People

Founding Director: James E. Young

Ph.D., Distinguished University Professor of English and Judaic and Near Eastern Studies.  

James E. Young is Distinguished University Professor of English and Judaic Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where he has taught since 1988. He has also taught at New York University as a Dorot Professor of English and Hebrew/Judaic Studies (1984-88), at Bryn Mawr College in the History of Religion, and at the University of Washington, Harvard University, and Princeton University as a visiting professor. He received his Ph.D. from the University of California in 1983.

Professor Young is the author of Writing and Rewriting the Holocaust (1988), The Texture of Memory (Yale University Press, 1993), which won the National Jewish Book Award in 1994, and At Memory's Edge:  After-images of the Holocaust in Contemporary Art and Architecture (Yale University Press, 2000). He was also the Guest Curator of an exhibition at the Jewish Museum in New York City, entitled "The Art of Memory:  Holocaust Memorials in History" (March - August 1994, with venues in Berlin and Munich, September 1994 - June 1995) and was the editor of The Art of Memory (Prestel Verlag, 1994), the exhibition catalogue for this show.

In 1997, Professor Young was appointed by the Berlin Senate to the five-member Findungskommission for Germany's national "Memorial to Europe's Murdered Jews," which selected Peter Eisenman’s design, finished and dedicated in May 2005. He has also consulted with Argentina’s government on its memorial to the desaparacidos, as well as with numerous city agencies on their memorials and museums. In 2003, he was appointed by the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation to the jury for the World Trade Center Site Memorial competition, won by Michael Arad and Peter Walker, and was dedicated and opened on September 11, 2011. He continues to serve on the Academic Advisory Board of the National 9/11 Memorial Museum in New York City.

Professor Young has written widely on public art, memorials, and national memory. His articles, reviews, and Op-Ed essays have appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Book Review, and Op-Ed pages, The Los Angeles Times, The Chicago Tribune, The Forward, and Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, among other newspapers, as well as in scholarly journals such as Critical Inquiry, Representations, New Literary History, Partisan Review, The Yale Journal of Criticism, Annales, SAQ, History and Theory, Harvard Design Magazine, Jewish Social Studies, Contemporary Literature, History and Memory, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Prooftexts, The Jewish Quarterly, Tikkun, and Slate, among dozens of other journals and collected volumes.  His books and articles have been published in German, French, Hebrew, Japanese, and Swedish editions. 

Professor Young is the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, ACLS Fellowship, NEH Exhibition planning, implementation, and research grants, Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture Grants, an American Philosophical Society Grant, and a Yad Hanadiv Fellowship at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, among others.

In 2000, he was appointed as Editor-in-Chief of The Posen Library of Jewish Culture and Civilization, a ten-volume anthology of primary sources, documents, texts, and images, forthcoming with Yale University Press. At present, he is completing an insider’s story of the World Trade Center Memorial, entitled The Stages of Memory at Ground Zero: A Juror’s Report on the World Trade Center Site Memorial.

Interim Director:  Jonathan Skolnik

PhD., Associate Professor of German.

Jonathan Skolnik is associate Professor of German and he holds adjunct appointments in the Departments of History and Judaic and Near Eastern Studies. Professor Skolnik is also on the faculty in Film Studies. He serves as Graduate Program Director in German and Scandanavian Studies.  

Professor Skolnik has held fellowships from the United States Historical Museum, the Leo Baeck Institute and the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Advanced Jewish Studies. 

He is the author of Jewish Pasts, German Fictions:  History, Memory, and Minority Culture (Stanford University Press, 2014) and he has co-edited special issues of New German Critique on "Secularization and Disenchantment” and "German-Jewish Religious Thought.” His articles on German exile cinema include "Exile on 125th St: African-American, Germans, and Jews in Edgar Ulmer's 'Moon Over Harlem'"; "Class-war, Anti-Fascism and Anti-Semitism : Grigori Roshal's 1939 Film 'Sem'ia Oppengeim' in Context"; and "28 May 1942 Berolt Brecht and Fritz Lang Write a Hollywood Screenplay."  Recent and forthcoming articles include "Memory Without Borders? Migrant Identity" and "The Legacy of the Holocaust in Olga Griasnowa's Der Russe ist einer, der Birken liebt."  

Professor Skolnik is President of the North American Heine Society and a founding member of the International Lion Feuchtwanger Society.  

Associate Director: Lara Curtis

Ph.D. in Comparative Literature.

Lara Curtis is a specialist in literature and film related to the Holocaust and Jewish history and has written on trauma theory, as well as on subjectivity and nostalgia in literary contexts.  Her doctoral dissertation is entitled “Writing Resistance and the Question of Gender: Charlotte Delbo, Noor Inayat Khan, and Germaine Tillion.” She has written essays and conference papers on the fiction of Irène Némirovsky, the films of Julien Duvivier, and is currently writing about the journal of Hélène Berr.  At the University of Massachusetts Amherst she taught French film for four years and a variety of courses on European literature. She also holds a Masters Degrees in both French Studies and Comparative Literature, is an honoree of Phi Kappa Phi scholarly society, and a recipient of the Dufau Award for Outstanding Classroom Teaching.