University of Pittsburgh
March 19, 2008

Scholars, Authors, and Artists Convene at Pitt March 30-31 to Discuss Jewish Identity and Its Literary and Historical Representations

Author Dara Horn to be keynote speaker at "Discourses of 'Jewishness'"

Sharon Blake


Cell: 412-277-6926

PITTSBURGH-An award-winning novelist will be part of a symposium titled "Discourses of 'Jewishness': A Symposium on Jewish Identity and Representation" on March 30-31 in Posvar Hall, 230 S. Bouquet St., Oakland.

The event will focus on Jewish identities as they have been presented in literary and historical accounts. Organized by Pitt's Jewish Studies Program, the symposium is free and open to the public. For more information, call 412-624-2279 or visit

"We have intentionally chosen commentators whose work breaks with more traditional scholarly paradigms in the analysis of Jewish history and literature," says Alexander Orbach, director of Pitt's Jewish Studies Program. "These discussions will highlight the rich and complex matrix of representations of 'Jewishness' as they have been produced and consumed by Jews and non-Jews in North and South American, European, and North African settings."

The symposium begins at 7:30 p.m. March 30 in Room 1501, Posvar Hall, with an address by award-winning novelist Dara Horn, titled "Do You Consider Yourself a Jewish Writer?" Horn's first novel, "In the Image" (W.W. Norton, 2002), won a 2003 National Jewish Book Award and the 2003 Reform Judaism Fiction Prize. For her second novel, "The World to Come" (W.W. Norton, 2006), Horn received the 2006 National Jewish Book Award for Fiction. The book, translated into 11 languages, was selected as an Editor's Choice in "The New York Times Book Review" and was named one of the Best Books of 2006 by the "San Francisco Chronicle." In 2007, Horn was chosen by "Granta" magazine as one of the Best New American Novelists.

On March 31, in Room 2500, Posvar Hall, several guest speakers will address the symposium at each of four different sessions. The times and titles of the series are as follows:

8:30-10:30 a.m. "Fashioning Jewish Ethnicities"

10:30 a.m.-noon "'Jewishness' in the Cultural Imaginary"

1:30-3 p.m. "Reconstructing Jewish Presence"

3:30-4:30 p.m. "Expressions: Conversations with Contemporary Jewish Artists"

For information on speakers at each session, visit

Support for the symposium has come from a number of Pitt departments as well as the Pittsburgh-area Jewish community. Pitt offers the only program in Jewish Studies in Western Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and eastern Ohio.