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Faculty News and Updates

Robert Heller, professor in the School of Journalism and Electronic Media, had his photographic portraits of Tennessee Holocaust Survivors and Liberators exhibited at the UT Downtown Art Gallery during June and July. The “Living On” project was created by the Tennessee Holocaust Commission in 2003 and resulted in an exhibit shown around Tennessee and multiple cities in Poland, and a book published by UT Press in 2008. In conjunction with the “Violins of Hope” project, the “Living On” exhibit will be on display in Nashville at several locations, beginning in January 2018.

Nancy Henry delivered talks at the Modern Language Association in Philadelphia, the North American Victorian Studies Association Conference in Florence, Italy, the Women, Money, and Markets Conference at King’s College London, and the Dickens Universe Conference at UC Santa Cruz. She was also the lead co-organizer of the 2017 Dickens Universe Conference, which for the first time in its 34-year history was devoted to a book not written by Dickens. Instead, it focused on George Eliot’s Middlemarch. Nancy continues in her capacity as the international co-editor of the Journal of Victorian Culture (based in the UK) and the associate editor of the journal George Eliot-George Henry Lewes Studies. At UT, she continues as the organizer of the Nineteenth-Century British Studies Seminar (funded by the UT Humanities Center).

Heather Hirschfeld was pleased to see two essays, both on The Revenger’s Tragedy, appear in print – “ The Critical Backstory,” in The Revenger’s Tragedy: A Critical Reader (Bloomsbury, 2016) and “‘Wildfire at midnight’: The Revenger’s Tragedy and the Gunpowder Plot,” in the Review of English Studies (2017). She participated in the Shakespeare Association of America Conference in April, where she gave a paper on “Shakespeare and Urban Infernalism” and served as vice-president of the Southeastern Renaissance Conference. She was honored to receive a Chancellor’s Grant for Faculty Research, which gives her time to research her next project on “The Resources of Hell: Infernal Metaphor and Meaning in Early Modernity.”

Gregory Kaplan, Hispanic studies, Distinguished Professor in the Humanities, published Arguments Against the Christian Religion in Amsterdam by Saul Levi Morteira, Spinoza's Rabbi (Amsterdam University Press 2017). This is the first book to offer a translation into English, as well as a critical study, of a Spanish treatise written around 1650 by Rabbi Saul Levi Morteira, whose most renowned congregant was Baruch Spinoza. Aimed at encouraging the practice of halachic Judaism among the Amsterdam-based descendants of conversos, Spanish and Portuguese Sephardic Jews who had been forced to convert to Christianity, the book stages a dialogue between two conversos that ultimately leads to a vision of a Jewish homeland-an outcome that Morteira thought was only possible through his program for rejudaization.

Jack Love continues to pursue his doctorate in history. His dissertation is on the Passover in history and memory. For the second year in a row, Jack’s introductory course in Biblical Hebrew had a full enrollment. This year, he is delighted to report that we also had record retention into the second year. The first-year students are enthusiastic and engaged, and he has high hopes that we will see most of them continue. Unlike students in other more common foreign languages (such as Spanish and French), Biblical Hebrew students often include linguistics program majors and seniors looking to broaden their knowledge. It is a delight to see students engaged deeply with classical texts. 

Dan Magilow, associate professor of German, spent two weeks in Washington, DC, this past June participating in the workshop “Regarding Atrocity: Photography, Memory, and Representation,” sponsored by the Mandel Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. He presented a paper titled “German Jewish Cemetery Books and the Displacement of Atrocity” at the workshop. Magilow has also been commissioned by Rutgers University Press to edit and annotate a new edition of Out of the Ashes: A Survivor’s Story, a 1961 Holocaust memoir by Rabbi Leon Thorne. Thorne’s memoir is a powerful and horrifying testimony about the Holocaust in Eastern Galicia. It includes one of the earliest accounts of the infamous murder of the writer Bruno Schulz on November 19, 1942, as well as a firsthand report on the Rzeszów pogrom in June 1945.

In addition to his scholarship, Magilow took on two new administrative roles. As of fall 2017, he is serving as the new associate director of the UT Humanities Center. In 2018, he will be leading the first iteration of the newly reconstituted Normandy Scholars Program, an interdisciplinary undergraduate honors program that examines World War II and the Holocaust in the wider context of memory studies. The program consists of an honors seminar in the spring 2018 semester and a 13-day study abroad trip to selected memorial sites in England, France, and Germany.

Tina Shepardson was sorry to see her NEH Fellowship year come to an end, but is excited to be back with students and colleagues. Shepardson spent a lot of last year working on her next book, reading sixth-century Syriac-language sources that tell us about the Christians who never accepted the religious orthodoxy decided at the Council of Chalcedon (451) in the late Roman Empire, and whose teachings survive today in the Syrian Orthodox Church. Professor Shepardson continues to accept invitations to publish her research in edited volumes and is now also co-editing a volume of early Syriac Christian sources that is under contract with the University of California press. One of the subsections she is overseeing in that volume is on representations of Jews and Judaism. She has also accepted an invitation to co-author an essay on “The Shared and Parted Paths of Judaism and Christianity” for The Cambridge History of Ancient Christianity. Her review of Adam Gregerman’s book, Building on the Ruins of the Temple: Apologetics and Polemics in Early Christianity and Rabbinic Judaism, is forthcoming. Last year she accepted invitations to present research in Lexington, San Antonio, and Chicago, and this year in Ottawa; Durham, North Carolina; and Boston. On campus, she is grateful to have received a Midcareer Research Award from the College of Arts and Sciences and to have been named a Lindsay Young Professor for 2017-19.


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