David Sorkin joined the doctoral faculty in fall 2011 as distinguished professor of history and also serves as director of the Center for Jewish Studies. An internationally renowned scholar of modern Jewish history, he has worked throughout his career to integrate European intellectual history and Jewish history, by locating the latter in the context of the majority society; by illuminating developments in Judaism through comparison with other religions; and by writing a comparative intellectual history that includes Judaism, Protestantism, and Catholicism. His current project is a comparative history of Jewish emancipation in Europe spanning 1550 to 1950.
Sorkin’s books include The Transformation of German Jewry, 1780–1840 (1987); Moses Mendelssohn and the Religious Enlightenment (1996), which has been translated into French, German, and Italian; The Berlin Haskalah and German Religious Thought (2000); and The Religious Enlightenment: Protestants, Jews and Catholics from London to Vienna (2008). Among his numerous awards and grants are fellowships from the British Academy, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation. He has been a Visiting Fellow at the Max Planck Institute, All Souls College, the Center for Advanced Judaic Studies (University of Pennsylvania), and the Swedish Colloquium for Advanced Studies (Uppsala).
Before he came to the Graduate Center, Sorkin taught at Brown University (1983–86), Oxford University (1986–92) and the University of Wisconsin–Madison (1992–2011), where he served as professor of history and Frances and Laurence Weinstein Professor of Jewish Studies; he was also a visiting professor at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (Paris) and the Scuola Normale Superiore (Pisa). He earned his B.A. from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and his Ph.D. from University of California, Berkeley.