Chair, Department of Germanic and Slavic Languages and Literatures, 2016–2018
Moses M. and Hannah L. Malkin Distinguished Professor of Jewish History and Culture, UNC-Chapel Hill, 2012–2018
Professor, Department of Germanic and Slavic Languages and Literatures, UNC-Chapel Hill, 2003–2018
Adjunct Professor, Department of Religious Studies, UNC-Chapel Hill, 2003–2018
Director, Carolina Center for Jewish Studies, UNC-Chapel Hill, 2003–2006, 2007–2013
Associate Professor of German and Adjunct Associate Professor of Religious Studies, 1999–2003
Assistant Professor of German, UNC-Chapel Hill, 1993–1999
Adjunct Assistant Professor, Department of Religious Studies, UNC-Chapel Hill, 1998–1999
University of Pennsylvania, PhD in Comparative Literature and Literary Theory, 1993
University of Pennsylvania, MA in Comparative Literature and Literary Theory, 1990
Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität, Münster, Germany, summer semester 1989
The Johns Hopkins University, MA in German, 1989
Yale University, BA summa cum laude in German with departmental distinction, 1987
Eberhard Karls-Universität, Tübingen, 1985–86
Deborah and Her Sisters: How One Nineteenth-Century Melodrama and a Host of Celebrated Actresses Put Judaism on the World Stage. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2017.
Middlebrow Literature and the Making of German-Jewish Identity. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2010.
Germans, Jews and the Claims of Modernity. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2002.
Reconstituting the Body Politic: Enlightenment, Public Culture and the Invention of Aesthetic Autonomy. Detroit, MI: Wayne State University Press, 1999.
Jonathan M. Hess, Maurice Samuels, and Nadia Valman, eds. Nineteenth-Century Jewish Literature: A Reader. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2013.
Eric S. Downing, Jonathan M. Hess, and Richard V. Benson, eds. Literary Studies and the Pursuits of Reading. Rochester, NY: Camden House, 2012.
Refereed Journal Articles
“The Mortara Case and the Literary Imagination: Jewish Melodrama and the Pleasures of Victimhood.” Jewish Quarterly Review 108 (2018): 60–84.
“Shylock's Daughters: Philosemitism, Popular Culture, and the Liberal Imagination.” Transversal: Journal for Jewish Studies 13 (2015): 28–43.
“Off to America and Back Again, Or Judah Touro and Other Products of the German-Jewish Imagination.” Jewish Social Studies 19 (2013): 1–23.
“Beyond Subversion: German Jewry and the Poetics of Middlebrow Culture.” German Quarterly 82 (2009): 316–35.