Rachel F. Brenner

Position title: Harvey L. Temkin and Barbara Myers Temkin Professor in Hebrew Language and Literature, Elaine Marks Professor of Jewish Studies

Email: brenner@wisc.edu

Phone: 608-262-6102

1354 Van Hise Hall
1220 Linden Dr.
Madison, WI 53706

Ph.D., York University, Toronto, English Department, 1986
M.A., Tel Aviv University, Israel, 1976
B.A., Hebrew University, Israel, 1968

Research Areas: Modern Hebrew Literature, Holocaust literature and ethics

Affiliations: Women’s Studies

Curriculum Vitae


Rachel F. Brenner is the Max and Frieda Weinstein-Bascom Professor of Jewish Studies at the Center for Jewish Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Her books in the area of Canadian Jewish literature include Assimilation and Assertion: The Response to the Holocaust in Mordecai Richler’s Writing (1989) and A.M. Klein, The Father of Canadian Jewish Literature: Essays in the Poetics of Humanistic Passion (1990) which was awarded The Jewish Federation of Greater Toronto Literary Scholarship Award.

In the area of Israeli literature, she is the author of Inextricably Bonded–Israeli Jewish and Arab Writers Re-Visioning Culture (2003) and The Freedom to Write: The Woman-Artist and the World in Ruth Almog’s Fiction (2009).

Her Holocaust literature book-length studies include: Writing as Resistance: Four Women Confronting the Holocaust: Edith Stein, Simone Weil, Anne Frank, and Etty Hillesum (1997) and The Ethics of Witnessing: The Holocaust in Polish Writers’ Diaries from Warsaw, 1939-1945 (2014), which was awarded The University of Southern California Book Prize in Literary and Cultural Studies. She has just completed the monograph Polish Literature and the Holocaust: Eyewitness Testimonies, 1942-1947 (2019).

Brenner’s work has been recognized by The Jack, Joseph and Morton Center for Advanced Studies in The US Memorial Holocaust Museum where she was Fellow at the Research Workshop on Diaries and Autobiographical Writings (2004), the Sosland Foundation Fellow  (2005), and Fellow at the Workshop on Microcosms of the Holocaust (2016). Brenner held fellowships in Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies (2001), and was a Visiting Professor at Hebrew University for The Mosse Faculty Exchange Program at the Hebrew University, Jerusalem (2004). She was Senior Fellow, Institute for Research in the Humanities (2028-2013).

Her awards include, Canadian Studies Research Grant awarded by Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, the Standard Resarch Grant awarded by the Social Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (1990), National Endowment Fellowship (1990) awarded by the USA Government. The University of Wisconsin-Madison awarded her the Kellet mid-career award (2011), the Hilldale award (2015), and the WARF Elaine Marks named professorship (2019).