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The OAH Distinguished Lectureship Program

Susan A. Glenn

Susan A. GlennSusan A. Glenn is the Howard and Frances Keller Endowed Professor in the history department at the University of Washington. Her research and teaching have focused on twentieth-century American cultural and social history, and she has been particularly interested in the foundations and transformations of group identities. She began her career as a social historian concerned primarily with the effects of large-scale social and economic processes—migration, industrial wage work, labor organizing—on group identity, which was the topic of her first book, Daughters of the Shtetl: Life and Labor in the Immigrant Generation (1990). Her approach shifted to focus on the cultural and intellectual materials through which social groups have attempted to define and represent themselves within the broader public culture, the subject of her book, Female Spectacle: The Theatrical Roots of Modern Feminism (2000).

Glenn's recent work explores some fundamental Jewish debates, anxieties, and taboos about who Jews are and what makes them different from, similar to, or the same as other Americans. She is also the coeditor, with Naomi B. Sokoloff, of Boundaries of Jewish Identity (2010), a collection of essays by historians, anthropologists, sociologists, political scientists, and literary critics who offer comparative perspectives on who and what is "Jewish" in the United States, Israel, and Europe.