Associate Professor of Sociology and Jewish Studies
Director of Undergraduate Studies, Sociology
Affiliated Faculty, American Studies, and German, Russian and East European Studies
Shaul Kelner is Associate Professor of Sociology and Jewish Studies. He specializes in the sociology of American Jews. His first book, Tours That Bind: Diaspora, Pilgrimage and Israeli Birthright Tourism (NYU Press), won the Association for Jewish Studies’ Jordan Schnitzer Book Award was named Honorable Mention for the American Sociological Association Culture Section’s Mary Douglas Prize for Best Book. His current research project is a National Endowment for the Humanities-supported study of the Cold War-era struggle to free Soviet Jews. Prof. Kelner has been a Fellow of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Institute for Advanced Studies and the University of Michigan’s Frankel Institute for Advanced Judaic Studies, as well as a visiting scholar in Tel Aviv University’s Department of Sociology and Anthropology. He has served as a board member of the Association for Jewish Studies and the Association for the Social Scientific Study of Jewry. He received his Ph.D in 2002 from the CUNY Graduate Center, which he attended as a Wexner Graduate Fellow. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Vanderbilt’s College of Arts and Science recognized him with an Innovative Teaching Award for Creating Engaging In-Person Learning Environments.
Kelner, Shaul. 2020. “Foreign Tourists, Domestic Encounters: Human Rights Travel to Soviet Jewish Homes,” Ch. 5 in Sune Bechmann Pedersen and Christian Noack, eds. Tourism and Travel during the Cold War: Negotiating Tourist Experiences across the Iron Curtain, London: Routledge. Pp. 98-122.
Kelner, Shaul. 2019. “À la rencontre des juifs de l'autre côté du rideau de fer : récits de voyage de juifs américains et représentation du judaïsme en Union soviétique” [“Encountering Jews on the other Side of the Iron Curtain: American Jewish Travel Writing and the Representation of Judaism in the Soviet Union”], in Andreas Nijenhuis-Bescher, Susanne Berthier-Foglar, Gilles Bertrand and Frédéric Meyer, eds., Frontières et altérité religieuse : La religion dans le récit de voyage. Rennes, France: Presses Universitaires De Rennes. Pp. 253-273.
Kelner, Shaul. 2018. “The American Soviet Jewry Movement’s ‘Uneventful’ 1968: Cold War Liberalism, Human Interest and the Politics of the Long Haul.” American Jewish History 102(1), 5-35.
Kelner, Shaul. 2016. “Veneration and Critique: Israel, the Sociology of American Judaism and the Problematics of Sovereignty.” Jewish Studies Quarterly 23, 194–221.
Kelner, Shaul. 2014. “American Jewish Sociology.” Oxford Bibliographies in Jewish Studies. Ed. David Biale. New York: Oxford University Press
Kelner, Shaul. 2011. “In Its Own Image: Independent Philanthropy and the Cultivation of Young Jewish Leadership.” Pp. 261-321 in The New Jewish Leaders: Reshaping the American Jewish Landscape, edited by J. Wertheimer. Hanover, NH: University Press of New England.
Kelner, Shaul. 2010. Tours That Bind: Diaspora, Pilgrimage and Israeli Birthright Tourism. New York: New York University Press.
Kelner, Shaul. 2008. “Ritualized Protest and Redemptive Politics: Cultural Consequences of the American Mobilization to Free Soviet Jewry.” Jewish Social Studies 14(3): 1-37.