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Personal profile

Research interests

Research:

I am interdisciplinary scholar with interests in late 19th through 21st-century Jewish, multiethnic, American, and women’s literature and culture. My monograph Women of Valor: Orthodox Jewish Troll Fighters, Crime Writers, and Rock Stars in Contemporary Literature and Culture (Rutgers University Press, 2018) was awarded Honourable Mention for the Robert K. Martin/Canadian Association for American Studies Book Prize. It examines representations of and an emergent literature by Orthodox Jewish women. An excerpt was used as the cover story for the 8 August edition of The Canadian Jewish News.

In the wake of my monograph, I have continued to work in the field of Jewish Studies. In 2020, I co-edited a special issue of Shofar: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Jewish Studies on the art and feminism of Orthodox and Haredi women with Dr Rachel Harris of University of Illinois at Urbana-Champagne. Our introduction is open access and can be read here. I wrote the entry on “Twenty-First Century Jewish Literature by Women in the US” for the Jewish Women’s Archive’s Shalvi/Hyman Encyclopedia of Jewish Women, which can be read online, and I have a chapter on postwar Jewish American fiction, as well as a case study on the author Allegra Goodman, in the forthcoming Oxford History of the Novel in English, Volume 8: American Fiction Since 1940, edited by Cyrus R. K. Patell & Deborah Lindsay Williams. I am also currently completing an interview-based essay on Mizrahi writers for Jewish Women Writers in the United States, edited by Lori Harrison-Kahan, Annie Atura Bushnell, and Ashley Walters.

My articles have appeared in a number of academic journals, including Legacy, MELUS, Open Library of Humanities, American Studies, Canadian Review of American Studies, and Shofar. In addition to contemporary Jewish writing, I am interested in the figure of the New Woman in Progressive Era fiction. For my article on New Woman suffragist writer Miriam Michelson, entitled, “Miriam Michelson’s Yellow Journalism and the Multi-Ethnic West,” written with Dr Lori Harrison-Kahan of Boston College, I won the 2016 Don D. Walker Prize for Best Essay in western American Literary Studies. 

In 2012, I published a critical edition of the 1916 novel, Marion: The Story of an Artist’s Model (McGill-Queen’s University Press) by the first Asian North American novelist, Winnifred Eaton (Onoto Watanna), and I have also produced an online collection of Eaton’s Western oeuvre for the Canadian Writing Research Collaboratory. I advise on and contribute to the Winnifred Eaton Archive, launched in 2020 by Professor Mary Chapman of the University of British Columbia.

My new research examines the productive interface between Muslim and Jewish women’s lives, literature, film, and activism. With Birmingham novelist and Britain's Muslim Woman of the year 2019 Abda Khan, I chair the Nisa-Nashim Jewish-Muslim Women’s Network West Midlands Book Group. I am also interested in Israel/Palestine Studies and have a chapter in the forthcoming book Reel Gender: Palestinian and Israeli Film, edited by Sa'ed Atshan and Katharina Galor.

For my service to the field, I review articles and books for academic journals and presses. I also sit on the editorial board of Shofar and am on the Hadassah Brandeis Research Awards Academic Advisory Committee. I was the media and membership chair of The Society for the Study of Multiethnic Literature of the United States (2012-2015) and am on the board of the Association for Jewish Studies’ Women’s Caucus. I served as a panelist for the Canadian Review of American Studies' Ernest Redekop Essay Prize in 2017, the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute Research Award in 2018 and 2019, and the Association for Jewish Studies Women’s Caucus Award for Innovative Scholarship in 2019. I will be president of the British and Irish Association of Jewish Studies 2023-4.

In addition to my regular contributions to conferences and research seminar series, I was the keynote speaker for the conference "Naomi Alderman: Empty Spaces, Untold Stories," held at Bath Spa University in 2019, as well as for the "Conversion and Narrative Expert Meeting for Beyond Religion vs Emancipation: Women's Conversion to Judaism, Christianity, and Islam Project," held at Utrecht University in 2019.

Finally, I enjoy disseminating my research through popular venues. I review fiction for the California-based newspaper Jewish Journal and am a core writer of The Jewish Chronicle's 'Let's Talk' series. I write for such publications as The Conversation, The Forward, Tablet Magazine, and Literary Review of Canada. I have spoken at Limmud festivals and synagogue events. I have been interviewed on the radio by Allison Josephs of "Jew in the City" and Petrie Hoskin (BBC Radio London), in a webinar with the Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance (JOFA), and on the New Books Network as well as the Bonnets at Dawn podcast. I am also working on a novel of historical fiction, supported by the Genesis Jewish Book Week Emerging Writers Programme, and mentored by novelist Tracy Chevalier.

Teaching:

I currently convene The Public Role of the Humanities and have contributed to a number of units in the Liberal Arts programme. I also teach American Revolutions in English.

I would encourage postgraduate applications from students wishing to work on American literature, women's writing, Jewish culture, multiethnic literature, popular culture, and Muslim writing, particularly those taking an interdisciplinary approach to their research. 

About Me:

I did my undergraduate work at York University in Toronto, and my MA and PhD at New York University in New York. I taught at Fordham University, University of Alberta, Princeton University, and the University of Birmingham before joining the University of Bristol as Director of Liberal Arts in 2018. 

 

 

External positions

External Examiner, University of Nottingham

Nov 2021Nov 2022

External Examiner, Queen's University Belfast

Jan 202030 Sep 2023

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  • Shofar (Journal)

    Karen Skinazi (Editor) & Rachel S. Harris (Editor)

    2020

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesEditorial activity