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>  News Releases >   2008 >   April

Dartmouth professor named Carnegie Scholar

Dartmouth College Office of Public Affairs • Press Release
Posted 04/07/08 • Media Contact: Susan Knapp • (603) 646-3661

Susannah Heschel
Susannah Heschel (photo by Joseph Mehling '69)

Susannah Heschel, the Eli Black Professor in Jewish Studies and professor of religion, has been named a Carnegie Scholar by the Carnegie Corporation of New York. As one of 20 scholars appointed this year, Heschel will receive funding that will give her two years of sabbatical from teaching in order to concentrate on research and writing. During her time as a Carnegie Scholar, Heschel plans to write a book tentatively titled, "The Monotheistic Triangle: Judaism and Islam in the Modern Christian World." The 2008 awardees are the fourth consecutive annual class to focus on Islam, bringing to 91 the number of Carnegie Scholars devoted to the topic since the program began in 2000.

Heschel's book will consider how the study of Islam by European Jewish intellectuals of the 19th and early 20th centuries influenced Jewish identity, religion, and assimilation into European society.  It will also consider how the lingering influence of such scholarship affected Muslims entering European society after the Second World War. Additionally, the grant will give her funding to spend several months undertaking research in London and Berlin, in support of her studies related to Islam and the modern world.

Heschel hopes that her book will "foster a broad, public discussion comparing Jewish and Muslim accommodations to modernity."  She intends to make scholarly material in this field available to a general readership, as well as to lay a foundation for further academic explorations in the subject.  It will also, she hopes, make a contribution to contemporary public policy, as her topic is relevant to relationships among Muslims, Jews, and Christians today. 

Heschel's previous scholarship has focused on Jewish-Christian relations in 19th and 20th century Germany.  Her Carnegie project builds on her study of Abraham Geiger, an early 19th century pioneer of European scholarship of Islam. It also draws on topics which she has been exploring through a series of conferences convened at Dartmouth beginning in 2005, with the support of the Ford Foundation.  The meetings have brought together scholars in Islamic and Jewish studies to focus on shared themes in the disciplines, including feminism, textuality, migration, and the legacy of Orientalism.

Commenting on the 2008 Carnegie Scholars and the program's current focus on Islam, Vartan Gregorian, president of  the Carnegie Corporation said, "We are cultivating a diverse scholarly community spanning a range of disciplines with the expectation that their voices will help Americans develop a more complex understanding of Muslim societies here and throughout the world-revealing Islam's rich diversity.  Only through vibrant dialogue, guided by bold and nuanced scholarship, can we move public thinking into new territory."

Heschel is the author and editor of several books, including The Aryan Jesus: Christians and the Bible in Nazi Germany (Princeton University Press, forthcoming).  She received her Ph.D. in Religious Studies from the University of Pennsylvania.  She holds an honorary doctorate from Colorado College , and will receive an honorary doctorate from Augustana-Hochschule, the Divinity School of the Protestant Church in Bavaria, later this year.

By KELLY SEAMAN

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