Josh Lambert

Josh Lambert
Curriculum Vitae

jl103@wellesley.edu
Jewish Studies
English
A.B., Harvard College ; Ph.D., University of Michigan

Josh Lambert

Sophia Moses Robison Associate Professor of Jewish Studies and English

Research, writing, and teaching at the intersection of Jewish Studies and American literary and cultural studies.


As a researcher, I seek out areas in which Jews and Jewishness played important and understudied roles in the development of U.S. culture, with the aim of helping specialists in Jewish Studies and American Studies, as well as a broader reading audience, understand 19th-, 20th- and 21st-century cultural history in more complex and rigorous ways.

My book "Unclean Lips: Obscenity, Jews, and American Culture" (NYU, 2014) focused on one such area: American debates about censorship, pornography, and freedom of sexual expression. My current research extends my interest in cultural history in two directions, with one book-in-progress focusing on the influential roles played by Jews in the American book publishing industry, and another on the positioning of Jews in U.S. popular culture from 1995 to 2015, with chapters on streaming video, podcasts, and stand-up comedy.

As a teacher, I aim to demonstrate the relevance of American Jews’ experiences, texts, and ideas to a wide range of academic and cultural concerns. In other words, I try to make the case that anyone who cares about the history of literature, popular culture, or the arts needs to spend at least a little time thinking seriously about Jews and Jewishness.

I teach a wide range of conventional and unconventional materials (including fiction, poetry, nonfiction, drama, comics and graphic novels, film, television, radio and podcasts, journalism, legal decisions, video games, and archival materials). My syllabi reflect Jewish and non-Jewish diversity, and emphasize female and nonbinary voices. At the end of my courses, my expectation is that students will take with them increased confidence as interpreters of American and Jewish literature, culture, and history, and a set of texts and cultural objects that will continue to speak to them and challenge them.

I serve on the board of directors of the Association for Jewish Studies, on the Executive Committee of the American Jewish Historical Society, and on the editorial board of two academic journals, Studies in American Jewish Literature and Shofar. I judge fiction prizes regularly (including the $100,000 Sami Rohr Prize), and I write book reviews and essays for nonscholarly audiences in publications like the New York Times, the Los Angeles Review of Books, and Jewish Currents.

My hobbies and obsessions include baking, video games, and Paris.