Acting Jewish: Jews, Self-Representation, and the American Dream


ACLS Fellowship Program




This project uses the tension between theatricality and anti-theatricality in Jewish self-representation to tell a history of American Jewish identity in the twentieth century. Drawing on a century’s worth of fiction, memoirs, plays, essays, and performance, this project will trace the evolution of a distinctly Jewish form of American liberalism, a Jewish identity indelibly, and productively, marked by the major intellectual currents of the twentieth century. This project examines the work of writers and critics such as Mary Antin, Abraham Cahan, Edna Ferber, Fannie Hurst, Arthur Miller, Saul Bellow, Erving Goffman, Lionel Trilling, Cynthia Ozick, Philip Roth, Woody Allen, and Ben Katchor.