Department of English & Creative Writing

Education

  • BA, Univ of California Berkeley
  • MA, Univ of California Los Angeles
  • PHD, Univ of California Los Angeles

Charles B. Degenstein Professor of English

Director of Jewish Studies

Co-Department Head of English and Creative Writing

Contact Information

I love books. Six bookshelves cover the south wall of my office. They’re packed tight, with books stacked flat in the thin space between each row and the shelf above. It’s the first thing I see when I open my door in the morning. Come on in, I tell students. Take a look around.

I bought these books in Berkeley, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, London, New York, Ann Arbor, Tel-Aviv and Selinsgrove. As the founder and director of the Jewish and Israel studies  and publishing and editing programs, I use them to teach courses in Jewish literature, contemporary American literature, formula stories and popular writing, literary theory, and book reviewing.

I also teach a hybrid in-class/online course on the bookstore. My father owned a Jewish bookstore, so I grew up thinking of literature as more than just what’s on the page. It’s also the way we connect with other passionate writers and readers, publishers and reviewers, teachers and students.

That’s why I came to Susquehanna. It’s a creative community that shares my love of books and of the businesses and technologies that make them.

It also supported my writing about Jewish detective fiction  and comic books , and my editing of the Modern Language Studies scholarly journal and a volume on contemporary Jewish cultures . It’s why I still play garage pop in a faculty band . (Quick, what’s your favorite rock ‘n’ roll novel?) Books bring us together.

Come on in and let me show you what I mean .

Publications:
Books:
The Routledge Handbook to Contemporary Jewish Cultures (ed. with Nadia Valman, Queen
Mary, University of London), London and New York: Routledge, 2014.

Inspecting Jews: American Jewish Detective Stories, New Brunswick, New Jersey, and London:
Rutgers University Press, 2004.

Articles/Book Chapters:
“Networks,” The Routledge Handbook to Contemporary Jewish Cultures, eds. Laurence Roth and
Nadia Valman London and New York: Routledge, 2014.

“Innovation and Orthodox Comic Books: The Case of Mahrwood Press,” The Future of Jewish
American Literary Studies, eds. Josh Lambert and Lori Harrison-Kahan, Special Issue of
MELUS: Multi-Ethnic Literature of the United States 37.2 (Summer 2012): 131-156.

“Unpacking My Father’s Bookstore,” Modern Jewish Literatures: Intersections and Boundaries, eds.
Sheila Jelen, Michael Kramer, and L. Scott Lerner, Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania
Press, 2011, 280-302.

“Drawing Contracts: Will Eisner’s Legacy” [revised version of JQR 97.3 review/essay], Graven
Images: Religion in Comic Books and Graphic Novels, eds. A. Dave Lewis and Christine Hoff
Kraemer, New York and London: Continuum, 2010, 44-62.

“Toward a Kashrut Nation in American Jewish Cookbooks, 1990-2000,” Shofar: An
Interdisciplinary Journal of Jewish Studies 28.2 (Winter 2010): 65-91.

“Contemporary American Jewish Comic Books: Abject Pasts, Heroic Futures,” The Jewish Graphic
Novel: Critical Approaches, eds. Ranen Omer-Sherman and Samantha Baskind, New
Brunswick, New Jersey, and London: Rutgers University Press 2008, 3-21.

“MLA Regional Journals: Accountability, Innovation,” Journal of Scholarly Publishing 39.1
(October 2007): 44-53.

“Oppositional Culture and the ‘New Jew’ Brand: From Plotz to Heeb to Lost Tribe,Cool Jewz:
Contemporary Jewish Identity in Popular Culture, ed. Mikel Koven, Special Issue of Shofar: An
Interdisciplinary Journal of Jewish Studies 25.4 (Summer 2007): 99-123.

“Unraveling ‘Intermarriage’ in Faye Kellerman’s Detective Fiction,” Multicultural Detective
Fiction: Murder From the “Other” Side, ed. Adrienne Johnson Gosselin, New York: Garland
Publishing, 1999, 185-211.

