Dr. Ranen Omer-Sherman joins the Humanities Program

Dr. Ranen Omer-Sherman joins the Humanities Program

Dr. Ranen Omer-Sherman

Dr. Ranen Omer-Sherman comes to the faculty of the College of Arts and Sciences as the first Jewish Heritage Fund for Excellence Endowed Chair of Judaic Studies at the University of Louisville.  He earned his Ph.D. in English from the University of Notre Dame.  After several years as assistant professor at Saint Louis University in Madrid, Spain, he returned to Notre Dame where he was promoted to full professor of English in 2009.

The significance of the JHFE Chair was recently addressed by University of Louisville President James Ramsey, who noted that this endowed chair in Humanities will “fill an important need in the university’s religious studies program by offering students the opportunity to learn about Jewish culture, history and accomplishments – including those unique to Louisville – as they work toward a degree.”

Dr. Omer-Sherman is the author of three books and the co-editor of two.  In addition, he has contributed countless journal essays and book chapters to major publications. Recognized for his excellence in scholarship and teaching, Dr. Omer-Sherman has been the recipient of at least 40 awards and honors, including the prestigious Frankel Institute for Advanced Judaic Studies Fellowship at the University of Michigan in 2012.

His areas of specialization in scholarship and teaching include Holocaust and Israeli literature and film in the interdisciplinary contexts of religious studies, history, and sociology. Special areas of interest include the Jewish graphic novel, coming of age narratives, war in contemporary Israeli arts and culture, Israeli and Palestinian representations of “the other” in art and film.  He is also a student of the kibbutz and of the desert as image of exile. Why is that?

A California native, he moved to Israel in 1975, at age 17, where he was a founding member of a kibbutz, served as an IDF paratrooper , and worked as a desert guide in the Negev and Sinai.   After 13 years, he returned to the United States to attend college and graduate school. As his chair, Professor Elaine Wise, has noted, “We are so glad that he returned and prospered—so that he could join the faculty of the interdisciplinary Humanities program and of the College as the JHFE Endowed Chair of Judaic Studies!”  Dr. Omer-Sherman is joined by his wife, Michal Kofman, who will teach in the Department of Sociology.