Jack Jacobs

Position: Professor
Campus Affiliation: Graduate Center|John Jay College of Criminal Justice
Degrees/Diplomas: Ph.D. Columbia University
Research Interests: Marxism, Critical Theory, Jewish political thought and movements

Professor Jacobs was an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Columbia before coming to CUNY, and is now Professor of Political Science at CUNY’s John Jay College. In 1996-1997, Professor Jacobs served as a Fulbright Research Scholar at Tel Aviv University. In 1998, he was a visiting scholar at the Simon-Dubnow-Institut fuer juedische Geschichte und Kultur at Leipzig University. He served as Dr. Emanuel Patt Visiting Professor at the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research during the academic year 2003-2004, and was a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Vilnius in 2009. He has been the recipient of grants from the Lucius N. Littauer Foundation, the German Academic Exchange Service, the Friedrich Ebert Foundation, the American Council of Learned Societies, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Leo Baeck Institute, and the Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture, among other sources. He is the author of On Socialists and “the Jewish Question” after Marx (New York University Press, 1992), which also appeared in German (Decaton Verlag, 1994), and of Bundist Counterculture in Interwar Poland (Syracuse University Press, 2009), and is the editor of Jewish Politics in Eastern Europe: The Bund at 100 (New York University Press, 2001). His most recent book, The Frankfurt School, Jewish Lives, and Antisemitism, was published by Cambridge University Press in 2015. He is currently working on a volume on Jews and the political left, which is also scheduled to be published by Cambridge.


jacobs_jewishpolJack Jacobs, ed., Jewish Politics in Eastern Europe: The Bund at 100 (New York: NYU Press, 2001).

The Bund was the first modern Jewish political party in Eastern Europe and, arguably, the strongest Jewish party in Poland on the eve of the Second World War. Though 100 years have passed since its inception, the Bund and its legacy continue to be of abiding interest.

Founded illegally and operated under the most adverse conditions, the Bund grew dramatically in the years immediately after its 1897 creation in Czarist Russia. It helped to organize the Russian Social Democratic Workers Party, it organized armed self-defense groups to fight against pogroms, and it played a significant role in the Russian Revolution of 1905. The Bundist became for many the symbol of the new Jew–enlightened, willing to fight for Jewish rights and needs, and unwilling to accept the status quo of Jewish communities dominated by the orthodox and the wealthy, and of a Russia oppressed by the Czar. Later, Bundist members were among those who contributed substantially to armed resistance in Nazi occupied Poland.

Jewish Politics in Eastern Europe makes use of previously unexamined source materials to offer a range of new perspectives on the significance of the Bund and its ideas. Its fresh and insightful approaches will be of interest to all those concerned with Eastern European Jewry, Russian, Polish, and Ukranian history, and the history of socialist and labor movements.

jacobs_socialistsandthejewishquestionJack Jacobs, On Socialists and the Jewish Question after Marx (New York: NYU Press, 1993)

Mastering a vast array of primary and secondary sources in more than five languages, Dr. Jacobs’ meticulous research … is an impressive piece of scholarship which enhances our understanding of an often troubled, yet important symbiotic relationship.
–Andrei S. Markovits, Harvard University Author of The Politics of West German Trade Unions

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