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Jack Kugelmass, PhD

Professor, Department of Anthropology

Melton Legislative Professor and Director, Center for Jewish Studies

Office: Walker Hall, Room 201
Phone: (352) 392-9247


  • Ph.D. New School for Social Research
  • M.A. New School for Social Research
  • B.A. McGill University

Research Interests


Personal Statement

I am a cultural anthropologist with a background and continuing interest in critical theory. I’ve done fieldwork in Poland and New York City and have an increasing interest in Israel. I’ve long considered myself an urban anthropologist with a strong connection both to traditional neighborhood ethnography as well as to public culture and the study of museums, festivals and restaurants. I have a love for ethnography, writing and photography and enjoy teaching all three. In recent years I’ve become increasingly fascinated by the anthropology of travel. Some of my research in this area involves participation observation, but I find myself increasingly drawn to the study of travel books. My current project looks at Yiddish travel books over a fifty year period between the First World War until the 1960s. Although there are a number of interesting theoretical foci to the essays in this study, the fact is that I like narrative and am drawn to these books in part because of that, and I try to use translation to communicate to readers the narrative strengths of this minor literary genre. The anthropology in these essays is to analyze the social and political issues that underlie the narratives, to see how a group uses the imaginary realm of elsewhere to think through its own predicament especially when its present and future are precarious and home and citizenship are increasingly contested.

Positions and Honors

Positions and Employment


Other Experience and Professional Memberships



Selected Publications

Kugelmass, J. 2014. Sifting the Ruins: Emigre Jewish Journalists’ Return Visits to the Old Country, 1946-1948. University of Michigan, pp. 1-62.

Kugelmass, J. 2013.’I’m a Gentile!’ Border Dramas and Jewish Continuity. In Dynamic Belonging: Contemporary Jewish Collective Identities, edited by Harvey Goldberg, Steven M. Cohen, and Ezra Kopelowitz, pp. 223-236. Berghahn Books, New York.

Kugelmass, J. 2010. Rites of the Tribe: The Meaning of Poland for American Jewish Visitors. In Tourists and Tourism: A Reader, edited by Sharon Bohn Gmelch, pp. 369-396. Waveland Press, Long Grove, IL.

Kugelmass, J. (editor). 2006. Jews, Sports and the Rites of Citizenship. Illinois University Press, Champaign.

Kugelmass, J. (editor). 2003. Key Texts in American Jewish Culture. Rutgers University Press, New Brunswick, NJ.

More Publications Available on Google Scholar

Contribution to Science


Research Support

Ongoing Research Support

Completed Research Support (within the past three years)

Courses Taught