Jonathon Catlin is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of History and the Interdisciplinary Doctoral Program in the Humanities (IHUM). He is also affiliated with Princeton’s programs in Judaic Studies, European Cultural Studies, and Political Philosophy. His dissertation is a conceptual history of “catastrophe” in twentieth-century thought, focusing on philosophical reflection on events including the Holocaust and climate change in German-Jewish thought and the Frankfurt School of Critical Theory. His IHUM project explores aesthetic representations of catastrophe, trauma, and domestic violence through memoir and theory-fiction. Jonathon initiated the international conference "Comparative Memory and Justice: The Holocaust and Racial Violence in America," which took place on the 80th anniversary of Kristallnacht in November 2018. In 2021 he co-curated the Adorno and Identity Seminars, for which a video archive is available here. His academic writings have appeared in History and Theory, Memory Studies, Antisemitism Studies, Radical Philosophy, and The European Journal of Cultural and Political Sociology. His public-facing writings have appeared in The Point, Post45 Contemporaries, The Spectator, The Los Angeles Review of Books, EuropeNow, and The Journal of the History of Ideas Blog, where he is also a contributing editor. From 2019–2020 he was a Fulbright scholar in Germany, based at Berlin's Leibniz-Zentrum für Literatur- und Kulturforschung. For the academic year 2022–2023 he is a Fellow in the Berlin Program at Freie Universität Berlin and is involved with the commemoration of Reinhart Koselleck’s centennial anniversary at Universität Bielefeld.
Prior to Princeton, Jonathon earned his B.A. with highest honors in Jewish Studies and Fundamentals: Issues & Texts from the University of Chicago. His thesis on antisemitism and Judaism in Theodor W. Adorno and Max Horkheimer’s Dialectic of Enlightenment won the Leo Baeck Institute–New York Essay Prize in German-Jewish Studies. While at Chicago, he worked at the journal Critical Inquiry and taught philosophy in Chicago Public Schools through the Winning Words Initiative. He earned his M.A. in philosophy, magna cum laude, from KU Leuven, where his thesis interrogated the concept “after Auschwitz” in the writings of Adorno. Jonathon has also 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.
Jonathon is happy to answer questions from prospective students about the program, Princeton, and intellectual history more broadly.