This Zoom-based working group aims to think through questions of how gendered representations of Jewishness and Jewish representations of gender are rendered, performed, and experienced. Guest speakers from beyond Jewish Studies, whose work on gender and drag offers innovative ways of thinking through relevant questions, join a committed group of cultural historians and scholars of media, performance, and literature. The group strives to be a springboard for developing an expansive theoretical framework regarding Jewish gender performance and drag, with participants complementing each other's disciplinary approaches and ultimately offering written reflections based on our shared work and its impact on our future thinking. Read more about the participants in the Grant Center 2021-2022 Working Group on Jewish Gender Performance and Drag.
Golan Moskowitz, Assistant Professor of Jewish Studies at Tulane, is the convener and chair of this working group. A literary scholar, cultural historian, and visual artist, Dr. Moskowitz has published on gendered and queer approaches to the study of post-Holocaust families and memory. His book Wild Visionary: Maurice Sendak in Queer Jewish Context (Stanford University Press, 2020) situates Sendak's life and work within discourses of queer and Jewish studies and their intersections. He is currently working on a project exploring how Jews and Jewishness have been implicated in the art of drag in modern and contemporary American culture.
Jonathan Branfman is visiting assistant professor of Jewish Studies at Cornell University. His research links Jewish, feminist, media, and critical race studies to analyze how Jewish stars serve as ideological lighting-rods in 21st-century pop culture: how these stars come to personify national debates over racism, misogyny, disinformation, and social change. In order to share feminist education beyond academia, Jonathan has also published the LGBTQ youth guide, You Be You! The Kid's Guide to Gender, Sexuality & Family, now translated into 23 languages. The guide's forthcoming Yiddish edition will be the world's first Yiddish LGBTQ youth resource.
Kathleen B. Casey is an Associate Professor of History at Virginia Wesleyan University where she is also the Chair of the Women and Gender Studies Program and an affiliate of the Africana Studies Program. Her areas of expertise include nineteenth and twentieth-century American women, gender, and sexuality, African-American history, and material culture, with a particular emphasis on clothing. Professor Casey earned her doctorate at the University of Rochester in 2010 and her first book, The Prettiest Girl on Stage is a Man: Race and Gender Benders in American Vaudeville was published in 2015 with the University of Tennessee. She has also published in Frontiers: A Journal of Women’s Studies, the Journal of American Culture, and has a forthcoming article in Gender and History. She is currently writing a book on the social and cultural history of the purse in America, which is under contract with Oxford University Press.
Allyson Gonzalez (Brandeis University, Ph.D.) is a forthcoming fellow at the University of Potsdam, having just completed a postdoctoral fellowship with the Hebrew University of Jerusalem as a U.S. Fulbright Scholar to Israel. One of two recipients of the New Voices in Jewish Studies from Fordham and Columbia University, Gonzalez has taught at Yale University, Florida State, and Brandeis University. A former Pulitzer Prize finalist as the lead writer of her newspaper team, Gonzalez is completing a book-length project that examines public Jewishness in modern Spain.
Roberta Mock is Professor of Performance Studies at the University of Plymouth (UK) and Chair of the Theatre & Performance Research Association (TaPRA). She is the author or editor of five books, including Jewish Women on Stage, Film and Television (Palgrave Macmillan, 2007) and, most recently, Joshua Sofaer: Performance / Objects / Participation (co-edited with Mary Paterson for the Live Art Development Agency & Intellect Books, 2020). She is currently completing The Methuen Drama Handbook to Gender and Theatre (co-edited with Sean Metzger). Drawing on her own experience, and championing and celebrating embodied knowledge at all stages of a research career, Roberta has written and spoken about and led workshops across the UK, in Canada, and in Europe on practice-research methodologies.
Bryan K. Roby is an Assistant Professor of Judaic and Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Michigan – Ann Arbor. His research interests include the intersections of race, gender, and sexuality in Israel/Palestine; 19th and 20th century North African history; and the legacy of French colonialism on Arab and Jewish identity. His first book, The Mizrahi Era of Rebellion: Israel’s Forgotten Civil Rights Struggle 1948-1966 (Syracuse University Press, 2015), provides an extensive history of social justice protests by Middle Eastern Jews in Israel. His second book project, Israel through a Colored Lens: Racial Constructs in the Israeli Jewish Imagination, explores the shifting boundaries of racial constructs in Israel/Palestine as well as African-American intellectual contributions to Israeli sociology and theories on race and ethnicity. In examining American, Israeli, and French colonial archives, the book demonstrates how and why Middle Eastern Jews became associated with Blackness throughout the 20th century and what this tells us about the processes of constructing race.