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Brett Ashley Kaplan

Profile picture for Brett Ashley Kaplan

Contact Information

Comp & World Lit
3106 FLB
707 S Mathews
M/C 160
Urbana, IL 61801


Brett Ashley Kaplan received her Ph.D. from the Rhetoric Department at the University of California, Berkeley in 2002 and is now a Professor and Conrad Humanities Scholar in the Program in Comparative and World Literature at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign where she directs the Initiative in Holocaust, Genocide, Memory Studies. Her first books, Unwanted Beauty: Aesthetic Pleasure in Holocaust Representation (2007) and Landscapes of Holocaust Postmemory (2011), examine the Shoah’s intersections with art and space. Turning to race in art and literature, she has published Jewish Anxiety in the Novels of Philip Roth (2015)She is the editor of Critical Memory Studies: New Approaches (Bloomsbury, 2023) and co-editor (with Anthony Russell and Sara Feldman) of the collection in progress, Blewish: Contemporary Black-Jewish Voices. Her first novel, Rare Stuff was published by Spuyten Duyvil in 2022, and she is at work on a second novel, Vandervelde Downs. She teaches classes in Jewish American Literature in Dialogue with U.S. Minority Cultures, Literary Responses to the Holocaust, Introduction to Theory, Introduction to Holocaust, Genocide, Memory Studies, Memory and Objects, and single author/auteur classes on J.M. Coetzee, Philip Roth, Marguerite Duras and Alain Resnais.

Research Interests

Holocaust art and literature
Jewish American literature
race and ethnicity in contemporary visual and performance art


Ph.D. Berkeley, Rhetoric, 2002

Additional Campus Affiliations

Professor, Program in Comparative and World Literature
Professor, Germanic Languages and Literatures
Professor, Program in Jewish Culture and Society
Professor, Unit for Criticism and Interpretive Theory
Professor, French and Italian

Recent Publications

Kaplan, B. A. (2023). Converged Aesthetics: Blewishness in the Work of Anthony Mordechai Tzvi Russell. Arts, 12(4).

Kaplan, B. A. (Ed.) (2023). Critical Memory Studies: New Approaches. Bloomsbury Academic.

Kaplan, B. A., & Kessler, S. J. (2022). "Portnoy's Complaint at 50": A Podcast About Roth's Most Infamous Book. Philip Roth Studies, 18(1), 131-132.

Kaplan, B. A. (2022). Rare Stuff. Spuyten Duyvil.

Kaplan, B. A. (2022). Review of Ira Nadel, Philip Roth: A Counterlife: Fiction as Revenge. Cercles, Cercles.

View all publications on Illinois Experts