Professor of Religious Studies Michael Dobkowski has been named the John Milton Potter Chair in the Humanities.
A member of the Colleges’ faculty since 1976, Professor of Religious Studies Michael Dobkowski has been named the John Milton Potter Chair in the Humanities. Dobkowski is a scholar of the American Jewish experience, Holocaust Studies, religion and violence, Jewish thought, and anti-Semitism.
“I am honored and humbled to be named the John Milton Potter Professor of Humanities. It is a recognition of the importance of Religious Studies, Jewish and Holocaust Studies in the liberal arts curriculum of the Colleges and the dedication and accomplishments of the many students who have pursued these areas of study and experience,” Dobkowski says. “It will help enable the completion of several research projects I have been engaged in and further the collaboration with the Wroxton College Symposium group of international scholars.”
Dobkowski holds a doctorate in history from New York University. A prolific author, he has written or edited The Politics of Indifference: Documentary History of Holocaust Victims in America and Jewish American Voluntary Organizations, The Coming Age of Scarcity and Genocide and The Modern Age. He is the co-author of Nuclear Weapons, Nuclear States & Terrorism, On the Edge of Scarcity and The Nuclear Predicament: Nuclear Weapons in the 21st Century. He has co-written other volumes on the Holocaust and genocide.
Academically and interpersonally, both inside and outside of the classroom, Dobkowski has worked to create opportunities for student growth. He was instrumental in establishing the biannual HWS experience, “The March: Bearing Witness to Hope.” Founded in 2002, the trip to Germany and Poland offers participants a unique and memorable experience focusing on important landmarks and historical sites central to understanding the Nazi period and World War II, culminating in the Holocaust. He also works with the Human Rights and Genocide Symposium, working to broaden student and community knowledge, encourage deep reflection and the pursuit of justice, and build student-leadership skills.
A recipient of the Faculty Scholarship Prize in 2008, Dobkowski is a former chair of the Religious Studies Department. He teaches a range of interdisciplinary courses, where he weaves religious studies with analysis of history, art and sociology including “Modern Jewish History,” “History of East European Jewry,” “Zionism, Israel and the Middle East Conflict,” “Literary and Theological Responses to the Holocaust” and with Professor of Religious Studies Richard Salter “Torah and Testament.”
He is a founding member and frequent participant in the Goldner (now Weinstein) Holocaust Symposium at Wroxton College in England and was a fellow at the Institute for the Teaching of the Post-Biblical Foundations of Western Civilization at the Jewish Theological Seminary.
An engaged community member, Dobkowski has chaired the Jewish Community Federations Committee for Holocaust Awareness and Information, served as officer and president of the local Jewish day school and is the founder of Ora Academy, a Jewish high school for girls, and serves as an adult education teacher. He was also appointed as chair of the Max and Marian Farash Charitable Foundation’s committee that established the Farash Fellowship for the Advancement of Jewish Humanities and Culture.