Prof. Ilana Blumberg

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    Fields of Interest

    Nineteenth-century British literature, life writing, ethics and literature, religion and literature 




    Ph.D., English, University of Pennsylvania, 2001      

    M.A., English and Creative Writing, University of Pennsylvania, 1995

    B.A., English, summa cum laude, Barnard College, Columbia University, 1993


    Honors, Fellowships, and Grants

    ",Israel Science Foundation, three-year grant, "Post-Secular George Eliot 


    Sami Rohr Jewish Literary Institute, Fellowship, July 2014

    Michigan State University Teacher-Scholar Award, 2010

    MSU/Israeli Universities Cooperative Fund Grant, 2009

    Faculty Development Grant, James Madison College, 2007, 2014

    Awards for Houses of Study (2007):

    Shortlist, Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature ($100,000), 2008

    Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature Choice Award, Jewish Book Council of America, 2008

    Second Prize, National Jewish Book Award in Women’s Studies, Jewish Book Council of America 2007

    Finalist, Moment Magazine Emerging Writer Award, 2007

    National Humanities Center, Summer Institute in Literary Studies, Fellowship, July 2005

    American Association of University Women, American Postdoctoral Fellowship, 2004-2005

    Money for Women/Barbara Deming Memorial Fund Arts Grant in Creative Writing, November 2000

    Dean’s Award for Outstanding Teaching, University of Pennsylvania, May 2000

    A.W. Mellon Dissertation Fellowship, 1998-‘99

    Steinberg Fellowship, University of Pennsylvania, 1997-‘98

    Patrick Day Essay Prize, Department of English, University of Pennsylvania, 1997

    Prize in Jewish Fiction, American Jewish Cultural Project, Philadelphia, 1997

    Phi Beta Kappa, Barnard College, 1992

    Centennial Scholar, Barnard College, 1989-‘93

    Prizes in Prose, Barnard College 1991-‘93


    Selected Conference Papers

    Mapping Secularization, "Mapping Empire," Hebrew University, May 2019

    "Converting Towards and Away: The Case of George Eliot and Modern Ethics." "The Uses of Religion in Nineteenth-Century Studies," Baylor University, March 2016.

    "Failed Marriages, Flawed Marriages: Nineteenth-Century Rewritings of the Marriage Plot." British Women Writers' Conference, Columbia University, June 2015.

    “Post-Traumatic Narratives: Writing as Ethical Redress of the Surreal.” International Society for the Study of Narrative, MIT, Cambridge, March 2014

     “George Eliot’s Local and Global: the Fear of Strangers, the Embrace of Adoption.” British Association of Victorian Studies/ North American Victorian Studies Association International Conference, Venice, June 2013

    “Sacred Play in Robert Elsmere.” NAVSA, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, November 2011

    “Sacrifice and Suicide in A Tale of Two Cities.”  Dickens International Conference, Hebrew University, Jerusalem, June 2009

    “’Love Yourself as Your Neighbor’: The Ethics of Mid-Victorian Novels.” NAVSA, Purdue University, August 2006

    “Trollope’s Heroines, His Heroes and the Sacrifice of Sacrifice.”  Trollope and Gender, University of Exeter. July 2006

    Special Session Organizer, “Victorian Altruism and Egoism.”  MLA, Philadelphia, December 2004.

    “Trollope’s Ethic of Mutual Benefit.” MLA, Philadelphia, December 2004

    “The Next Generation: Contemporary Jewish Women Writers.” Jewish Women Writing Feminism, University of Michigan, October 2004

    “Angels of the House.” Creative Prose Panel, M/MLA, Chicago, November 2003


    Teaching Appointments

    Senior Lecturer with tenure, Bar Ilan University, Israel. 2014

    Associate Professor with tenure, Humanities, Culture and Writing; Jewish Studies. James Madison College, Michigan State University. 2011-2015

    Assistant Professor, James Madison College, Michigan State University, 2005-2011

    Visiting Assistant Professor of English, University of Michigan, 2001- 2004

    Instructor in English, Barnard College, 1999

    Lecturer in English, College of General Studies, University of Pennsylvania, 1998-2000

    Instructor in Bible, Continuing Education, Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit, 2001-2004

    Instructor in Bible and Biblical Hebrew, Drisha Institute for Jewish Education, New York,1997-2002


    Selected Speaking Engagements

    Columbia University, Drexel University, University of Kentucky, 2019

    Ben Gurion University Humanities Faculty Colloquium, Invited Speaker, November 2015.

