassroots politics, micro-level politics, and political-ethnographic methods. For more information, please see her curriculum vitae.

Gayle Zachmann is Associate Professor of French, Jewish and European Studies, and University Term Professor (2018–2021). She is a specialist of modern France and French cultural production of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and her teaching and publications focus on literature and the visual arts and French Jewish Studies. Zachmann received an M.A. and a Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania. She served as editor of the international journal Romance Studies (2014–2017) and she is co-organizer of the annual Paris workshop Cultural Production in Nineteenth-Century France (Columbia University’s Global Center, Paris 2005–2011; University of Paris-Diderot 2014–2019). Professor Zachmann was Director of the University of Florida Paris Research Center (2003–2011) and the UF in Provence French and Interdisciplinary programs in Aix-en-Provence and Avignon (1999–2003).

Zachmann’s publications include Frameworks for Stéphane Mallarmé: The Photo and the Graphic of an Interdisciplinary Aesthetic (State University of New York Press, 2008, paperback 2009), Cultural Production in Nineteenth-Century France: Essays in Honors of Lawrence R. Schehr (2012) co-edited with Charles Stivale, an edited art catalogue (2009), and articles on French and avant-garde writers and visual artists. Professor Zachmann is currently completing manuscripts on Claude Cahun and Marcel Schwob, she is producer and historical consultant for an upcoming documentary directed by Boaz Dvir on hidden-child/Holocaust survivor, Nazi hunter, Entebbe hostage and Klaus Barbie trial witness, Michel Cojot, AKA Michel Goldberg, and several film projects on French Jews. Zachmann regularly publishes, lectures, and teaches courses on the Jewish question in post-revolutionary France, Jewish writer-journalists of the Republic, Resistance aesthetics and the French Occupation, Contemporary France, and Jewish writers and artists of the French avant-gardes. She was named CLAS Teacher of the Year in 1995, and CLAS International Educator of the year in 2016.