Director, Harris Center for Judaic Studies
Jean Cahan

Department of Philosophy

505 Oldfather Hall
Lincoln, NE 68588
Phone: (402) 472-2346

I was born in Sydney, Australia. My parents were from Vienna and Szatmar (Transylvania) and survived the Auschwitz and Mauthausen death camps. As a teenager I moved to Montreal, Canada, attending high school there and then McGill University. I majored in Modern European, especially German, History, and received an MA in the field of History of Science.  Later I moved to the United States to study Philosophy at The Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. Although trained in Anglo-American analytic philosophy, my main area of interest has always been in Modern European Philosophy and Modern Jewish Thought, and especially the thought of Spinoza.  Most of my teaching is in these areas. In 1991-92 I assisted the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in raising funds for a Jewish Studies program. Since then I have served as Director of the program several times. I also serve as a member of the advisory committee for the undergraduate and graduate specializations in Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs. In between teaching and administration, my main current research project is a book-length study of anti-Semitism entitled: Immortal Antisemitism: A Philosophical Provocation.

Ph.D. Philosophy, The Johns Hopkins University
M.A. Philosophy, The Johns Hopkins University
M.A. History of Science, McGill University
B.A. European History, McGill University

Selected Publications
  • “The Jewish Settler Movement and the Concept of Fundamentalism” in: Simon Wood and David Harrington Watt (eds.), Fundamentalism: Perspectives on a Contested History. University of South Carolina Press, forthcoming.
  • Edited volume (with Amalia Ran), Returning to Babel: Jewish Latin American Experiences, Representations and Identity. London: Brill, 2011.
  • “The Lonely Woman of Faith under Late Capitalism: or, Jewish Feminism in Marxist Perspective,” in: Hava Tirosh-Samuelson (ed.), Women and Gender in Jewish Philosophy.  Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2004.
  • “Rosenzweig's Dialectic of Defiance and Critique of Islam.” Journal of Jewish Thought and Philosophy, Vol. 9 ( 2000).
  • “Spinoza's Theory of Immanence Reconsidered.” Journal of Jewish Thought and Philosophy, Vol. 5 ( 1995).

Selected Honors and Awards
Undergraduate Advisor of the Year, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Interdisciplinary Seed Grant (co-author), College of Arts and Sciences, University of Nebraska
Cooper Foundation Grant: Human Rights Program Development
Graduate Fellowship, Philosophy, The Johns Hopkins University

Courses Taught at UNL
European Jewish Philosophy
The Holocaust
Honors seminar: Anti-Semitism - History and Theory
Political Theory (ancient, early modern, contemporary)