core  faculty


David biale

​Emanuel  Ringelblum  Distinguished  Professor  of  Jewish  History

David Biale is Emanuel Ringelblum Distinguished Professor of Jewish History and Chair of the Department of History at the University of California, Davis.  He is the author of six books: Gershom Scholem: Kabbalah and Counter-History (Harvard University Press, 1979), Power and Powerlessness in Jewish History (Schocken Books, 1986) and Eros and the Jews: From Biblical Israel to Contemporary America (Basic Books, 1992, University of California Press, 1997), Blood and Belief: The Circulation of a Symbol Between Jews and Christians (University of California Press, 2007), Not in the Heavens: The Tradition of Jewish Secular Thought (Princeton University Press, 2011), and most recently Gershom Scholem: Master of the Kabbalah (Yale University Press, 2018).  He is also the editor of Cultures of the Jews: A New History (Schocken Books, 2002).  His books have won the National Jewish Book Award three times and he has been awarded fellowships by the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Lady Davis Foundation.  Most recently, he won the UC Davis Prize for Undergraduate Teaching and Scholarly Achievement.  He also recently completed Hasidism: A New History (Princeton University Press, 2018) where he served as the Project Director of an international team.

Bruce  D.  Haynes


A scholar of racial and ethnic relations and urban communities, Bruce Haynes' work seeks to understand the processes of Racialization and the consequences of racial classification for creating communities boundaries, particularly within an urban context. His most recent book, The Soul of Judaism: Jews of African Descent in America (New York University Press, 2018), won the 2019 Albert J. Raboteau Book Prize for Best Book in Africana Religions. The work offers the first exploration of the full diversity of Black Jews, including bi-racial Jews of both matrilineal and patrilineal descent; adoptees; black converts to Judaism; and Black Hebrews and Israelites, who trace their Jewish roots to Africa. The work challenges the dominant western paradigm of Jews as white and of European descent. A second recent book, the sociological memoir Down the Up Staircase: Three Generations of a Harlem Family (2017), tells the story of one Harlem family across three generations, connecting its journey to the historical and social forces that transformed Harlem over the past century.  His work crosses disciplinary boundaries of American Studies, Community and Urban Sociology, Race and Ethnic Relations, Religion, and Jewish Studies while it remains embedded squarely in traditional historical and qualitative methodologies of Sociology.

Naomi Janowitz

Professor of religious studies

Naomi Janowitz is Professor of Religious Studies. Her areas of interest are Judaism in the Greco-Roman context, Hellenistic religions, methods in the study of religions, and the psychoanalytic study of religion. Publications include: Icons of Power: Ritual Practices in Late Antiquity (Penn State University Press, 2002) and Magic in the Roman World (Routledge, 2001). Her first book won the Outstanding Academic Book Award from Library/Choice Journal. She has also won an essay prize from the American Psychoanalytic Association and a teaching award from the UC Davis Academic Senate.




Jenny Kaminer is Associate Professor in the Department of German and Russian. Her research interests include gender and Russian culture, especially the representation of maternity, Russian theater and drama, and post-Soviet culture. She has published several articles on Russian literature, culture, and drama. Her book, Women with a Thirst for Destruction: The Bad Mother in Russian Culture (Northwestern University Press) was published in 2014. She regularly teaches a course on Jews and Russian Culture, offered through her department and Jewish Studies.

Zeev maoz

Professor of political science

Zeev Maoz is a distinguished professor of political science at the University of California, Davis, as well as a distinguished fellow at the Interdisciplinary Center, Herzliya, Israel. He is director of the Correlates of War Project and former president of the Peace Science Society (International) (2007-08). Before coming to Davis, he served as head of the Graduate School of Government and Policy at Tel-Aviv University. He held appointments of Head of the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies (1994-1997), as the academic director of the M.A. program of the National Defense College of the IDF (1990-1994), and as chairman of the Department of Political Science at the University of Haifa (1991-1994). Prof. Maoz received his Ph.D. from the University of Michigan. He also held visiting appointments at Carnegie-Mellon University, New York University, Rice University, and the University of Michigan.



professor Emerita of history

Prof. Susan Miller's field of expertise is the history of North Africa in the modern period, with a special interest in North African Jewry. Her publications include Berbers and Others: Beyond Tribe and Nation in the Maghrib (Indiana University Press, 2010), The Architecture and Memory of the Minority Quarter of the Muslim Mediterranean City (Harvard University Press, 2010), and Disorienting Encounters: Travels of a Moroccan Scholar in France in 1845-1846 (University of California Press, 1992). Her work has been translated into Arabic, Spanish, French, Hebrew and Chinese. Prof. Miller is the recipient of two Fulbright Awards, and fellowships from the Social Science Research Council, the Lucius Littauer Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the American Council of Learned Societies. She has been a Visiting Scholar at Ben Gurion University of the Negev, the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales in Paris, the University of Cambridge, and Ca’ Foscari University of Venice. In 2006 she was awarded the annual prize of the Abu Dhabi Cultural Foundation for writing on Arabic travel literature, and her most recent book, A History of Modern Morocco ( Cambridge University Press, 2013) was a finalist for the L. Carl Brown Prize from the American Institute of Maghribi Studies.Her current project is a study of the refugee crisis in Morocco during World War II.


