Dr. Edna Nahshon, professor of Hebrew and Theater at The Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS) and a specialist in Jewish theater and performance, is the editor of a new book due in April 2012. Titled Jews and Theater in an Intercultural Context, the volume is based on papers delivered at a major international conference, "Jews/Theater/Performance in an Intercultural World," that Dr. Nahshon co-convened at JTS three years ago.
Jewish theater practitioners, playwrights, critics, financiers, and audiences have played an enormous role in the development of the European and American stage. Jews and Theater in an Intercultural Context, a collection of essays by an international cadre of theater scholars that includes Dr. Nahshon, addresses this subject. Focusing on the role of Jews and Jewishness in the theatrical field, the book discusses the representation of Jews in the American, European, and South American theater, with a strong emphasis on the 20th century and the contemporary theatrical scene.
Dr. Nahshon has written extensively on the intersection of Jewishness and performance. Her books include Yiddish Proletarian Theatre: The Art and Politics of the Artef, 1925-1940 (Greenwood, 1998); Jewish Theater: A Global View (Brill, 2009); and Jews and Shoes (Berg Publishers, 2008), a multidisciplinary approach for scholars, students, and general readers to the practical and symbolic significance of shoes in Jewish culture and religion since antiquity. Her From the Ghetto to the Melting Pot: Israel Zangwill's Jewish Plays (Wayne State University Press, 2006) was honored by the Jordan Schnitzer Book Award Committee of the Association for Jewish Studies as a 2009 Notable Selection in the category of Jews and the Arts.
"It is widely acknowledged that Jews have fulfilled an important role in the development of Western theatrical culture at both the fictional and practical levels," said Dr. Nahshon about Jews and Theater in an Intercultural Context. "They began their appearance as dramatic characters who represented otherness, but in the late 19th century, 'real' Jews entered the theatrical arena in rapidly growing numbers and began to exercise a significant impact on the stages of Europe and, particularly, the United States. Despite this intense engagement, little has been written about the connectedness between Jews and theater. Jews and Theater in an Intercultural Context addresses this lacuna. Focusing on the role of Jews in the non-Jewish theater world, the book presents a complex and fascinating map of the representation of Jews on the American and European stage."
Visit JTS at www.jtsa.edu.