“Pedagogy and the Mother Tongue: Irena Klepfisz’s ‘Di rayze aheym/The journey home,’”
Symposium, Issue on Judaic Literature, 52.4 (Winter 1999): 269-78.

Reviews & Short Essays/Encyclopedia Entries:

“Comic Books and Graphic Novels,” Cambridge History of Jewish American Literature, ed. Hana
Wirth-Nesher (forthcoming)

“The Judaica Section,” Frankel Institute Annual, Vol. 2013 (Spring 2013): 52-54.

“Talmud on the Roof, or Materializing American Jewish Literary Studies” [position paper],
Studies in American Jewish Literature 31.1 (Spring 2012): 91-96.

“Literature, United States: Popular Fiction” The Cambridge Dictionary of Judaism and Jewish
Culture, ed. Judith Baskin, Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2011, 396-
398.

“The Holocaust” [co-author with John Longaker and Shannon Nagy, S.U. History
major/Jewish Studies minor], The Encyclopedia of Religion & Film, ed. Eric Mazur, Westport,
CT: ABC-CLIO, 2011, 225-231.

“Drawing Contracts: Will Eisner’s Legacy” [review essay], Jewish Quarterly Review 97.3
(Summer 2007): 463-484.

“Oppositional Culture and American Jewish Literature” [electronic publication], Center for
Advanced Judaic Studies Library Web Exhibit, “Modern Jewish Literatures: Language,
Identity, Writing,” June 2005 http://www.library.upenn.edu/exhibits/cajs/fellows05

“Reading the Popular in American Jewish Studies” [review essay], Jewish Quarterly Review,
Special Issue on American Jewry, 94.4 (Fall 2004): 694-709


Awards:

Fellowship, The Jean and Samuel Frankel Center for Judaic Studies, University of Michigan: Winter
Term 2013 (for Unpacking My Father’s Bookstore: Collection, Commerce, Literature).

Seminar Fellow, “Twenty-first Century Liberal Education: A Contested Concept,” Transylvania
University & The Bingham Program for Excellence in Teaching, Lexington, KY, July, 2008
(competitive application, institutional nomination).

Council of Editors of Learned Journals Phoenix Award, Runner-Up for Significant Editorial
Achievement, Modern Language Studies, 2005 (international awards competition).

John C. Horn Distinguished Service Lectureship (for outstanding scholarship and conscientious
service), Susquehanna University: 2005.

Charles W. and Sally Rothfeld Fellowship, Center for Advanced Judaic Studies, University of
Pennsylvania: Fall Term 2004 (for “American Jewish Popular Literatures: Narrative and
Kosher Hybridity”).


Editorial/Professional Activity:

Editorial Board, Studies in American Jewish Literature, 2011 to present.
Editor, Modern Language Studies (a publication of NeMLA), 2002 to present.
Steering Committee, New Media in Jewish Studies Collaborative, Columbia University/A Citizen
Film Production, September 2014 to present.
Program Committee Member, Association for Jewish Studies, New York, NY, 2013 to present.
Executive Committee Member, Jewish American Literature Discussion Group, Modern Language
Association , 2008-2013.

  • ENGL-290: Aesthetics and Interpretation
  • EDUC-389: Assessment
  • ENGL-298: Book Reviewing
  • EDUC-503: Classroom Management
  • EDUC-502: Classroom Teaching
  • ENGL-361: Comics and Genre Mashups
  • EDUC-410: Family and Community
  • ENGL-265: Forms of Writing: Comic Books
  • EDUC-601: Independent Study
  • ENGL-505: Independent Study
  • ENGL-540: Internship
  • JWST-540: Internship
  • WRIT-540: Internship
  • ENGL-255: Jewish Literature
  • JWST-255: Jewish Literature
  • ENGL-520: Lit Journal P&E w/D Housley
  • EDUC-501: Preparation and Planning
  • EDUC-365: Preschool Language & Literacy
  • EDUC-366: Primary Literacy Development
  • ENGL-388: Publishing: Ethics/Art/Politics
  • EDUC-600: Seminar
  • EDUC-500: Student Teaching
  • ENGL-205: Unpacking the Bookstore
  • ENGL-100: Writing and Thinking

About Me

I love books. Six bookshelves cover the south wall of my office. They’re packed tight, with books stacked flat in the thin space between each row and the shelf above. It’s the first thing I see when I open my door in the morning. Come on in, I tell students. Take a look around.

