Jonathon Catlin is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of History and the Interdisciplinary Doctoral Program in the Humanities (IHUM) at Princeton University. His dissertation is a conceptual history of “catastrophe” in twentieth-century European thought, focusing on German philosophical reflection on events including the Holocaust, the bombing of Hiroshima, 9/11, and climate change, especially in German-Jewish thought and the Frankfurt School of critical theory. His IHUM project explores aesthetic representations of catastrophe in thinkers including the novelist W. G. Sebald, the filmmakers Claude Lanzmann and Alain Resnais, and the cultural theorist Georges Didi-Huberman. Jonathon initiated and organized the international conference "Comparative Memory and Justice: The Holocaust and Racial Violence in America," which took place at Princeton on the 80th anniversary of Kristallnacht in November, 2018. His writings have appeared in The Point, Post45, Antisemitism Studies, and The Journal of the History of Ideas Blog, where he is also a contributing editor. For the 2019-2020 academic year, he is a Fulbright scholar in Germany, based at Berlin's Leibniz-Zentrum für Literatur- und Kulturforschung.
Prior to Princeton, Jonathon attended the University of Chicago, where he earned a B.A. with highest honors in Jewish Studies and Fundamentals: Issues & Texts. His senior thesis on antisemitism and Judaism in Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer’s Dialectic of Enlightenment was awarded the Leo Baeck Institute–New York Essay Prize in German-Jewish Studies. While at Chicago, he worked at the interdisciplinary humanities journal Critical Inquiry and taught philosophy in Chicago Public Schools through the Winning Words Initiative. He then earned his M.A. in philosophy, magna cum laude, from KU Leuven, in Belgium, where his thesis interrogated the concept “after Auschwitz” in the writings of Adorno. Jonathon has attended the School of Criticism and Theory at Cornell University, the Institute for Critical Social Inquiry at the New School, and the Berlin Critical Theory Summer School. He has also completed coursework at Yale, Harvard, Northwestern, Columbia, and NYU, as well as abroad in Berlin, Heidelberg, Bielefeld, Marbach, Vienna, Krakow, London, Tel Aviv, and Jerusalem.
He is happy to answer questions from prospective applicants about the program, Princeton, and intellectual history more broadly.