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Martin Jay (born 1944) is the Sidney Hellman Ehrman Professor of History at the University of California, Berkeley. He is a renowned intellectual historian and his research interests have been groundbreaking in connecting history with other academic and intellectual activities, such as the critical theory of the Frankfurt School, other figures and methods in continental social theory, cultural criticism, and historiography among many others.
He is Jewish. He received his B.A from Union College in 1965. In 1971, he completed his Ph.D. in History at Harvard under the tutelage of H. Stuart Hughes. His dissertation was later revised into the book The Dialectical Imagination, which covers the history of the Frankfurt School from 1923-1950. While he was conducting research for his dissertation, he established a correspondence and friendship with many of the members of the Frankfurt School. He was closest to Leo Löwenthal who had provided him access to personal letters and documents that were crucial to Jay's research (Löwenthal would later chair the sociology department at Berkeley). His book is considered one of the most influential works in exposing the American Academy to the theoretical insight of the Frankfurt School. His work since then continued to explore the many nuances of Marxism/socialism, as well as exploring new territory in historiography and cultural criticism, visual culture, and the place of post-structuralism/post-modernism in European intellectual history. His current research is nominalism and photography. He is a recipient of the 2010/2011 Berlin Prize Fellowship from the American Academy in Berlin.
He also has a regular column in the quarterly journal Salmagundi.
He is the husband of literary critic Catherine Gallagher.
- 1973 The Dialectical Imagination: A History of the Frankfurt School and the Institute of Social Research, 1923-50
- “The Concept of Totality in Lukács and Adorno”. Telos 32 (Summer 1977). New York: Telos Press.
- 1984 Marxism and Totality: The Adventures of a Concept from Lukács to Habermas
- 1984 Adorno. Fontana Modern Masters.
- 1985 Permanent Exiles: Essays on the Intellectual Migration from Germany to America
- 1988 Fin-de-Siècle Socialism and Other Essays
- 1993 Force Fields: Between Intellectual History and Cultural Criticism
- 1993 Downcast Eyes: The Denigration of Vision in Twentieth-Century French Thought
- 1998 Cultural Semantics: Keywords of the Age
- 2003 Refractions of Violence
- 2004 Songs of Experience: Modern American and European Variations on a Universal Theme
- 2010 The Virtues of Mendacity: On Lying in Politics
- 2011 Essays from the Edge: Parerga and Paralipomena
- Martin Jay's Faculty Page
- An Interview with Martin Jay on the topic of Consumption
- History, Experience, and Politics: An Interview with Martin Jay-
- The Modernist Imagination:Intellectual History and Critical Theory: Essays in Honor of Martin Jay, eds. Warren Breckman, Peter E. Gordon, A. Dirk Moses, Samuel Moyn and Elliot Neaman (New York, Berghahn Books, 2009).