I bought these books in Berkeley, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, London, New York, Ann Arbor, Tel-Aviv and Selinsgrove. As the founder and director of the Jewish and Israel studies  and publishing and editing programs, I use them to teach courses in Jewish literature, contemporary American literature, formula stories and popular writing, literary theory, and book reviewing.

I also teach a hybrid in-class/online course on the bookstore. My father owned a Jewish bookstore, so I grew up thinking of literature as more than just what’s on the page. It’s also the way we connect with other passionate writers and readers, publishers and reviewers, teachers and students.

That’s why I came to Susquehanna. It’s a creative community that shares my love of books and of the businesses and technologies that make them.

It also supported my writing about Jewish detective fiction  and comic books , and my editing of the Modern Language Studies scholarly journal and a volume on contemporary Jewish cultures . It’s why I still play garage pop in a faculty band . (Quick, what’s your favorite rock ‘n’ roll novel?) Books bring us together.

Come on in and let me show you what I mean .

Professional Experience

Publications:
Books:
The Routledge Handbook to Contemporary Jewish Cultures (ed. with Nadia Valman, Queen
Mary, University of London), London and New York: Routledge, 2014.

Inspecting Jews: American Jewish Detective Stories, New Brunswick, New Jersey, and London:
Rutgers University Press, 2004.

Articles/Book Chapters:
“Networks,” The Routledge Handbook to Contemporary Jewish Cultures, eds. Laurence Roth and
Nadia Valman London and New York: Routledge, 2014.

“Innovation and Orthodox Comic Books: The Case of Mahrwood Press,” The Future of Jewish
American Literary Studies, eds. Josh Lambert and Lori Harrison-Kahan, Special Issue of
MELUS: Multi-Ethnic Literature of the United States 37.2 (Summer 2012): 131-156.

“Unpacking My Father’s Bookstore,” Modern Jewish Literatures: Intersections and Boundaries, eds.
Sheila Jelen, Michael Kramer, and L. Scott Lerner, Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania
Press, 2011, 280-302.

“Drawing Contracts: Will Eisner’s Legacy” [revised version of JQR 97.3 review/essay], Graven
Images: Religion in Comic Books and Graphic Novels, eds. A. Dave Lewis and Christine Hoff
Kraemer, New York and London: Continuum, 2010, 44-62.

“Toward a Kashrut Nation in American Jewish Cookbooks, 1990-2000,” Shofar: An
Interdisciplinary Journal of Jewish Studies 28.2 (Winter 2010): 65-91.

“Contemporary American Jewish Comic Books: Abject Pasts, Heroic Futures,” The Jewish Graphic
Novel: Critical Approaches, eds. Ranen Omer-Sherman and Samantha Baskind, New
Brunswick, New Jersey, and London: Rutgers University Press 2008, 3-21.

“MLA Regional Journals: Accountability, Innovation,” Journal of Scholarly Publishing 39.1
(October 2007): 44-53.

“Oppositional Culture and the ‘New Jew’ Brand: From Plotz to Heeb to Lost Tribe,Cool Jewz:
Contemporary Jewish Identity in Popular Culture, ed. Mikel Koven, Special Issue of Shofar: An
Interdisciplinary Journal of Jewish Studies 25.4 (Summer 2007): 99-123.

“Unraveling ‘Intermarriage’ in Faye Kellerman’s Detective Fiction,” Multicultural Detective
Fiction: Murder From the “Other” Side, ed. Adrienne Johnson Gosselin, New York: Garland
Publishing, 1999, 185-211.

“Pedagogy and the Mother Tongue: Irena Klepfisz’s ‘Di rayze aheym/The journey home,’”
Symposium, Issue on Judaic Literature, 52.4 (Winter 1999): 269-78.

