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Jared Cohen

Research Interests

  • Jewish German Studies
  • Literary Modernism
  • Critical Theory
  • Religion, Mysticism, and Revolution
  • Holocaust and Memory Studies


Research Description

The locus of my research is humanist Utopia and Jewish messianism, particularly in the Germanosphere of the early twentieth century. I explore the liberatory and egalitarian tendencies in both secular and religious thought that arose through and in response to the transformations undergone by the humanist tradition in the modernist era. While at the same time as nationalism and ethnic chauvinism grew in strength throughout the region, parts of Central Europe also saw the expansion of individual freedom, human rights, and cosmopolitanism in a period of intensified socialist hopes. My research focuses on the Jewish-German thinkers, assimilated yet distinct, whose revolutionary ideas land in the broader Left response to the seismic shifts in European culture and political economy. Living at the confluence of what Michael Löwy calls romantic anti-capitalism and an increasingly ambiguous religious heritage, these thinkers belonged to a unique world that came into being with imperially decreed emancipation and flourished in the interwar democratic experiment before facing utter destruction in the Shoah and disappointment under Soviet Realsozialismus.

I am deeply interested in the poetry of Paul Celan and have variously written on the affinities between his work and the philosophy of Martin Heidegger, Martin Buber, and Ernst Bloch. I have analyzed Utopia, dialogue, and commemoration as they are approached in Celan’s poetry as his response to the experience of disappointment and disaster. Other important writers to my research include Franz Kafka, Walter Benjamin, Theodor Adorno, and Gershom Scholem. I am interested in modernist literature and poetry more broadly, as well as literary and philosophical treatments of revolution in socialist and religious contexts.



B.A. McGill University, Joint Honours in Mathematics and German Studies

M.A. McGill University, German Studies


Awards and Honors

  • 2023 Distinguished Graduate Fellowship in Humanities and Arts
  • 2022 The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Master's Scholarship
  • 2022 German Society of Montreal Scholarship
  • 2021 Angela C. Kramer Award
  • 2021 McCall MacBain Fellowship in Arts
  • 2020 Hans and Eugenia Jütting Scholarship
  • 2020 German Embassy Book Prize
  • 2020 FUBiS Scholarship


Additional Campus Affiliations

Graduate Research Colloquium Organizer for Germanic Languages & Literatures

Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures