On March 19, 2013, Philip Roth, the irreverent and iconic American author, turns 80! The relevance of Roth's fiction to American history, the sociology of American-Judaism, relations between Israel and the Diaspora, the dilemma of anti-Semitism and for fiction itself is undeniable.
Join literary critic Adam Kirsch, communications scholar Liel Leibovitz and professor of Jewish Civilization Jacques Berlinerblau as they talk about Philip Roth's prodigious fictional output and its attendant provocations. Aside from assessing his contributions to literature (with special attention to his metafictional turn), this panel will also scrutinize Roth's survey of the modern Jewish predicament. The author's exploration of intermarriage, assimilation, the return to Orthodoxy, and the future of secular Judaism will be discussed by three scholars deeply attuned to the dynamic interplay between Jewish history and Jewish literature.
Jacques Berlinerblau holds separate doctorates in ancient Near Eastern Languages and Literatures, and in Sociology. He is currently an Associate Professor and Director of the Program for Jewish Civilization at the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University.
Berlinerblau has published on a wide variety of issues ranging from the composition of the Hebrew Bible, to the sociology of heresy, to modern Jewish intellectuals, to African-American and Jewish-American relations. His articles on these and other subjects have appeared in Biblica, Journal for the Study of the Old Testament, Semeia, Biblical Interpretation, Journal of Northwest Semitic Languages, Hebrew Studies, Journal of the American Academy of Religion, and History of Religions.
He has published five books, the most recent being How to Be Secular: A Call to Arms for Religious Freedom (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. His previous works include Thumpin' It: The Use and Abuse of the Bible in Today's Presidential Politics (Westminster John Knox), Heresy in the University: The Black Athena Controversy and the Responsibility of American Intellectuals (Rutgers University Press), and The Secular Bible: Why Nonbelievers Must Take Religion Seriously (Cambridge University Press).
Over the course of his career, he has written reviews and feature articles on a diverse array of poets and novelists, including Charles Bukowski, Emily Dickinson, Kay Ryan, T.S. Eliot, Thomas Hardy, H.G. Wells, Richard Wilbur, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Dylan Thomas, John Keats, Saul Bellow, John Updike, Hart Crane, and David Foster Wallace. He has also written articles on assorted cultural issues, covering topics like rap music, America and the Roman Empire, the relationship between conservative politics in America and the writings of Ayn Rand, and the importance of literary criticism.
Kirsch has published two books of poems, The Thousand Wells and Invasions, as well as non-fiction books on Benjamin Disraeli and Lionel Trilling. The Thousand Wells won The New Criterion Poetry Prize in 2002. His poems have also appeared in many magazines including The Paris Review, Partisan Review, The Formalist, Harvard Review, and The New Criterion.
Liel Leibovitz is a visiting assistant professor focusing primarily on video game and interactive media research and theory. Having received his Ph.D. from Columbia University in 2007, Leibovitz continues to study the ontology of electronic game play, exploring such diverse issues as human-machine interaction, gaming and the construction of player subjectivity, and representations of death and violence in video games. Prior to coming to Steinhardt, he taught at Barnard College. He is a member of the advisory board of the New York chapter of the Digital Games Research Association, a founding member of the NYU Faculty Council on Games, and a member of the academic advisory board of the American Jewish Historical Society. He is also the author or co-author of several books of non-fiction, including, most recently, The Chosen Peoples: America, Israel, and the Ordeals of Divine Election, co-written with Todd Gitlin, as well as contributor to newspapers and magazines such as the Los Angeles Times, the Atlantic Monthly, Dissent, and Tablet.