Harpur College Dean's Distinguished Lecture

2024 Dean’s Distinguished Lecture:

"Everybody’s Doin’ It Now": The Peculiar Place of Jews in Early Jazz

Presented By: Jonathan Karp, Associate Professor of Judaic Studies and History

Towards the start of the 1920s ‘Jazz Age,’ a widespread misconception circulated in the popular press that the sensational new musical style then sweeping the nation was largely a “Jewish” invention. This talk explores the ethnic and racial prejudices that made possible such a misattribution, while also complicating our understanding of the real origins of America’s most admired musical genre.

Tuesday, April 16 at 5:00 pm in FA 258 (Reception to follow).

Jonathan Karp is the author of The Politics of Jewish Commerce: Economic Thought and Emancipation in Europe (Cambridge University Press, 2008) and editor or co-editor of seven volumes, including Beyond Whiteness: Revisiting Jews in Ethnic America (Purdue University Press, 2023); World War I and the Jews (Berghahn Books, 2018) with Marsha L. Rozenblit; and The Cambridge History of Judaism in the Early Modern World (Cambridge University Press, 2017) with Adam Sutcliffe. His work explores the roles that Jews have played in modern economic life and the images and stereotypes that have accompanied them. His forthcoming book is Chosen Surrogates: Jews and Blacks in the Business of American Popular Music.

Past Dean's Distinguished Lectures:

Tom McDonough, Art History
Black Monument: Ed Wilson Shapes African American History into Public Art, 1972-1984


Olga Shvetsova, Political Science
What We Learned about our Governments during this Pandemic


Jaimee Wriston Colbert, English and Creative Writing
Flight of the Palila - From Passion to Eco-Fiction, One Writer's Process

2019-20 Matt Johnson, Psychology
Predicting Marital Discord & Divorce
2018-19   Anne Bailey, History
The Weeping Time and Divided America
2017-18 Max Pensky, Philosophy and Institute for Genocide and Mass Atrocity Prevention
Is the Battle Against Impunity Worth Winning?
2016-17 Subal Kumbhakar, Economics
Performance, Productivity and Profit: A Primer
2015-16 Tim Lowenstein, Geological Sciences
Predicting future climate change from study of Earth's past
2014-15 Nancy Um, Art History
A Mosque, a Tomb, and the Arabian Legacy of Coffee
2013-14 Benjamin Fordham, Political Science
Protectionist Empire: Trade, Tariffs, and United States Foreign Policy, 1890­–1914
2012-13 Karin Sauer, Biological Sciences
Disarming Biofilms - How to Turn a Microbe Against Itself
2011-12 Maria Mazziotti Gillan, English
William Carlos Williams, Allen Ginsberg, and Paterson: Poets of the City
2010-11 Donald Quataert, History
Views from Below and the Writing of Ottoman History
2009-10 Marilynn Desmond, English and Comparative Literature
Transitional Feminism and the Middle Ages
2008-09 J. Koji Lum, Anthropology and Biological Sciences
Human Settlement and Malaria of the Pacific
2007-08 Thomas Dublin, History
The Face of Decline - Deindustrialization in Pennsylvania Anthracite Religion

The Harpur College Dean's Distinguished Lecture was inaugurated in 1998 as an annual forum to feature the exemplary research and scholarly and creative work that is being conducted across the disciplines in Harpur College. These lectures also provide an opportunity for distinguished members of the Harpur College faculty to address an audience of their peers and students, in addition to the wider local community. The Harpur Dean's Distinguished Lecture is open to the public. The Harpur College Dean's Distinguished Lecture is co-sponsored by the Binghamton Chapter of United University Professions.