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Zelda and Myer Tandetnik Professorship in Yiddish Language, Literature, and Culture

Zanvyl Krieger School of Arts and Sciences

Established in 2003 by Philip Myers in memory of his parents

MyersPhilipPHILIP MYERS, MD, A&S 1933, formed his appreciation for the language and culture of his heritage by listening to his father read the Forward and other Yiddish newspapers and publications. A Baltimore native, Dr. Myers earned his medical degree at the University of Maryland. He was certified by the American Board of Radiology in 1942 and served as lieutenant commander, U.S. Naval Reserve Medical Corps, during World War II. He went on to work in Veterans Affairs hospitals in North Carolina and Tennessee and later maintained a private medical practice in Baltimore for 18 years. As a loyal and dedicated Hopkins alumnus, Dr. Myers also funded an endowment to bring visiting scholars to teach Yiddish literature at Johns Hopkins and created an acquisition fund for the Milton S. Eisenhower Library for Yiddish resources. By establishing the Tandetnik Professorship, he honored his parents who were proud of the many Johns Hopkins alumni and friends among family members. Dr. Myers died in 2004.


Held by Samuel Spinner

SAMUEL SPINNER, Ph.D., received his B.A. from Johns Hopkins University and his Ph.D. from Columbia University in 2012. From 2012 to 2014, he was the Ross Visiting Assistant Professor of Yiddish and Jewish Studies in the Department of Germanic Languages at the University of California, Los Angeles. From 2014-2017 he was a postdoctoral fellow at Hopkins.

His research and teaching encompass Yiddish and German-Jewish literature and culture from the 19th century to the present. His interests include modernism; the history of anthropology; museum studies; visual culture; and Holocaust studies.

His book Jewish Primitivism will be published by Stanford University Press in July 2021. Jewish Primitivism examines the relations of literary, visual, and ethnographic understandings of Jewish identity and aesthetics in modern Europe, locating points of contact with broader modernist discourses of identity. His next book, tentatively titled Monuments of Books: Holocaust Museums and Literature, explores the aesthetics of monumentality in literature in relation to Holocaust representation and remembrance. He has also worked on early modern Jewish culture, and translated one of the first books written by a Jewish woman—the Yiddish ethical text Meneket Rivkah, published by JPS (2009).

Professor Spinner is a co-editor of “German Jewish Cultures,” a book series published by Indiana University Press and serves as an editor of the Yiddish Studies journal In Geveb.