FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – The Indiana University Jacobs School of Music is pleased to announce the appointment of musicologist Judah Cohen as the school’s inaugural associate dean for faculty affairs, research and creative activity.
The new position will serve as a liaison between the Jacobs School of Music, the Office of the Vice Provost for Research and the Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty and Academic Affairs.
Cohen is currently professor of music in musicology at Jacobs, the Lou and Sybil Mervis Professor of Jewish Culture in the Robert A. and Sandra S. Borns Jewish Studies Program in the College and associate vice provost for faculty and academic affairs.
From Jan. 1 through March 31, 2024, Cohen will divide his time between the Jacobs School of Music and the Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty and Academic Affairs before serving full time at Jacobs beginning April 1. He will maintain his named professorship as the Lou and Sybil Mervis Professor of Jewish Culture.
“Judah’s experiences as director of the Borns Jewish Studies program and as associate vice provost for faculty and academic affairs have exceptionally prepared him for this new position,” said Abra Bush, David Henry Jacobs Bicentennial Dean. “I am delighted to welcome him to the Jacobs leadership team.”
Cohen’s research interests include music in Jewish life, American music, musical theater, popular culture, Caribbean Jewish history, diaspora and medical ethnomusicology. His training as a musicologist and an anthropologist, and his professional activity within Jewish studies have allowed him to explore many aspects of Jewish culture and history.
As a child, Cohen spent two years in St. Thomas, U.S.V.I., and he returned to the island in his first book, “Through the Sands of Time: A History of the Jewish Community of St. Thomas, U.S.V.I.,” which is both a historical narrative and a meditation on writing the history of a small community.
Subsequent projects have led him to investigate the history of Jewish music scholarship in the United States, musical theater works that address Holocaust memory, contemporary forms of Jewish musical expression and musical representations of such cultural figures as Anne Frank and Shylock.
Over the course of four books and over 50 articles, Cohen has explored the idea of Jewish cultural expression as a dynamic and ever-changing process, created and recreated over time by artists, religious leaders, philosophers and activists. He has aimed to understand this idea largely through the prism of sound and its relationship to ideas of Jewish identity.
Since coming to Indiana University in 2006, Cohen has received the IU Trustees Teaching Award in both 2008 and 2011, served four years on the Bloomington Faculty Council and completed a two-year term as director of the Borns Jewish Studies Program. He received the Greater Hudson Heritage Network Award for Excellence in 2011 for his book “Sounding Jewish Tradition: The Music of Central Synagogue.”