Director and Staff

Steven Nadler

Position title: IRH Director (2018--)


Phone: 608.262.8151, Room 215

William H. Hay II Professor of Philosophy, Evjue-Bascom Professor in Humanities; Max and Frieda Weinstein-Bascom Professor of Jewish Studies; Affiliate Professor of Art History, UW-Madison

Steven Nadler has been teaching at UW-Madison since 1988. He has been a Senior Fellow at the IRH (2013-2017), and twice a Resident Fellow. He was the founding director of the Center for the Humanities and has served as director of the Mosse-Weinstein Center for Jewish Studies and chair of the Department of Philosophy. He has held visiting appointments at Stanford University, the University of Chicago, the University of Amsterdam, the École Pratique des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (Paris), and the École Normal Supérieure (Paris), and was a Scholar-in-Residence at the American Academy in Rome. His main area of research is early modern philosophy, especially the seventeenth century.

A Pulitzer Prize finalist, his books include Menasseh ben Israel: Rabbi of Amsterdam (Yale University Press, “Jewish Lives” series, 2018); The Philosopher, the Priest, and the Painter: A Portrait of Descartes (Princeton University Press, 2013); A Book Forged in Hell: Spinoza’s Scandalous Treatise and the Birth of the Secular Age (Princeton University Press, 2011); Occasionalism: Causation Among the Cartesians (Oxford University Press, 2010); The Best of All Possible Worlds: A Story of Philosophers, God, and Evil (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2008; pb Princeton University Press, 2010); Spinoza’s Ethics: An Introduction (Cambridge University Press, 2006); Rembrandt’s Jews (University of Chicago Press, 2003); Spinoza’s Heresy: Immortality and the Jewish Mind (Oxford University Press, 2002); Spinoza: A Life (Cambridge University Press, 1999; second edition, 2018); Malebranche and Ideas (Oxford University Press, 1992); and Arnauld and the Cartesian Philosophy of Ideas (Princeton University Press, 1989). With Ben Nadler, he also produced the graphic book Heretics!: The Wondrous (and Dangerous) Beginnings of Modern Philosophy (Princeton, 2017). From 1995-2000, he was the North American editor of the Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie; and from 2009-2015 the editor of the Journal of the History of Philosophy. In 2020, he was elected a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Ann W. Harris

Position title: Assistant to the Director (2009--)


Phone: 608.262.3855, Room 221

Ann Wysor Harris joined the Institute for Research in the Humanities in July 2009. Before this she held positions in the Deans’ office at UW-Extension, at the Small Business Development Center, and at the School for Workers. In May 2013 she was awarded the College of Letters and Science 2012-2013 Classified Staff Excellence Award in recognition of outstanding performance and professionalism in the Institute for Research in the Humanities.

Elizabeth Ann Neary

Position title: Project Assistant (2020--)


Phone: 608.262.3855, Room 216

Elizabeth is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Spanish & Portuguese. She specializes in cultural exchanges between Christians and Muslims on the Iberian Peninsula during the 16th and 17th centuries. Her dissertation title is Perfidious Liaisons Mixed Marriage in Early Modern Spanish Literature.