Department of Humanities and Social Sciences in the Professions


Benjamin M. Jacobs

Assistant Professor of Social Studies, Education and Jewish Studies

Benjamin M. Jacobs

Phone: 212-992-9472

Benjamin M. Jacobs holds a joint position as assistant director of the Education and Jewish Studies program in the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences in the Professions and assistant professor of social studies education in the Department of Teaching and Learning. Among other areas, Jacobs' research interests include social education, Jewish education, history of education, curriculum studies, teacher education, and education of ethnic groups. His publications include several studies of the history and theory of social education and Jewish education on the American scene. He is presently working on a variety of document-based historical studies of social studies education in higher education settings. He is also exploring the potential for cosmopolitan education in Jewish schools.

Jacobs received his Ph.D. from Teachers College, Columbia University, where he served as an instructor and supervisor in the social studies program from 2002-2005. He also served as adjunct instructor and program coordinator of the Education and Jewish Studies program at Steinhardt from 2000-2005, and assistant professor of social studies education at the University of Minnesota from 2005-2010. Prior to pursuing his doctorate, Jacobs taught history and social studies at a Jewish day high school outside Washington, D.C.

Jacobs is currently secretary of the Network for Research in Jewish Education and a past chair of the Teaching History SIG of the American Educational Research Association. In 2010, he was awarded the Exemplary Research in Social Studies Award by the National Council for the Social Studies.

Degrees Held

  • Ph.D. Teachers College, Columbia University 2005
    Social Studies and Education
  • B.A. Columbia College, Columbia University 1993

Selected Publications

  • Jacobs, B. M. (2014). Social studies as a means for the preparation of teachers: A look back at the foundations of social foundations courses. Curriculum Inquiry, 44(2), 249-275.
  • Jacobs, B. M. (2013). Social studies teacher education in the early 20th century: A historical inquiry into the relationship between teacher preparation and curriculum reform. Teachers College Record, 115(12).
  • Jacobs, B. M. (2013). Problems and prospects of Jewish education for intelligent citizenship in a post-everything world. Diaspora, Indigenous, and Minority Education: Studies of Migration, Integration, Equity, and Cultural Survival, 7(1), 39-53. (link)
  • Jacobs, B. M. (2012). Around the world in 80 pages: Notable trade books through the lens of “cosmopolitan education.” Social Studies and the Young Learner, 25(2), 28-32.
  • Jacobs, B. M. (2011). What kind of Jew are you? Reflections of an American Jewish educator. Journal of Jewish Identities, 4(2), 49-69
  • Jacobs, B. M., & Shem-Tov, Y. (2011). History: Issues in the teaching and learning of Jewish history. In A. Pomson, L. Grant, & H. Miller (Eds.), International handbook of Jewish education (pp. 441-460). New York: Springer.
  • Jacobs, B. M. (2011). Education, North America: Day schools. In J. Baskin (Ed.), Cambridge dictionary of Judaism and Jewish culture (pp.145-146). New York: Cambridge University Press.
  • Jacobs, B. M. (2010). Dewey Laboratory School. In C. Kridel (Ed.), Encyclopedia of curriculum studies (pp. 290-291). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.
  • Jacobs, B. M. (2009). Affordances and constraints in social studies curriculum-making: The case of “Jewish social studies” in the early 20th century. Theory and Research in Social Education, 37(4), 515-542.
  • Jacobs, B. M. (2009). Socialization into a civilization: The Dewey-Kaplan synthesis in American Jewish schooling in the early twentieth century. Religious Education, 104(2), 149-165.
  • Marino, M., & Jacobs, B. M. (2009). The modeling approach to social studies teacher education. In E. E. Heilman, R. Fruja, & M. Missias (Eds.), Social studies and diversity teacher education: What we do and why (pp. 320-323). New York: Routledge.
  • Jacobs, B. M. (2008). Social studies. In G. McCulloch and D. Crook (Eds.), International encyclopedia of education (pp. 553-554). London: Routledge.
  • Sato, M., Jacobs, B. M., & Avery, P. G. (2008). Preparing Minnesota teachers for diverse contexts. CURA Reporter, 38(1), 23-29.
  • Jacobs, B. M. (2005). What’s wrong with the history of American Jewish education? Journal of Jewish Education, 71(1), 33-51.
  • Chazan, R., & Jacobs, B. M. (2005). Jewish history from the academy to the schools: Bridging the gap. In M. Nisan & O. Schremer (Eds.), Educational deliberations: Studies in education dedicated to Shlomo (Seymour) Fox (pp. 157-180). Jerusalem: Keter Publishing House.
  • Jacobs, B. M. (2004). Jewish education for intelligent citizenship in the American Jewish community, 1910-1940. In C. Woyshner, J. Watras, & M. S. Crocco (Eds.), Social education in the twentieth century: Curriculum and context for citizenship (pp. 76-92). New York: Peter Lang.
  • Jacobs, B. M. (2002). Where the personal and the pedagogical meet: A portrait of a master teacher of Jewish history. Journal of Jewish Education, 68(1), 73-86.


SOCED-UE.1039/GE.2042  Teaching Social Studies in the Middle/Secondary School

EJST-GE.2008/9  Masters Seminar and Capstone in Education and Jewish Studies

SOCED-GE.2140  Culminating Research Seminar: History/Social Studies Workshop


  • 2010 : Exemplary Research in Social Studies Award, National Council for the Social Studies
  • 2005 : Ph.D. with Distinction, Columbia University
  • 2004 : Maurice and Marilyn Cohen Dissertation Fellowship, National Foundation for Jewish Culture
  • 2004 : Young Scholars Award, Network for Research in Jewish Education
  • 1998 : Laurie Tisch / Dewey Scholar, Teachers College, Columbia University
  • 1998 : Wexner Graduate Fellowship