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 and mysticism
  • 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 manuscript, More than Love: Figures of Family in Modern Jewish Thought, examines representations of family relationships in major works of twentieth century Jewish thought. I focus on the roles of embodiment, relational ethics, erotic love, and identity formation in the work of major figures, including Emmanuel Levinas and Franz Rosenzweig. In doing so, I consider how their philosophical approaches are shaped by constructions of gender difference. I draw an intellectual trajectory that extends beyond the traditional scope of the field, paying close attention to tropes of kinship. My next research project examines sacrificial narratives, popular culture, and post-Shoah ethics.

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.

Awards and Honors

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

“Maintaining Oppositions in Musar.” Journal of Jewish Ethics. Forthcoming, 2016.

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

“Levinas on Substitution, Embodiment and an Ethics of Maternal Sacrifice” (In revision).

“Figuring the Animal/Human in Post-Shoah Ethics” (In preparation).