2022 MELINDA ROSENBLATT LECTURE | Women Writing Jewish Modernity, 1919–1939 with Allison Schachter

Recorded Live Via Zoom on May 1, 2022

What role did women play in the making of Jewish modernity? Standard accounts of modern history and literary culture describe the process of Jews becoming modern as a story of Jews becoming men. As a result we know too little about women writers, artists, and intellectuals who participated in transforming Jewish culture in the twentieth century.

Allison Schacter offers a counter history of Jewish modernity by looking at the women writers, in the interwar period, who embraced the transgressive potential of prose fiction to reimagine Jewish culture beyond the traditionally male world of Jewish letters. These women revolutionized Jewish fiction at a pivotal moment in Jewish history, transcending the boundaries of Jewish minority identities. This talk tells their story and in so doing calls for a new ways of thinking about Jewish cultural modernity.

Allison Schachter is Associate Professor of Jewish Studies, English, and Russian and East European Studies at Vanderbilt University, where she chairs the Jewish Studies Department. She is the author of Diasporic Modernisms: Hebrew and Yiddish Literature in the Twentieth Century (Oxford 2013) and Women Writing Jewish Modernity, 1919-1939 (Northwestern 2021). She is also a translator from Yiddish. From the Jewish Provinces: The Selected Stories of Fradl Shtok which she translated with Jordan Finkin, is just out from Northwestern University Press.

Presented as part of the Yiddish Book Center's 2022 Decade of Discovery: Women in Yiddish. 

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