Deborah Kaye

Ph.D., Senior Lecturer, Career Track, Judaic Studies

Social Sciences #111A

Deborah Kaye earned her Ph.D. in Modern European History from the University of Arizona and her M.A. in Jewish History from The University of Michigan. Her research interests include nineteenth century Italian liberalism and Jewish corporatism.  Research for Dr. Kaye’s dissertation Between Ghetto and State: Religious Policy, Liberal Reform and Jewish Corporate Politics in Piedmont, 1821-1831 was funded by a number of prestigious grants including the Fulbright, Krieble Delmas, Mellon, and Marshall fellowships.

Her current book project entitled The Catholic Church and the Emancipation of the Jews in Modern Italy, 1815-1921 draws on her dissertation research to reveal the ways in which the process leading to Jewish emancipation in Italy undermined the Catholic Church’s capacity to compete effectively for its interests. It contends that Jewish emancipation was not just a change imposed by Napoleon, but also a peculiar way of medieval corporatism.  Although much has been written about the intellectual and socioeconomic processes of Jewish assimilation and political integration by scholars of modern Jewish history, little if, any work has focused on the effects of Jewish emancipation on the institutional politics of the Catholic Church in Europe. This book when published will contribute to looking at the emancipation problematic within the larger context of European history. 

Kaye also has an article that will be published in the European History Quarterlyentitled “The Social Origins of Italian Democracy: Jewish Ghettos and Neo-Absolutist Revivals in Piedmont (1821-1848)” which connects the subject of Jewish history and the liberalization of Italian politics in the nineteenth century through a study of ghettoization in Piedmont.  
In Dr. Kaye’s teaching, her versatility for teaching various types of course subjects and modalities is evident in the numerous online and correspondence courses she created for Judaic Studies beginning in 2008 and listed below.  Kaye also pioneered the development of Judaic Studies offerings in the university’s Evening and Weekend program.  Note that she has consistently offered students the opportunity to enroll in Saturday classes for nearly ten years.

Among the courses she has developed and taught for Judaic Studies are Modern Israel (JUS 377), Modern and Medieval Jewish History (JUS 370A and JUS 370B) Women and Judaism (JUS 321), Jewish Thought and Culture and Israeli Fiction and Poetry (JUS 348).   Kaye also teaches courses for the university’s History department where she leads a class in the History of the Holocaust (HIST 374) as well as a senior seminar in research which focuses on Migration and Diaspora studies and includes a Jewish history component.  

More recently, she developed a course for the Religious Studies department in European secularization which includes units on Jewish culture.