Aaron J. Hahn Tapper, the Mae and Benjamin Swig Professor in Jewish Studies and the founding Director of the Swig Program in Jewish Studies and Social Justice, has been at USF since 2007. An educator for more than two decades, his primary academic interest is the intersection between identity formation, social justice, and marginalized groups.
Aaron completed his PhD in the Religious Studies Department at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he studied the History of Religions, the Sociology of Religions, Nonviolence and Religions, Politics and Religions, and Modern Islamic Movements. His Dissertation focused on the relationship between power, the sociopolitical context of Israel and Palestine, and Jewish and Islamic religious law (halachah and shari'a, respectively). He also received an MTS from Harvard Divinity School, where he focused on World Religions, and a BA from Johns Hopkins University, where he majored in Psychology.
In 2003 he founded Abraham's Vision, a conflict transformation organization that ran educational programs within and between the Muslim, Jewish, Palestinian, and Israeli communities, for whom he served as Co-Executive Director through May 2013. Currently, he is the Executive Director of the Center for Transformative Education, an educational initiative aiming to create empowering educational programs to transform societies into their potential, which he co-founded in 2008.
Aaron has lived and studied abroad in a number of places, including Bir Zeit, Cairo, Fes, the Hague, and Jerusalem. Academically fluent in multiple dialects of Hebrew and Arabic, he has received numerous awards and fellowships for his work, including the Harvard University Frederick Sheldon Traveling Fellowship, the Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship, and the Wexner Graduate Fellowship.
He has co-edited two volumes -- Muslims and Jews in America: Commonalities, Contentions, and Complexities, with Reza Aslan (2011) and Social Justice and Israel/Palestine: Foundational and Contemporary Debates, with Mira Sucharov (2019) -- and written Judaisms: A Twenty-First-Century Introduction to Jews and Jewish Identities (2016).
During the 2013-14 academic year, Aaron was a Fulbright Senior Scholar in Australia. Affiliated with the University of Melbourne and Monash University, he traveled around the country conducting research on how Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders (sometimes referred to as the "First Peoples" of Australia) have received former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's political apology, delivered in February 2008. He is currently writing a book on this research, comparing the situation of Australia's First Peoples with that of Native Americans.
- Program Director, Jewish Studies and Social Justice
- PhD, Religious Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara
- MTS, Harvard Divinity School
- BA, Johns Hopkins University
- Identity Formation
- Social Justice
- Marginalized Groups (e.g., Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, “Cults,” Jews, Muslims)
- Selected Publications
Hahn Tapper, A. and Sucharov, M., co-eds. (2019). Social Justice and Israel/Palestine: Foundational and Contemporary Debates. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.
Hahn Tapper, A. (2016). Judaisms: A Twenty-First Century Introduction to Jewish Identities. Oakland, CA: University of California Press.
Hahn Tapper, A. and Kroll-Zeldin, O. (2015). "Paulo Freire and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: The Pedagogy of a Social Justice Education Program in Israel and Palestine." International Journal for Education and Social Justice (Revista Internacional de Education para la Justicia Social) 4(1), 71-88.
Hahn Tapper, A. (2014). "Will the ‘Real’ Jew Please Stand Up! Karaites, Israelites, Messianists, and the Kabbalah Centre.” In Who is a Jew? Reflections on History, Religion, and Culture, ed. Leonard Greenspoon. West Lafayette, IN: Purdue University Press.
Hahn Tapper, A. (2013). “A Pedagogy of Social Justice Education: Social Identity Theory, Intersectionality, and Empowerment.”Conflict Resolution Quarterly, 30(4), 411-445.
Hahn Tapper, A. (2013). “Nonviolence in Religions.” In The International Encyclopedia of Ethics, ed. Hugh LaFollette. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Blackwell.
- Hahn Tapper, A. (2011). “The War of Words: Jews, Muslims, and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict on American University Campuses.” In Muslims and Jews in America: Commonalities, Contentions, and Complexities. New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan.
Hahn Tapper, A. and Aslan, R., co-eds. (2011). Muslims and Jews in America: Commonalities, Contentions, and Complexities. New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan.
Hahn Tapper, A. (2005). “Hamas Pacifists and Settler Islamophiles: Defining Nonviolence in the Holy Land.” Tikkun Magazine, 20(4), 56-58.
Hahn Tapper, A. (2005). “Towards a Jewish Theology of Nonviolence”, Tikkun Magazine, 20(2), 56-58.
Hahn Tapper, A. (2002). “The ‘Cult’ of Aish Hatorah: Ba’alei Teshuvah and the New Religious Movement Phenomenon.” Jewish Journal of Sociology, 44(1-2), 5-29.