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The College of Arts and Sciences

Profile of Religion Professor Richard Sugarman

Religion professor Richard Sugarman

Reporter Ken Picard profiles religion professor Richard Sugarman in the most recent issue of Seven Days. In the article titled "The Wondering Jew," Picard writes the folllowing:

Sugarman’s classes are fun in part because they’re packed with interesting trivia: “The first course devoted to the study of the Holocaust was taught at which university?” he asks. It was UVM. Sugarman’s old friend, the late Raul Hilberg, created the course for what later became the university’s Center for Holocaust Studies.

“Anybody minoring in the Holocaust? Anyone? No?” Sugarman asks, looking around the room. When no hands go up, he gives a resigned shrug. His disappointment is understandable. Sugarman grew up in a predominantly Orthodox Jewish neighborhood in north Buffalo, N.Y., where one in every four residents was a “DP,” or displaced person, tattooed with a number from a Nazi death camp.

Sugarman’s most intriguing questions are the ones without easy answers: those about the meaning of life and death, the phenomenon of time, and our duty to create a better world. He teaches in the religion department, but his formal training at Yale University and much of his published scholarship since then have been in philosophy. Notably, he’s a world-renowned expert on the Lithuanian-born philosopher Emmanuel Levinas (1906-95), whom Sugarman calls “the preeminent post-Holocaust Jewish philosopher.”  

Read the entire article here.