Reviews & Short Essays/Encyclopedia Entries:

“Comic Books and Graphic Novels,” Cambridge History of Jewish American Literature, ed. Hana
Wirth-Nesher (forthcoming)

“The Judaica Section,” Frankel Institute Annual, Vol. 2013 (Spring 2013): 52-54.

“Talmud on the Roof, or Materializing American Jewish Literary Studies” [position paper],
Studies in American Jewish Literature 31.1 (Spring 2012): 91-96.

“Literature, United States: Popular Fiction” The Cambridge Dictionary of Judaism and Jewish
Culture, ed. Judith Baskin, Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2011, 396-
398.

“The Holocaust” [co-author with John Longaker and Shannon Nagy, S.U. History
major/Jewish Studies minor], The Encyclopedia of Religion & Film, ed. Eric Mazur, Westport,
CT: ABC-CLIO, 2011, 225-231.

“Drawing Contracts: Will Eisner’s Legacy” [review essay], Jewish Quarterly Review 97.3
(Summer 2007): 463-484.

“Oppositional Culture and American Jewish Literature” [electronic publication], Center for
Advanced Judaic Studies Library Web Exhibit, “Modern Jewish Literatures: Language,
Identity, Writing,” June 2005 http://www.library.upenn.edu/exhibits/cajs/fellows05

“Reading the Popular in American Jewish Studies” [review essay], Jewish Quarterly Review,
Special Issue on American Jewry, 94.4 (Fall 2004): 694-709


Awards:

Fellowship, The Jean and Samuel Frankel Center for Judaic Studies, University of Michigan: Winter
Term 2013 (for Unpacking My Father’s Bookstore: Collection, Commerce, Literature).

Seminar Fellow, “Twenty-first Century Liberal Education: A Contested Concept,” Transylvania
University & The Bingham Program for Excellence in Teaching, Lexington, KY, July, 2008
(competitive application, institutional nomination).

Council of Editors of Learned Journals Phoenix Award, Runner-Up for Significant Editorial
Achievement, Modern Language Studies, 2005 (international awards competition).

John C. Horn Distinguished Service Lectureship (for outstanding scholarship and conscientious
service), Susquehanna University: 2005.

Charles W. and Sally Rothfeld Fellowship, Center for Advanced Judaic Studies, University of
Pennsylvania: Fall Term 2004 (for “American Jewish Popular Literatures: Narrative and
Kosher Hybridity”).


Editorial/Professional Activity:

Editorial Board, Studies in American Jewish Literature, 2011 to present.
Editor, Modern Language Studies (a publication of NeMLA), 2002 to present.
Steering Committee, New Media in Jewish Studies Collaborative, Columbia University/A Citizen
Film Production, September 2014 to present.
Program Committee Member, Association for Jewish Studies, New York, NY, 2013 to present.
Executive Committee Member, Jewish American Literature Discussion Group, Modern Language
Association , 2008-2013.

Courses Taught

  • ENGL-290: Aesthetics and Interpretation
  • EDUC-389: Assessment
  • ENGL-298: Book Reviewing
  • EDUC-503: Classroom Management
  • EDUC-502: Classroom Teaching
  • ENGL-361: Comics and Genre Mashups
  • EDUC-410: Family and Community
  • ENGL-265: Forms of Writing: Comic Books
  • EDUC-601: Independent Study
  • ENGL-505: Independent Study
  • ENGL-540: Internship
  • JWST-540: Internship
  • WRIT-540: Internship
  • ENGL-255: Jewish Literature
  • JWST-255: Jewish Literature
  • ENGL-520: Lit Journal P&E w/D Housley
  • EDUC-501: Preparation and Planning
  • EDUC-365: Preschool Language & Literacy
  • EDUC-366: Primary Literacy Development
  • ENGL-388: Publishing: Ethics/Art/Politics
  • EDUC-600: Seminar
  • EDUC-500: Student Teaching
  • ENGL-205: Unpacking the Bookstore
  • ENGL-100: Writing and Thinking