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Roth Named Frankel Institute Fellow

Published on June 21, 2012

Laurence Roth, professor of English and director of the Jewish Studies Program atLaurence Roth Susquehanna University, has been granted a fellowship with the Frankel Institute for Advanced Judaic Studies at the University of Michigan for the 2012–13 academic year.

Roth is one of 14 fellows who will pursue research projects around the theme of “Borders of Jewishness: Microhistories of Encounter.” They will meet regularly with each other to discuss their work, interact with faculty and students, and enrich the intellectual life of the community. Roth’s fellowship will include work on a book, “Unpacking My Father's Bookstore: Collection, Commerce, Literature,” based on the bookstore his father owned for 30 years in Los Angeles, which for a time, he says, was the largest Jewish bookstore in the country.

“I'm honored that the Frankel Institute felt that my book project about my father's Jewish bookstore was worthy of their support,” Roth said. “I'm also excited to be part of their year-long investigation into texts and cultural practices on the borders of Jewish identity. My father's bookstore was a true borderland of cultural encounters, a place where people of all faiths, classes and cultures were welcome, and that's a story I want to tell and preserve.”

Roth is the author of “Inspecting Jews: American Jewish Detective Stories” and editor of Modern Language Studies, the scholarly journal of the Northeast Modern Language Association. At Susquehanna, he founded the Jewish Studies Program and the Publishing and Editing minor, and teaches courses in Jewish literature, contemporary American literature, formula stories and popular writing, literary theory, and book reviewing.

“I'm especially looking forward to bringing the [Frankel] Institute's conversations about social, cultural and religious diversity back to the classroom,” he said. “It's a wonderful opportunity to pass on new, cutting-edge, critical perspectives and ideas to my students here at Susquehanna.”

Roth serves on the editorial board of Studies in American Jewish Literature and the executive committee of the MLA Jewish American Discussion Group. He is co-editing, with Nadia Valman, The Routledge Handbook to Contemporary Jewish Cultures. He is one of a small advisory group of scholars convened by Columbia University's Institute for Israel and Jewish Studies, in conjunction with the Covenant Foundation, and the director of San Francisco-based Citizen Film to explore the potential of new media in Jewish Studies, both in and out of the classroom.


Karen M. Jones


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