Scott Spector began his year-long term as Interim Director of the Jean and Samuel Frankel Center for Judaic Studies on July 1, 2021. Spector is Rudolf Mrázek Collegiate Professor of History and German Studies. He has been a member of the Frankel Center faculty since 1995 and served as Head Fellow of the 2015-2016 Frankel Institute for Advanced Judaic Studies theme year, “Secularization/Sacralization.” He will be working with the 2021-22 Head Fellow Professor Gabriele Boccaccini on the upcoming theme year, “Second Temple Judaism: The Challenge of Diversity” to cultivate a rich intellectual climate for the incoming cohort of fellows who will be comprised of both scholars in residence in Ann Arbor and those partaking remotely this Fall. “It has been exciting to see us grow over the past 26 years into the leading Jewish Studies program we are today,” Spector reflected.

The new Interim Director expressed enthusiasm about stepping into his new role as the University community undergoes a transition to in-person classes this coming fall. While acknowledging the complexities, new practices, and continued uncertainties among faculty members and students around learning and researching, Spector is excited for the opportunities that a hybrid environment presents. “We will be able to take the best of both worlds, continuing online events with international stars in their fields while we go back to teaching face-to-face and having most Institute fellows in residence. Our students are thrilled to be coming back to in-person learning and events.”

Scott Spector specializes in the cultural history of modern Central Europe, especially the rich intellectual life of German and Austrian Jews in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Focusing on the city life of Prague, Berlin, and Vienna, his books and articles have explored nationalism and empire, the sciences surrounding sexuality and crime, the politics of history-writing, and the dialogue between film and historical representation. His recent publications include Violent Sensations (Chicago 2016) which studies the creation of marginal figures in the scientific and sensational culture of fin-de-siècle Vienna and Berlin, and Modernism without Jews? German-Jewish Subjects and Histories (Indiana UP 2017), a study of German-Jewish culture between the Enlightenment and the Holocaust.

The Frankel Center for Judaic Studies is excited to welcome Scott Spector as Interim Director. “This is going to be a great year for the Frankel Center and I’m happy to be a part of it,” Spector added.