My current book project about contemporary women’s voices in Jewish literature is tentatively called Women of Valor: Orthodox Jewish Women Teachers, Troll-Fighters, and Tycoons in Contemporary Literature. Exploring a range of cultural productions (memoirs, critical novels, detective fiction, film, music, blogs), this book offers a new take on the literature of religious engagement, raises significant questions about the representation of ethnic women in popular culture, and reclaims an ancient Jewish model of womanhood for the 21st century.
In addition to my book project, I am continuing my research on the Chinese-British Canadian/American Eaton sisters - Edith (1865-1914) and Winnifred (1875-1954) - who were the first Asian North American fiction writers, publishing under the pen names Sui Sin Far and Onoto Watanna, respectively. In 2012, I published a critical edition of Winnifred’s 1916 fictionalized biography of her sister, Marion: The Story of an Artist’s Model, with McGill-Queen’s University Press. My 100-page introduction situates Eaton’s novel, an oblique ‘passing’ narrative that deals with the intersection of race, gender, and nationality, in its historical and cultural climate. I have also created a digital edition of Eaton’s late-career (1920s-30s) writings for the Canadian Writing Research Collaboratory (CWRC).
I am also working, with Dr Lori Harrison-Kahan of Boston College, to introduce early 20th century New Woman writer, Miriam Michelson (1870-1942), to readers. A writer of diverse genres (popular fiction, journalism, suffragist plays, feminist utopias, science fiction, historical fiction) and a Jewish writer whose writing doesn’t fit the genre of ‘ghetto stories’ common to her era, Michelson proves a very complicated figure in literary history, and one likely to evoke much scholarly interest. We will/have publications in MELUS, Legacy, American Periodicals, and The Dictionary of Literary Biography (Writers on Women’s Rights and United States Suffrage). We won the 2016 Don D. Walker prize for best essay in western American literature for our article in MELUS.