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Indiana University Bloomington
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Stephen Katz

Professor of Jewish Studies and Near Eastern Languages

Education

  • Doctor of Hebrew Literature (D.H.L.)—The Jewish Theological Seminary of America (1979)

Background

I am Professor of Modern Hebrew Language and Literature. My fields of specialization include prose fiction and poetry in which I received a broad education as an undergraduate at Hunter College of the City University of New York (CUNY) and at the Hertzliah Hebrew Teachers Institute, majoring in Modern Hebrew Literature in both. After receiving my Master's in Modern Hebrew Literature, also from Hunter I studied for my doctorate at New York's Jewish Theological Seminary where I wrote my dissertation on the fiction of S.Y. Agnon.

In the past I held teaching posts at Hunter College, Union College and at the State University of New York at Albany before coming to teach at Indiana University.

My interest in the fiction of Agnon led me to publish a number of articles and two book-length studies of Agnon. The first one (in Hebrew), Ha-Gibbor be-Eynay Ruho: Torat ha-Sipper be-'oreah nata lalun' le-Shay Agnon [in Hebrew, "The Hero in His Own Eyes: Narrative Techniques in S.Y. Agnon's A Guest for the Night."] (Tel-Aviv: Eked, 1985) was about the importance of narrative in his work and the second, in English, The Centrifugal Novel: S.Y. Agnon's Poetics of Narrative (Madison, N.J.: A.U.P./Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 1999), focused on the author's practice of revision of his fiction over several decades.

More recently, I published articles on time in the Hebrew novel, Hebrew historical literature and, most recently, the encounter of American Hebrew writers with other minorities--particularly Native- and African-Americans.

My third book, Red, Black, and Jew:  New Frontiers in Hebrew Literature, published by the University of Texas press in 2009, is a study of the representation in (most American) Hebrew literature of Native- and African-Americans as an expression of the assimilation of Jews in the Golden Land.

http://mattsadvising.blogspot.com/2010/02/dr-steve-katz-new-book.html

Selected Awards

  • Indiana University Arts and Humanities Institute Fellowship, "The Holocaust in American Hebrew Literature." (2005).
  • Special Research Grant, "The Holocaust in American Hebrew Literature." Borns Jewish Studies Program, 2005.
  • Special Summer Research Grant, Borns Jewish Studies Program (2004)
  • Research Grant, Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture, "To Be As Others: E.E. Lisitzky’s Re-presentation of African and Native Americans." (2003-4)
  • Grant-in-Aid of Research, IU Office of Research and the University Graduate School, (2002)
  • President’s Arts and Humanities Initiative Grant (2000-2001)
  • Borns Individual Research Grant (1999) Summer Faculty Fellowship: "African-American Culture in the Works of E.E. Lisitzky." (1998)
  • Assorted Research grants from the Borns Jewish Studies Program and the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures Research Grants.

Research Interests

Although I plan to return some day to Agnon’s fiction, I am currently interested in the American experience of Jews and Hebrew writers in particular. Once my study on Hebrew literature’s representation of America’s minorities is published, I plan to pursue other issues that involved Hebrew literature in America, historical events and literary influences. My encounter with American Hebrew literature has also focused my interests more on Hebrew poetry, and I am interested how the poets in America differed from their fellows in other locations.

Courses Recently Taught

  • Advanced Hebrew I and II
  • Modern Hebrew Literature in English translation (and in the original)
  • Introduction to Modern Hebrew Literature
  • Recent Hebrew Literature in English translation (and in the original)
  • S. Y. Agnon and the Jewish Experience
  • The Kibbutz in Fact and Fiction
  • Biblical Themes in Modern Hebrew Literature

Publication Highlights

Books

  • Ha-Gibbor be-Eynay Ruho: Torat ha-Sipper be-’oreah nata lalun’ le-Shay Agnon [in Hebrew, "The Hero in His Own Eyes: Narrative Techniques in S.Y. Agnon’s A Guest for the Night."] (Tel-Aviv: Eked, 1985).
  • The Centrifugal Novel: S.Y. Agnon’s Poetics of Narrative (Madison, N.J.: A.U.P./Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 1999).
  • Red, Black, and Jew:  New Frontiers in Hebrew Literature (University of Texas Press, 2009).

Articles

Child’s Play: Hillel Bavli’s ’Mrs. Woods’ and Indian Representation in American Hebrew Literature," Modern Judaism 27, no. 2 (2007): 193-218.

"To be as Others: E.E. Lisitzky’s Re-presentation of Native Americans" Hebrew Union College Annual 73 (2002), 249-297. (published in 2003).

"History, Memory, and Ideology: Ben-Avigdor and Fin de Siecle Hebrew Literature." Jewish History, 12:2 (Fall, 1998), 33-49.

"Reading Agnon through Agnon: Creating the Legend of the Inspired Genesis of Fiction." Shofar, 14:2 (Winter, 1996), 27-37.