Professor of Comparative Literary and Cultural Studies
Director, Center for Judaic and Middle Eastern Studies, UConn Stamford
Ph.D. Comparative Literature and English, New York University (1977)
M.A. English Literature, Bar Ilan University
B.A. English and Judaic Studies, Hebrew University
Research Interests: Hebraic literature, Bible as literature; Women in Hebraic and Western literature; Comparative literary theory; literature and religion; literature and politics.
Professor Nehama Aschkenasy teaches courses in Israeli and Middle Eastern literature, Bible, Women’s Studies, and English Literature at the Stamford campus and graduate courses in literature and politics and literature and religion at the Storrs campus. In 1981 she founded the Center for Judaic and Middle Eastern Studies at UConn, Stamford.
Prof. Aschkenasy has published four books: Eve’s Journey: Feminine Images in Hebraic Literary Tradition, a Choice selection and winner of the Present Tense / AJC Literary Award; Woman at the Window: Biblical Tales of Oppression and Escape; Biblical Patterns in Modern Literature; and the dedicated volume, The Bible’s Presence in Contemporary Hebrew Literature and Culture (which she edited for the AJS Review, 28:1, 2004, Cambridge UP), with invited articles from senior scholars, to which she contributed a methodological Introduction and an article.
During her tenure as Director of the Center for Judaic and Middle Eastern Studies at UConn, Stamford, Dr. Aschkenasy has convened numerous conferences in the areas of Jewish contemporary life, Israel, and Middle Eastern culture and politics, and invited to the Stamford campus some of the most renowned scholars and authors, such as historian Howard Sachar (of George Washington University) and the Israeli write Amos Oz, as well as policy analysts on Israel and the Middle East such as Shibley Telhami (who holds the Anwar Sadat chair at the University of Maryland), Fawaz Gerges (currently chair of the Political Science department at the London School of Economics), the late Amos Perlmutter (of the American University in Washington), Ilan Troen (Director of Israel Studies at Brandies University), Ambassador Dan Kurtzer (currently at Princeton University and formerly US Ambassador to Egypt and to Israel), and, most recently, Monsignor David Jaeger, a Justice on the Supreme Court of the Vatican, the Roman Rota, who was instrumental in the Vatican ‘s recognition of the State of Israel and has served as the representative of the Vatican in Israel and the Palestinian territories.
Prof. Aschkenasy has contributed numerous chapters to scholarly books and published essays in Judaic Studies, Women’s Studies, and Comparative Literature in publications such as Comparative Drama, Modern Language Studies (where she served as an Advisory Editor for over a decade), SYMPOSIUM, Journal of Modern Jewish Studies (where she currently serves as an Advisory Editor), Prooftexts, Journal of Biblical Literature, the AJS Review (where she served as Associate Editor for sixteen years), The Cambridge Dicitonary of Judaism and Jewish Culture, the Melton Journal, Hebrew Higher Education, Judaism, Midstream, Lilith, Tradition, and Hadassah Magazine. Forthcoming is a chapter in Fred Greenspahn (ed.) New Scholarship on Israel (NYU Press, 2014), titled: “Israeli Fiction: Private Lives and the National Identity.”
She was also invited as guest scholar and distinguished lecturer to many academic institutions and community study retreats in the US, Canada, and Europe. She has also frequently given commentary on Middle Eastern politics and culture in the Stamford, CT area television station and published Op-Ed pieces in and local papers.