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Biography

Andrea Schatz has been teaching Jewish Studies at King’s since 2008. She studied Comparative Literature and Jewish Studies at the Freie Universität Berlin and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and received her PhD from Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf in 2003. In the following years, she held research fellowships at the Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies in Philadelphia (research group: 'Historical and Anthropological Perspectives in Jewish Studies'), in the Society of Fellows at Princeton University and at the University of Amsterdam. In 2009, Andrea returned to the Katz Center as co-convenor of a research group on 'Secularism and Its Discontents'. From 2012–2015, she was a Co-Investigator of the AHRC-funded research project The Reception of Josephus in Jewish Culture from the 18th Century to the Present (Oxford/King’s). A fellowship at the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities and Social Sciences (NIAS) in 2020-21 allowed her to focus on her current book project. In 2021-22, she serves as President of the British and Irish Association of Jewish Studies (BIAJS).

Research interests and PhD supervision

  • Jewish intellectual and cultural history in early modern and modern Europe; Jewish-Christian contacts between Venice and Amsterdam, Berlin and London
  • The European Enlightenment and its critics
  • Jewish and postcolonial perspectives on religion, secularism, and the ‘Orient’
  • Jewish print cultures & the Digital Humanities

My research focuses on the world of European Jews from the sixteenth to the early nineteenth centuries. While this was a period of great transformations, ‘tradition’ remained a dynamic part of religious and cultural innovations, offering tools for developing critical perspectives on Christian and secular conceptions of historical progress, 'civic improvement', religion and nation.

My book on the Hebrew language in the eighteenth century analyses the intertwined religious and secular contexts of its renewal as a modern language of the Jewish nation in the diaspora (2009, in German). It shows how the authors of the early Jewish Enlightenment drew on the cultural creativity of early modern Jews in Poland, the Habsburg Empire, the Netherlands and the Ottoman Empire to shape their place in the emerging modern secular states, while maintaining transnational links across the diaspora.

My current book project In a Fragile World: Exilic History among Early Modern European Jews investigates how authors, editors, translators and printers between Krakow and Amsterdam 'did' exilic history and created a historical library in the vernacular: a library of Sephardic and Ashkenazic works that were regularly re-printed and updated, made available in Yiddish, and used for critical explorations of the present moment. A related research project turns to Sefer Yosippon, a medieval chronicle based on Josephus’s work, and analyses its Yiddish translations as a remarkable case of ‘history in the vernacular’ at the intersection of Christian and Jewish interpretations of sovereignty and exile.

I welcome inquiries from prospective PhD students who would like to pursue research projects in areas that relate to the themes mentioned above, including projects that seek to advance the cooperation between Jewish Studies and the Digital Humanities.

For more details, please see my full  research profile.

Teaching

Undergraduate

  • 4AAT1032 Constancy and Creativity: Jewish Interpretations of Tradition
  • 5AAT2044 Religious Difference: Jewish, Christian and Other Perspectives
  • 6AAT3052 European Jews and the ‘Orient’

Postgraduate

  • 7AATC001 What Is Religion? The Critical Debates (coordinator)
  • 7AATC740 Religion and the Modern State: Jewish and Other Perspectives

Andrea is also co-convenor of an annual international Winter School in Jewish Studies with the University of Amsteram and the Open University of Israel. 

Expertise and public engagement

  • Hebrew Manuscripts: Journeys of the Written Word - An exhibition at the British Library, 2020-21 (Advisory Board member)
  • Public lectures and numerous presentations at international conferences and workshops in Europe, Israel, and the United States.

Conferences organised (selected):

  • EAJS Roundtable: ‘Turning the Page: Jewish Print Cultures and the Digital Humanities’ (with Irene Zwiep, Universiteit van Amsterdam, and Emile Schrijver, Joods Historisch Museum, Amsterdam), Universiteit van Amsterdam, 6–7 February 2017.
  • A Joint King’s–UCL International Conference: ‘Language, Nation and Modernity: Hebrew in Europe, 1800–2000’ (with Lily Kahn, UCL), King’s College London and UCL, 10-12 May 2014.
  • International Workshop: ‘Topoi of Time: Jewish Interpretations of Human and Other Temporalities’ (with Jonathan Boyarin, UNC Chapel Hill), King's College London, 23–25 May 2011.