Andrea Dara Cooper

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Andrea Dara Cooper

Assistant Professor
Leonard and Tobee Kaplan Fellow in Modern Jewish Thought and Culture


Ph.D., New York University, 2013
B.A., University of King’s College and Dalhousie University, 2005

Research Interests

  • Modern Jewish thought
  • Gender and sexuality
  • Continental philosophy and post-Shoah ethics
  • Medieval Jewish philosophy
  • Theories of culture, literature, and psychoanalysis

Professional Biography

I work at the intersection of Jewish thought, cultural theory, and continental philosophy, emphasizing connections between religious studies and critical theory. My book, Reading Beyond the Fratriarchy in Modern Jewish Thought, is under contract with Indiana University Press in the series New Jewish Philosophy and Thought. Through a critical gender analysis of key works in the field, the book shows how kinship becomes an organizing metaphor for ethical and communal relationships in twentieth-century Jewish philosophy. I investigate familial tropes in the ethical and theological frameworks of Franz Rosenzweig and Emmanuel Levinas, arguing that we can deeply value these thinkers’ significant contributions while also interrogating and making explicit the structural organizations that drive their philosophical approaches. My next research project examines post-Shoah ethics, animality, and narratives of sacrifice.

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,” and “The Sacrifice of Abraham.” The study of gender is a central method of analysis in 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 serve on the steering committee for the Women and Religion unit of the American Academy of Religion and am a board member of the Association for Jewish Studies Women’s Caucus.

Awards and Honors

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 224H: Modern Jewish Thought
  • RELI 426H: The Sacrifice of Abraham
  • RELI 079/RELI 226: Human Animals in Religion and Ethics
  • RELI 420/JWST 420: Post-Holocaust Ethics and Theology

Recent Publications

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

“Rosenzweig Reads the Song of Songs.” Submitted.

“On the Threshold of the Human/Animal.” Submitted.

“Maintaining Oppositions in Musar.” Journal of Jewish Ethics, Vol, 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.