Amos Bitzan

Position title: Frances and Laurence Weinstein Assistant Professor of History


Phone: 608.263.1812

Office: 4134 Mosse Humanities
Mailbox: 4012 Mosse Humanities
Office Hours: TBA
Joint Appointment: Center for Jewish Studies

Amos Bitzan


I am a historian of modern European Jewish history, with a research focus on intellectual and cultural history in the German lands, from the late eighteenth to the early twentieth century. I work on the histories of scholarship, reading, and religion, and situate these against the emergence of modern empires, states, nationalisms, and religious communities. More specifically, I am interested in how the transformation of intellectual pursuits such as philosophy, history, and philology into professionalized academic disciplines transformed the religious practices and ideas that had long animated the pursuit of knowledge.

My first book project explores how the rise of novel ways of reading, including the possibility of “reading for pleasure” as well as the idea of reading texts as historical sources, challenged prevailing conceptions of Judaism by Jewish, Christian, and secular Europeans beginning in the late eighteenth century and until long into the nineteenth century. I argue for the importance of reading practices in the construction of Judaism as a religion in this period. A second project on which I am currently working is a study of the major Central European Jewish historians of the nineteenth century and their ambivalent relationships to German nationalism and the Prussian state.

My teaching interests include the history of the Jews in the modern and early modern periods, the history of Jewish thought, antisemitism and anti-Judaism, and the history of Zionism and the State of Israel.


Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley
M.A., University of California, Berkeley
B.A., Princeton University

Selected Publications

Selected Awards

  • Charlotte W. Newcombe Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship, Woodrow Wilson Foundation
  • Townsend Humanities Center Dissertation Fellowship, University of California, Berkeley
  • Center for Jewish History Fellowship, Cahnman Foundation Fellow
  • Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Pre-Dissertation Award through the Council for European Studies at Columbia University
  • German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) Fellowship

Advisor To

History Courses