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Matrilineal Dissent

Women Writers and Jewish American Literary History

Edited by Annie Atura Bushnell, Lori Harrison-Kahan, and Ashley Walters

Jewish Studies, Literary Criticism and Theory, Women's Studies, Gender

Printed Paper Cased
Available May 2024
ISBN: 9780814349861
Pages: 400 Size: 6x9
Illustrations: 4 b&w images
Available May 2024
ISBN: 9780814349854
Pages: 400 Size: 6x9
Illustrations: 4 b&w images
Available May 2024
ISBN: 9780814349847

Bridging literary studies and cultural history, this edited volume examines Jewish women writers’ wide-ranging contributions to American literary culture from the turn of the twentieth century to the present. Matrilineal Dissent features innovative considerations of contemporary autofiction, graphic narratives, and novels by Mizrahi writers as well as middlebrow, Progressive Era, and second-wave feminist literature. Authors discussed herein—such as Roz Chast, Erica Jong,Annie Nathan Meyer, and Adrienne Rich—challenge monolithic representations of Jewishness and gender while imagining radical alternatives.

By tracing a matrilineal literary history, this book dissents from readers and critics who continue to describe women’s contributions as mere commentaries on and correctives to male-dominated canons. Simultaneously, this volume troubles the politics of inheritance, continuity, and lineage to underscore the ways that literary traditions—like Jewishness and gender—are mutually constitutive and continually in flux.

Collectively, contributors reframe Jewish American literary history through feminist approaches that have revolutionized the field, from intersectionality and the #MeToo movement to queer theory and disability studies. Examining both canonical and lesser-known texts, this collection asks: what happens to conventional understandings of Jewish American literature when we center women’s writing and acknowledge women as dominant players in Jewish cultural production?

Annie Atura Bushnell is the executive director of academic programs at the Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity at Stanford University. Her recent research explores Jewish women’s integration into and determination of white norms of femininity through feminist practice and theory.

Lori Harrison-Kahan is professor of the practice of English at Boston College. She is editor of The Superwoman and Other Writings by Miriam Michelson, co-editor of Heirs of Yesterday by Emma Wolf (both Wayne State University Press) and author of The White Negress: Literature, Minstrelsy, and the Black-Jewish Imaginary.

Ashley Walters is assistant professor of Jewish studies and director of the Pearlstine/Lipov Center for Southern Jewish Culture at the College of Charleston. She teaches courses on modern Jewish history, Jews and the American South, and women’s and gender studies.
List of Contributors: Jennifer Glaser, Jessica Kirzane, Josh Lambert, Tahneer Oksman, Rachel Rubinstein, Karen Skinazi, Alex Ullman

Contributors Include:
Jennifer Glaser, Jessica Kirzane, Josh Lambert, Tahneer Oksman, Rachel Rubinstein, Karen Skinazi, Alex Ullman