    Kisufim Conference, Memoir Workshop, November 2015, Jerusalem, Israel

    The Writing Pad, Guest Writer, June 2013, August 2014, Jerusalem, Israel

    Winter Seminar in Creative Nonfiction. January 28-29, 2013. Shaindy Rudoff Graduate Program in Creative Writing, Bar Ilan University, Israel

    Michigan Psychoanalytical Institute. January 2012, May 2011, October 2010; Birmingham and Ann Arbor, MI

    “Preparing Future Faculty”; U of Michigan Center for Research on Learning and Teaching, October 4, 2011

    Seminar Leader, Creative Non-Fiction, Shaindy Rudoff Graduate Program in Creative Writing, Bar Ilan University, Israel, July 20-22, 2009

    Gallery talk, “The History of the Haggadah.” Works on Paper gallery in the Kresge Art Museum and Special Collections in the MSU Library, March 2009

    Spertus College of Judaica, Fall 2008, Chicago

    Metro Detroit Tri-Synagogue Women's Project, “Book Nite Out: Houses of Study,” April 26, 2008. Jewish Community Center, Oak Park

    Hadassah/MSU Jewish Studies Brunch, November 28, 2007

    Book Presentation, MSU Jewish Studies and James Madison College, November 1, 2007

    Jewish Book Fair of Metropolitan Detroit, Oak Park, November 14, 2007

    Jewish Book Fair, Ann Arbor, November 18, 2007

    Nextbook (national Jewish cultural and literary organization), Chicago, Jan. 17, 2008

    Michigan Writers Series, Michigan State University Libraries, February 12, 2008

    North Suburban Synagogue Beth El, Highland Park, IL, March 9, 2008

    Scholar-in-residence at Congregation Anshe Sholom, Chicago, June 2008

    Lecturer on Midrash and Bible, Congregation Beth Israel, Ann Arbor, Michigan, Fall 2003

    Nineteenth-Century Forum, University of Michigan, Fall 2001


    Related Experience

    Consultant on Bilingual Education, Beit Rabban Center for Research in Jewish Education, New York; Morasha-Lauder Day School, Warsaw, Poland, Bernard Zell Anshe Emet Day School, Chicago.

    Consultant on Writing Workshops for Emergent Readers, Beit Rabban Center for Research in Jewish Education, New York


    Peer review

    Victorian Studies, 2014 

    Nineteenth-Century Literature, 2014

    Romanticism and Victorianism on the Net (RaVoN), 2014

    Blackwell Encyclopedia of Victorian Literature, 2014

    Victorian Review, 2012



    Chair, Humanities Field, James Madison College, MSU, 2013-‘14; 2008-‘10

    Judge, Ron Dorr Scholarship Essays, JMC, MSU, Spring 2014

    Reappointment, Promotion and Tenure Committee, JMC, MSU, 2013-‘14

    Ad-Hoc Hiring Committee, Humanities, Culture and Writing, JMC, MSU, Spring 2012

    Holtzman Hebrew Literature Conference Planning Committee, Jewish Studies, MSU, 2011-‘13

    All-University Distinguished Faculty Awards Committee, MSU, 2011-‘14

    University Academic Integrity Hearing Board, 2011-’12

    University Committee on Liberal Learning, MSU, Spring 2011

    Committee Member, Ad-Hoc Review of First-Year Writing Program, JMC, MSU, 2008

    Representative, University Appeals Board, MSU, 2006-‘07

    Representative, College Curriculum Committee, JMC, MSU, Fall 2006

    Volunteer, Capital Needs Assessment Committee for Jewish Community of Ann Arbor, 2006-‘08

    Volunteer, Hebrew Day School of Ann Arbor Education and Planning Committee, 2005-‘07

    Barnard Alumnae Area Representative, Ann Arbor, 2003-‘14

    Advisor to Senior English Honors Students, University of Michigan, 2002-’03

    Volunteer, Literacy Project for the Homeless, New York, 1999-2000


    Professional Memberships

    Modern Language Association

    North American Victorian Studies Association

    International Society for Study of Narrative




    Victorian Literature; Victorian Ethics and Economics; On Altruism; 19th-Century American and English Culture; Women and the Novel; Autobiography and Memoir; Narratives of Education; Truth-telling in American Culture; Fiction and Non-Fiction: Boundaries and Ethics; Feminist Approaches to the Hebrew Bible; Contemporary Jewish-American Literature; Trauma and Literacy; American Slavery: Research Methods in the Humanities



    Open Your Hand: Teaching as a Jew, Teaching as an American. Rutgers University Press, 2018

    Victorian Sacrifice: Ethics and Exchange in Mid-Century Novels. Ohio State University Press, 2013

    Houses of Study: A Jewish Woman Among Books. University of Nebraska Press, 2007.  Paperback, Bison Books, 2009 (List of published reviews available)

    Articles and Book Chapters

    “’The distance that had been traversed’: Education, Identity, and Public Literacy in Tara Westover’s Educated and Richard Rodriguez’s Hunger of Memory. Forthcoming, a/b: Auto/biography Studies.