Associate  PROFESSOR OF RELIGIOUS STUDIES, Director of Jewish Studies

Eva Mroczek's research stands at the intersection of early Jewish literary cultures and Book History. Her first book, The Literary Imagination in Jewish Antiquity (Oxford UP 2016), illustrates how early Jewish writers imagined their own sacred writing before the Bible existed as a concept. The book was the finalist for the 2018 AJS Jordan Schnitzer Book Prize, the winner of the 2017 De Long Book History Prize awarded by the Society for the History of Authorship, Reading, and Publishing (SHARP), and the winner of the 2017 Manfred Lautenschlaeger Prize for Theological Promise. She is working on two new projects: Out of the Cave: The Possibility of a New Scriptural Past, an intellectual history of manuscript discovery stories; and a guide to imaginary books in ancient and medieval Jewish lore. Recent courses at UC Davis include the Bible and Its Interpreters, Sex and Gender in the Bible, and "God on Trial": Questioning Divine Justice.

Timothy Parrish

Professor of Comparative Literature

Timothy Parrish teaches courses on the history and theory of the novel, modernism and post-modernism, and Jewish identity since the Holocaust. He is the author of three books: Walking Blues: Making Americans from Emerson to Elvis (2001; 2nd edition, 2012), From the Civil War to the Apocalypse: History in Twentieth-Century American Fiction (2008), and Ralph Ellison and the Genius of America (2012). He edited both The Cambridge Companion to Philip Roth (2007) and The Cambridge Companion to American Novelists (2013). He has published numerous essays on a wide range of modern and contemporary writers. His recent creative work includes “Philip Roth’s Final Hours” (Raritan), a 2016 Pushcart Prize-nominated work of fiction and The Critic: a novella (Ploughshares solo, 2017).



Sven-Erik Rose is an Associate Professor of German & Chair of the Department of German and Russian. He has published in venues such as Jewish Social Studies, French Studies, Postmodern Culture, and New German Critique on topics including Jewish masculinity in the cinema of Mathieu Kassovitz; Holocaust postmemory in the work of Patrick Modiano; the 18th-century German-Jewish philosopher Lazarus Bendavid’s Kantian fantasies of Jewish decapitation; and Cold War controversies around a text by Yehoshue Perle that was unearthed as part of the Warsaw Ghetto “Oyneg Shabes” archive. His first book, Jewish Philosophical Politics in Germany 1789-1848, was published in August 2014 in Brandeis University’s Tauber Institute Series for the Study of European Jewry. He received the Jordan Schnitzer Book Award from the Association for Jewish Studies in the category of Philosophy and Jewish Thought. He is currently working on a book with the tentative title, "The Holocaust and the Archive from the Cold War to Post-Memory."



Seth L. Sanders is a professor of Religious Studies.  He focuses on the role of writing and language in the creation of politics and religion. His first book, The Invention of Hebrew, used epigraphic evidence to understand the role biblical texts played in creating the people of Israel as a public, long before modern media and contemporary nationalism. His second book, From Adapa to Enoch: Scribal Culture and Religious Vision in Judea and Babylonia, is the first major comparative study of ancient Babylonian, Aramaic and Hebrew scholarship designed to explain how early Jewish literature diverged from its Israelite legacy. His current project, supported by Guggenheim and NEH grants, is Why We Can’t Read the Torah: The Form of the Pentateuch and the History of Ancient Hebrew Literature. 

matthew  shugart

Professor of political science

Matthew Shugart is Professor of Political Science. His main research interests are comparative political institutions, especially electoral systems and political parties. Many of his works incorporate Israel as a case, such as his recent Votes from Seats: Logical Models of Electoral Systems (with Rein Taagepera, Cambridge University Press, 2017) and his current book project,
Party Personnel Practices. He is a contributor to the forthcoming Oxford Handbook of Israeli Politics and Society. In addition to his appointment at UC Davis, Shugart is an Affiliated Professor of the University of Haifa, and a past recipient of a Lady Davis Fellowship and has been a consultant to the Israel Democracy Institute. 



Diane L. Wolf is Professor of Sociology. The thread that links all Diane Wolf’s research and publications is that of family dynamics amidst structural transformations, usually with a focus on gender.  Her book, Beyond Anne Frank: Jewish Families in Postwar Holland (UC Press, 2007) analyzed childhood memory, family dynamics and trauma during and after war and genocide. She published a chapter for a methods book on children in religion that focuses on the issue of children's agency as well as children and memory. She also published an article on the socio-historical parameters of "the best interest of the child" related to a case study of orphaned Jewish children in the Netherlands after WWII. Her interest in the interrelationships between identity, memory, and trauma is also reflected in a book she co-edited, also in 2007, titled When Sociology Confronts the Holocaust: Memories and Identities in Jewish Diasporas (Duke University Press). Currently, Professor Wolf is analyzing family dynamics in families of which at least one parent is a Holocaust survivor in order to critically address the assumption of the inter-generational transmission of trauma.