Andrea Dara Cooper

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Andrea Dara Cooper

Associate Professor
Leonard and Tobee Kaplan Scholar in Modern Jewish Thought and Culture


Ph.D., New York University
B.A., University of King’s College

Research Interests

  • Modern Jewish thought
  • Gender studies
  • Continental philosophy
  • Post-Shoah ethics
  • Cultural, literary, and psychoanalytic theories
  • Critical animal studies

Professional Biography

I work at the intersection of Jewish thought, cultural theory, and continental philosophy, emphasizing connections between religious studies and critical theory. In my book, Gendering Modern Jewish Thought, I show how kinship becomes an organizing metaphor for ethical and communal relationships in twentieth-century Jewish philosophy. Through a critical gender analysis of key works in the field, I investigate familial tropes in the ethical and theological frameworks of Franz Rosenzweig and Emmanuel Levinas, making explicit the metaphorical structures that lie beneath their philosophical approaches. My next research project examines post-Shoah ethics and animality.

At UNC, I teach “Introduction to Jewish Studies,” which acquaints students to the field of Jewish studies as a discipline that spans many academic subfields in the humanities. I also teach courses on “Modern Jewish Thought,” “Post-Holocaust Ethics and Theology,” “Human Animals in Religion and Ethics,” “The Sacrifice of Abraham,” and “Women, Gender, and Judaism.” The study of gender is central to both my research and teaching, as it brings to light fundamental questions of subjectivity, agency, and hermeneutics. My commitment to interdisciplinary research in the study of religion drives my approach to teaching religious studies courses. I am co-chair of the Study of Judaism Unit of the American Academy of Religion, I serve on the steering committee for the Animals and Religion Unit, and I am a board member of the Association for Jewish Studies Women’s Caucus.

SELECTED Awards and Honors

Carolina Center for Jewish Studies Course Development Grant for “Judaism and Popular Culture,” 2024

Carolina Center for Jewish Studies Course Development/Enhancement Grant for “Women, Gender, and Judaism,” 2020

Fellow, “Post-War Memory, Holocaust Memorialization, and the Implications for the Present,” Regional Institute on the Holocaust and Jewish Civilization, Holocaust Educational Foundation of Northwestern University, 2020

Association for Jewish Studies Women’s Caucus Cashmere Subvention Award in Jewish Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies, 2019

Association for Jewish Studies First Book Subvention Prize for manuscripts that make a substantial scholarly contribution to Jewish Studies, 2019

Carolina Center for Jewish Studies faculty travel grant, 2018, 2015, 2014

Paula E. Hyman Mentoring Program for Jewish Women’s and Gender Studies, Association for Jewish Studies Women’s Caucus, 2014-2015

Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture doctoral scholarship, 2011-2012

NYU-Cambridge Mainzer Visiting Fellowship at the University of Cambridge Centre for Gender Studies, 2010

Courses Recently Taught

  • RELI 123/JWST 100: Introduction to Jewish Studies
  • RELI 226: Human Animals in Religion and Ethics
  • RELI/JWST/WGST 533: Women, Gender, and Judaism
  • RELI 426H: The Sacrifice of Abraham
  • RELI 420/JWST 420: Post-Holocaust Ethics and Theology
  • RELI 224H: Modern Jewish Thought

Publication highlights

Prophetic Vision and Imagination: Reading Maimonides with Wolfson and Wyschogrod,” In New Paths in Jewish and Religious Studies: Essays in Honor of Professor Elliot R. Wolfson, 361-376. Ed. Glenn Dynner, Susannah Heschel, and Shaul Magid. West Lafayette, IN: Purdue University Press, 2024.

The Cat Mitzvah: Jewish Literary Animals,” In Animals and Religion, 134-138. Ed. Barbara Ambros, Aaron Gross, and David Aftandilian. New York: Routledge, 2024.

“Adorno and Animality After Auschwitz.” In Adorno’s Minima Moralia in the 21st Century: Fascism, Work and Ecology. Ed. Caren Irr. Bloomsbury, 2021.

Co-editor, Special Issue of Religions, “Jewish Thought in Times of Crisis”

Gendering Modern Jewish Thought. New Jewish Philosophy and Thought. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2021.

Gender and Modern Jewish Thought.” In Oxford Bibliographies in Jewish Studies. Ed. Naomi Seidman. New York: Oxford University Press, 2021.

From Sister-Wife to Brother-Neighbor: Rosenzweig Reads the Song of Songs.” Journal of Jewish Thought and Philosophy 28, no. 2 (2020): 228-258.

Writing Humanimals: Critical Animal Studies and Jewish Studies.” Religion Compass 13, no. 12 (2019).

Modern Jewish Thought and the Fratriarchy.” AJS Perspectives, “The Patriarchy Issue” (Spring 2019).

“Maintaining Oppositions in Musar.” Journal of Jewish Ethics 3, no. 1 (2017).

Review, Aaron Gross, The Question of the Animal and Religion: Theoretical Stakes, Practical Applications, Anthrozoos, Vol. 30, No. 2, 2017.

“Teaching Beyond the Canon: New Approaches to Jewish Studies.” AJS News, “The Scholarship Issue,” February 2016.

invited lectures

Gendering Modern Jewish Thought.” Seminar in Modern Jewish Thought, Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies, May 29, 2024.

Post-Holocaust Ethics and Animality.” Rowan University Center for the Study of the Holocaust, Genocide, and Human Rights, Mar. 2, 2023.

Gendering Modern Jewish Thought.” American Jewish University, Whizin Center for Continuing Education, Nov. 4, 2021.

Interpretation and Innovation: Jewish Studies from the Rabbinic Era to Today.” Schochet Family Lecture, organized by Carolina Public Humanities and hosted by Wake Technical Community College, Nov. 3, 2020.

“Adorno, Aphorisms, and Animality After the Shoah.” Minima Moralia Today: An Adorno Symposium, Brandeis University, Sept. 20, 2019.


“On Being Not-at-Home in the World,” Symposium, How to Measure a World? A Philosophy of Judaism, Syndicate Humanities Network (forthcoming)

Holocaust Studies,” Witch Please, Marcelle Kosman and Hannah McGregor, hosts, iTunes app, 7 March 2023.

Gendering Modern Jewish Thought,” New Books Network, Lea Greenberg, host, iTunes app, 31 January 2023.