     “The Life Writing Classroom as Civic Education: The Case of Palestinian and Jewish Narratives in the Israeli Undergraduate Classroom."  Forthcoming, Pedagogy: Critical Approaches to Teaching Literature, Language, Composition, and Culture.

    “Sympathy or Religion?: George Eliot and Christian Conversion.” Nineteenth-Century Literature 74.3 (December 2019): 360-87.

    “Romola.” Palgrave Encyclopedia of Victorian Women’s Writing. Ed. Lesa Scholl.

    “Keyword: Religion.” Victorian Literature and Culture 46 (2018:) 840-44.

     “‘Traceable Beginnings’: Reading and Writing Memoir in the First-Year Humanities Classroom.” Life Writing 15 (2016): 1-12.

     “Transfers.” Image: Art, Faith, Mystery 83 (Winter 2015): 93-107

     “The ‘Parson’s Surplice/Person’s Surplus: Abstraction and Social Value in Silas Marner.” Nineteenth-Century Literature (March 2013) 490-519

    “Sacrificial Value: Beyond the Cash-Nexus in George Eliot’s Romola.” Economic Women: Essays on Desire and Dispossession in Nineteenth-Century British Culture. Eds. Jill Rappoport and Lana Dalley. Ohio State University Press, 2013

    “Reading George Eliot in Jerusalem.” Lilith (Spring 2013)

    “’Love Yourself as Your Neighbor’: The Limits of Altruism and the Ethics of Personal Benefit in Adam Bede.”  Victorian Literature and Culture 37 (2009): 543-560

    “Collins’ Moonstone: The Victorian Novel as Sacrifice, Theft, Debt and Gift.” Studies in the Novel 37.2 (Summer 2005): 162-186

    “’Unnatural Self-Sacrifice’: Trollope’s Ethic of Mutual Benefit.” Nineteenth-Century Literature (March 2004): 506-546

    “From ‘Houses of Study’: Reading and Writing as a Jewish Woman.” Michigan Quarterly Review (Winter 2003): 21-28

    “Houses of Study.” Image: A Journal of the Arts and Religion (Fall 2002): 61-75

    “Learning Chesed: Community Service in a Kindergarten Classroom.” Kerem: Creative Explorations in Judaism (Fall 1995). Reprinted in Jewish Values, publication of the Coalition for the Advancement of Jewish Education, June 2003

    “A Moment of Reckoning.” Sh’ma: A Journal of Jewish Responsibility 26.504 (December 22, 1995): 1-2

    "The Divine Attribute of Change in the Book of Jonah." Sh'ma: A Journal of Jewish Responsibility 25.477 (September 25, 1994): 6-7



    Francesca Sawaya, The Difficult Art of Giving: Patronage, Philanthropy, and the American Literary Market.  Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2014. Reviewed for Nineteenth-Century Contexts.

    Jan-Melissa Schramm, Atonement and Self-Sacrifice in Nineteenth-Century Narrative.  Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012. Reviewed for Nineteenth-Century Literature.

    Deanna K. Kreisel, Economic Woman: Demand, Gender, and Narrative Closure in Eliot and Hardy. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2012. Reviewed for Romanticism and Victorianism on the Net, U Montreal. December 2013

    Suzanne Keen, Empathy and the Novel.  Reviewed for Victorian Studies 51.2 (Winter 2009): 344-346.

    Avivah Gottlieb Zornberg, The Murmuring Deep: Reflections on the Biblical Unconscious. Reviewed for The Forward.  27 March 2009. 12

    Ivan Kreilkamp, Voice and the Victorian Storyteller and Robert E. Lougy, Inaugural Wounds: The Shaping of Desire in Five Nineteenth-Century Novels. Reviewed for Studies in the Novel  39.3 (Fall 2007): 390-393

    Christopher Lane, Hatred and Civility: The Antisocial Life in Victorian England. Reviewed for Nineteenth-Century Literature 59.3 (December 2004): 419-422

    Last Updated Date : 26/07/2023