Faculty

Photo of Yael Aronoff
Yael Aronoff
Director

Yael Aronoff [Ph.D. PLS, Columbia U.] is the Director of Jewish Studies and the Michael and Elaine Serling and Friends Chair in Israel Studies. This Jewish Studies position is sited in James Madison College, where Yael is Associate Professor of International Relations. She is a recipient of the MSU 2011 Teacher-Scholar Award. She is interested in Israeli politics and foreign policy, Israeli society and culture, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and Israel’s asymmetric wars with Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and Hezbollah. Her book, The Political Psychology of Israeli Prime Ministers: When Hard Liners Opt for Peacewas published by Cambridge University Press (2014), compares and contrasts six Israeli prime ministers and their decision-making on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Dr. Aronoff has published in Foreign Policy, Israel Studies, Israel Studies Review, Israel Studies Forum, and Political Science Quarterly, and is book review editor for Israel Studies Reviewshe is on the Board of Directors of the Association of Israel Studies. Professor Aronoff led the MSU Jewish Studies Summer Program at Hebrew University’s Rothberg School in 2007, 2010 and in 2013.

CAMPUS ADDRESS: C724 Wells Hall, 619 Red Cedar Rd.
PHONE: 517-884-7054
EMAIL: aronoffy@msu.edu


Photo of Marc Bernstein
Marc Bernstein

Marc S. Bernstein [Ph.D., Near Eastern Studies, UC–Berkeley] is Associate Professor of Jewish Studies and Muslim Studies at Michigan State University, and is appointed in the Department of Linguistics and Germanic, Slavic, Asian, and African Languages. His primary research interests are Hebrew and Israeli culture, and the intersection of Jewish and Islamic civilizations. He teaches courses in modern Hebrew, Israeli society, Israeli film, and the monotheistic traditions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. He has won a Fintz Award for Teaching Excellence in the Arts and Humanities. Marc is the author of Stories of Joseph: Narrative Migrations Between Judaism and Islam (2006), which focuses on a Judeo-Arabic account of the biblical Joseph and explores the interdependence of Muslim and Jewish traditions around shared sacred figures. He directed the MSU Jewish Studies Summer Program at Hebrew University in 2008, 2009, and 2014.

CAMPUS ADDRESS: B-260 Wells Hall
PHONE: 517-432-6209
EMAIL: msb@msu.edu

Photo of Kirsten Fermaglich
Kirsten Fermaglich

Kirsten Fermaglich [Ph.D. History, NYU] is Associate Professor of History at MSU. Her book on American social scientists and Holocaust metaphors, American Dreams and Nazi Nightmares: Early Holocaust Consciousness and Liberal America, 1957-1965, appeared in 2006. She is also co-editor (with Lisa Fine) of the Norton Critical Edition of Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique (2013).  She has published in American Jewish History, the Michigan Historical ReviewSouthern Jewish History, and several edited collectionsCurrently, she is researching the history of Jews and name-changing in the twentieth century for a book tentatively titled A Rosenberg by Any Other Name. Kirsten has won fellowships and grants from YIVO, the Posen Foundation, and the Association for Jewish Studies. A Legacy Heritage grant supported a year of programming at MSU 2011-2012 on the theme “Telling Family Stories: Jews, Genealogy & History.” Kirsten also co-curated (with Ken Waltzer) a 2002-2003 MSU museum exhibit, “Uneasy Years: Michigan Jewry During Depression and War,” that was recognized by the Michigan Council for the Humanities as among the top thirty projects the Council supported in thirty years.

CAMPUS ADDRESS: 256 Old Horticulture
PHONE: 517-884-4935
EMAIL: fermagli@msu.edu

Photo of Amy Simon
Amy Simon

Amy Simon (Ph.D., Indiana University—Bloomington) is the new Inaugural Appointee to the William and Audrey Farber Chair in Holocaust Studies and European Jewish History, which is sited in James Madison College and the History Department. She is a core Jewish Studies faculty member. She has worked as a researcher at the United States Holocaust Museum and has published several articles on Holocaust literature and Holocaust perpetrators. Dr. Simon will be the first professor appointed to an endowed Holocaust Studies chair in Michigan. This Fall, she will be teaching MC498 “Senior Seminar in Social Relations: The Holocaust in American Memory.” This course will examine the ever-changing constructions of Holocaust memory in the United States, from the revelations of the horrors of the concentration and death camps in the spring of 1945, through the challenge of Holocaust remembrance in personal testimony, literature, film, and physical memorials in the present day. In Spring 2017 she will be teaching HST411 “European Jewish History,” which will examine post-World War II issues including the emergence of new centers of Jewish life in Europe and the Former Soviet Union, as well as Holocaust memory and memorialization in major European centers. She will also be teaching MC387: “Jews and Anti-Semitism,” which will compare the history and sociology of modern Jewish experiences, explore anti-Semitism and intergroup relations and examine the Holocaust and responses to the Holocaust.

CAMPUS ADDRESS: Rm. 3691 S. Case Hall, 842 Chestnut Rd.
PHONE: 517-884-1270
EMAIL: simonamy@msu.edu

Photo of Steven Weiland
Steven Weiland

Steven Weiland [Ph.D. English, U. of Chicago] has taught and held administrative positions at the Universities of Michigan, Iowa, and Minnesota, and spent nine years as Director of the National Federation of Humanities Councils. Professor Weiland joined the MSU faculty in 1991 as Professor of Higher Education. From 1995-2002, he served as Director of Jewish Studies at MSU and taught courses in American Jewish literature and culture. His scholarly and teaching interests focus on academic and intellectual careers and research methods, particularly narrative practices in the social sciences. He is the author of a book on intellectual history, co-author of another on social gerontology, and co-editor of a book on jazz. Professor Weiland is at work on Writing Jewish Lives: Heritage and Taska study of American Jewish autobiography and biographywhich will explore the meaning of Jewish difference for writing American Jewish lives.

CAMPUS ADDRESS: 410 Erickson Hall
PHONE: 517-355-2395
EMAIL: weiland@msu.edu

 

Emeritus Faculty

Photo of Ken Waltzer
Ken Waltzer
Professor Emeritus

Kenneth Waltzer [Ph.D. History, Harvard U.] is Professor Emeritus of History in James Madison College and was Director of Jewish Studies from 2004 until August 2014. In recent years, he has won a State of Michigan Teaching Excellence Award, the Mid-Michigan Alumni Club Quality in Undergraduate Teaching Award, and the Outstanding Study Abroad Director Award in Arts and Letters. He was formerly Associate Dean and Interim Dean of James Madison College, and he directed the Center for Integrative Studies in Arts and Humanities. Professor Waltzer’s interests cover American social and political history, especially urban and immigration history, and also modern Jewish history in Europe, America, and Israel. He is recognized internationally for his current research and writing with Red Cross ITS documents and survivor testimonies and interviews in The Rescue of Children and Youth at Buchenwald. With K. Geissler, he developed The American Identity Explorer: Immigration and Migration CD-ROM (1998, 2001), and, with K. Fermaglich, he co-curated the award-winning exhibit (now traveling exhibit) at the MSU Museum, “Uneasy Years: Michigan Jewry During Depression and War.”  Recently, he was historical consultant to and appeared in the feature-length documentary film Kinderblock 66.

CAMPUS ADDRESS: C-725 Wells Hall
PHONE: 517-432-3493 (Jewish Studies)
EMAIL: waltzer@msu.edu

Affiliated Faculty