Brian Smollett

Brian Smollet

Associate Provost, Curriculum and Instruction; Dean, Academic Affairs; Assistant Professor, Modern Jewish Thought

Department: Academic Affairs, Gershon Kekst Graduate School, Jewish Thought

Phone: (212) 678-8826



BA summa cum laude, MA Binghamton University, MA with distinction, JTS, MPhil, PhD, The City University of New York, Graduate Center

Dr. Brian Smollett is the associate provost for Curriculum and Instruction and the dean of Academic Affairs at JTS. He also serves as assistant professor of Modern Jewish History and Thought.

Before coming to JTS as a teacher and administrator, Dr. Smollett taught both Jewish and European history at Binghamton University, Queens College, and Hunter College, where he was also assistant director of the Jewish Studies program. At JTS, he served for six years as assistant and then associate dean of List College and the Gershon Kekst Graduate School, where he advised students in the dual-degree programs with Columbia and Barnard, and managed academic policy.  

As associate provost, Dr. Smollett ensures that curricular needs are met for each of JTS’s schools, serves as chair of the committee on instruction, and oversees all academic areas. As dean of Academic Affairs, Dr. Smollett manages academic policy, accreditation, and assessment for JTS. In this capacity, he serves as the accreditation liaison officer (ALO) for JTS to the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.     

Dr. Smollett also works closely with the Gershon Kekst Graduate School administration in recruitment and coordination of graduate degree programs, and as the primary advisor for the MA program in Jewish Studies. Dr. Smollett’s courses focus on modern Jewish history and thought, nationalism studies, and the relationship of various Jewish thinkers to the challenges of modernity.

Edited Books

  • Reappraisals and New Studies of the Modern Jewish Experience: Essays in Honor of Robert M. Seltzer. Coedited with Christian Wiese. Leiden: Brill, 2014.
  • From Catalonia to the Caribbean: The Sephardic Orbit from Medieval to Modern Times Essays in Honor of Jane S. Gerber
    Coedited with Federica Francesconi and Stanley Mirvis. Leiden: Brill, 2018.


  • “Nationalism, Belonging and Crisis: The Paths of Koppel S. Pinson and Hans Kohn,” in Simon Dubnow Institute Yearbook 15 (2016).
  • “The Rise and Fall of a Jewish Vision in the Life and Thought of Hans Kohn.” In Smollett and Wiese, Reappraisals and New Studies of the Modern Jewish Experience. Leiden: Brill, 2014.
  • “Abraham Joshua Heschel: Prophetic Leadership Confronts the Twentieth Century.” In Religious Leadership. Los Angeles: Sage, 2013.
  • Essays and reviews in: AJS Perspectives, Journal of the American Jewish Archives, and Eighteenth Century Studies.


  • “Varieties of Jewish Nationalism”
  • “The Thought and Leadership of Abraham Joshua Heschel”
  • “Totalitarianism and Jewish Thought”


Dr. Smollett’s research centers on the relationship between modern Jewish historical and political thought and the tension between universal and particular commitments.