Elliot Ratzman received his BA and MA from Ohio University, and PhD from Princeton. His current writing project, Becoming the Other, examines the phenomenon of “downpassing”—when writers and activists go undercover to investigate the conditions of the oppressed other. His work considers the ethical, religious, and political issues of these experiments. His project explores the meaning of solidarity, the role of these narratives as a form of ethical tutelage, and, using the work of Michel Foucault, considers the practice of “becoming” the other as a discipline of the self.
He also works on articles about the interwoven role of race between American Jews and Blacks, and between Israelis and Arabs; an article on race in American Judaism; on Palestinian liberation theology; and a project on political forms of “ethical perfectionism.” He considers teaching the most important part of academic life, and he hopes to leave students with some concrete skills: the ability to write for public audiences, the tools to discuss religion and ethics, to provide a sense of the landscape of intellectual areas, the vision to integrate the classroom with the social quest for justice and one’s own inner struggle for goodness.