David Nirenberg-27 crop

David Nirenberg

Director and Leon Levy Professor



Home Institution

The University of Chicago

David Nirenberg is the 10th Director and Leon Levy Professor of the Institute for Advanced Study. A historian and author, Nirenberg is recognized for wide-ranging scholarship on the interaction of Christians, Jews, and Muslims. His research provides insight into questions of racism, Anti-Semitism, and Christian-Muslim relations.

At the University of Chicago, Nirenberg served as founding director of the Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society, Dean of the Social Sciences, Executive Vice Provost, and Interim Dean of the Divinity School.  Nirenberg is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and Medieval Academy of America.

His most recent book, co-authored with his father (Ricardo Nirenberg) is Uncountable: A Philosophical History of Number and Humanity from Antiquity to the Present, which seeks to understand the powers and limits of the sciences and the humanities. He is currently at work on a history of racial thought in Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

Dates at IAS

School of Historical Studies


Princeton University
Princeton University
Yale University


Awards: Laing Prize, University of Chicago Press 2017; Ralph Waldo Emerson Prize, Phi Beta Kappa 2014; Johns Hopkins Alumni Association Excellence in Teaching Award 2003; John Nicholas Brown Prize, Medieval Academy of America 2000; Sarofim/NEH Distinguished Teaching Professor, Rice University 1999–2000; Herbert Baxter Adams Prize, American Historical Association 1999; Charles Duncan, Jr. Award for research and teaching, Rice University 1998; First Book Prize, Society for Spanish and Portuguese Historical Studies 1998; Premio del Rey Prize, American Historical Association 1997; Thomas Bergin Prize in the Humanities, Yale University 1986
Fellowships: Residency, American Academy in Rome 2021; Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin 2004–05; Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, Palo Alto, CA 2000–01; Center for the Study of Cultures, Rice University 1995; Mrs. Giles Whiting Foundation Honorific Fellowship in the Humanities 1991–92; William and Flora Hewlett Foundation 1989–92; Fulbright-Hays/Spanish Government Dissertation Research Fellowship 1989–90; National Resource Fellowship, U.S. Education Department 1988; Mellon Fellowship in the Humanities 1986–89
Honorary Degrees: Doctor of Philosophy, Honoris Causa, University of Haifa 2016
Memberships: American Academy of Arts and Sciences, History and Philosophy/Religion sections 2016; Medieval Academy of America 2015


University of Chicago
Dean, Divinity School (2018–22); Executive Vice Provost (2017–18); Dean, Division of the Social Sciences (2014–17); Deborah R. and Edgar D. Jannotta Distinguished Service Professor (2008–22); Professor (2006–08)
Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society
Founding Director (2011–14)
Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas, Madrid
Visiting Professor (Summer 2011)
Johns Hopkins University
Director, Leonard & Helen R. Stulman Jewish Studies Program (2002–07); Charlotte Bloomberg Professor of the Humanities (2000–06)
École des hautes études en sciences sociales
Visiting Professor (2000)
Rice University
Director, Center for the Study of Cultures (1997–2000); Associate Professor of History (1996–2000); Assistant Professor of History (1992–96)