Katherine Sorrels

Katherine E Sorrels

Associate Professor

Associate Professor of History
Affiliate Faculty, Judaic Studies

McMicken Hall


A&S History - 0373

Professional Summary

Katherine Sorrels is an Associate Professor of History, Affiliate Faculty in Judaic Studies, and Chair of the Taft Health Humanities Research Group at the University of Cincinnati. Her research interests are in modern European and North American Jewish history, the history of medicine, and disability history. She is also involved in a number of digital and public humanities projects. She teaches on Migration and the Refugee Experience, Immigration in World History, Nazi Germany and the Holocaust, Nazi Medicine, Scientific Racism, Holocaust History and New Media, Modern European Historiography, History of Health and Medicine, and Disability History.

Her current book project is On the Spectrum: Jewish Refugees from Nazi Austria and the Politics of Disability in the Britain and North America. Her focus on the Camphill movement, an international network of intentional communities for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities that was founded in Scotland during WWII by Austrian Jewish refugees. All of the key figures in the history of the autism diagnosis, on both sides of the Atlantic, were Austrian and most were Jewish refugees. Through Camphill she reconstructs the larger story of how Jewish refugees transformed British and North American approaches to disability and, in the process, reshaped the tradition of Viennese curative education. Her research is based on archival work and oral histories in Austria, Britain, the United States, and Canada. She was interviewed on this project for two Botstiber Foundation podcasts Episode 1Episode 2.

On the Spectrum extends work on antisemitism, scientific racism, and internationalism in 20th century Central and Eastern European Jewish history that she explored in her first book, Cosmopolitan Outsiders: Imperial Inclusion, National Exclusion, and the Pan-European Idea, 1900-1930 (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016). She has also published on Yiddish-speaking Eastern European Jewry, Medical and Digital Humanities, and disability history and theory. This includes articles and the two forthcoming co-edited volumes Disability in German-Speaking Europe: History, Memory, and Culture (Camden House, under contract) and Ohio under COVID: Lessons from America's Heartland in Crisis (under review). When Sorrels is not working, she is usually gardening, listening to gardening podcasts, reading gardening books, and watching gardening shows. Her enthusiasm sometimes outpaces her talent (there have been casualties) but she continues to dig in the dirt.

Katherine Sorrels CV



Ph.D.: University of Pittsburgh 2009 (History; Concentrations: Jewish History, Modern Europe, History of Ideas)

M.A.: Central European University Budapest, 2000 (History)

B.A.: SUNY Binghamton 1998 (History)

Research Support

08-2021 -05-2022 Charles Phelps Taft Research Center, University of Cincinnati, Academic Year Writing Fellowship

08-2021 TOME Award (Toward an Open Access Monograph Ecosystem)

05-2021 -05-2024 A&S Dean's Office Dean's Innovation Award

05-2020 -07-2020 National Endowment for the Humanities, Summer Stipend

01-2020 -05-2020 Herbert D. Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies, Ivan and Nina Ross Family Fellowship

09-2019 -12-2019 German Academic Exchange Service Conference Grant

01-2019 -05-2019 Charles Phelps Taft Research Center, University of Cincinnati, Faculty Release Fellowship

09-2018 -08-2019 Dietrich W. Botstiber Foundation, Research Grant

05-2017 -04-2018 University Research Council, University of Cincinnati URC Interdisciplinary Award

09-2013 -05-2014 Charles Phelps Taft Research Center, University of Cincinnati, Academic Year Writing Fellowship

06-2012 -08-2012 Taft Research Center, Summer Research Fellowship

Honors and Awards

2019 Award for Innovative Uses of Technology in Teaching, University of Cincinnati All-University Faculty Awards

2020 Public Humanities Award, Charles Phelps Taft Research Center

2021 Gene Lewis Faculty Teaching Prize, Department of History, University of Cincinnati