Call for Essay Proposals on Teaching Jewish American Literature

Essay proposals are invited for a volume in the MLA’s Options for Teaching series entitled Teaching Jewish American Literature, to be edited by Roberta Rosenberg and Rachel Rubinstein. The purposes of this volume are to link the innovative scholarship emerging on Jewish American literature to classroom pedagogies and resources; provide crucial academic and pedagogical background to faculty members who teach Jewish American studies without expertise in the field; reinvigorate the study of Jewish American texts and culture and create new audiences for stand-alone Jewish American literary courses; promote comparative literary studies of Jewish American literature in American mainstream and multicultural literature, Jewish studies, and contemporary literary theory; emphasize the global, multinational, multilingual nature of contemporary Jewish American immigrant and émigré literatures; offer pedagogical tools and resources that will enrich conversations on college campuses concerning challenging political and social issues; and develop new interest in teacher education courses that will rebalance the representation of Holocaust and Jewish ethnic literatures.

Possible topics may include but are not limited to

  • comparative and interdisciplinary teaching approaches to Jewish American literature, particularly that literature in comparison with other immigrant, multicultural, or multiethnic literatures (such as Asian American and Arab American literature)
  • teaching approaches that use gender and queer theory, sociology, religious studies, performance studies, popular culture, race studies, and so on in reframing Jewish American literature
  • multilingual and multiethnic approaches that focus on Yiddish and other non-English languages as well as on Sephardi and Mizrachi writers and writers with complex, hybrid identities
  • early American literature and Jewish literary history
  • approaches to teaching Jewish American literature in a variety of different kinds of institutions and to a diversity of students
  • transnational approaches to Jewish American literature, including links with Israel, Europe, and the Americas
  • rethinking canonical Jewish American writers and introducing countercanonical texts, including those by the youngest, postimmigrant generations
  • teaching representations of Jewishness and literary anti-Semitism
  • new approaches to teaching key texts
  • new approaches to teaching responses to the Holocaust in survivor, second-generation, and third-generation writing
  • genre approaches to teaching Jewish American literature that address poetry, drama, humor, graphic novels, literary journalism, memoir, and so on as well as fiction

Your abstract should make your intended topic clear and explain its importance to the field of Jewish American literature, indicate the pedagogy or literary theory that supports the topic and the types of evidence you will use (e.g., sample assignments from a class you have taught), and outline the theories you hope to explore. Please note that any quotations from student papers will require written permission from students. Your abstract should also address the value of your intended topic to a broad range of instructors and students in literature and cultural studies.

If you are interested in contributing an essay of 2,500–3,000 words, please submit an abstract of 350–500 words to Roberta Rosenberg, Christopher Newport University (, and Rachel Rubinstein, Hampshire College (, by 15 February 2016.