Brett Ashley Kaplan



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 Program in Jewish Culture & Society and 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 more recently to race in art and literature, she has published Jewish Anxiety in the Novels of Philip Roth (2015) and is working on a project tentatively entitled jewblack is blackjew: tensions, intersections, and interactions among jewishness and blackness in contemporary art. 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, and single author/auteur classes on J.M. Coetzee, Philip Roth, Woody Allen, 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, Comparative and World Literature
Professor, Program in Jewish Culture and Society
Professor, Unit for Criticism and Interpretive Theory
Professor, French and Italian

Recent Publications

Kaplan, B. A. (2015). Jewish Anxiety and the Novels of Philip Roth. Bloomsbury Academic Press.

Kaplan, B. A., & Herrero-Matoses, F. (2014). Holocaust Postmemory: W. G. Sebald and Gerhard Richter. In J. Adams (Ed.), The Bloomsbury Companion to Holocaust Literature (pp. 139-158). (Bloomsbury Companions). Bloomsbury Academic Press.

Kaplan, B. A. (2012). Double Consciousness and the Jewish Heart of Darkness: The Counterlife and Operation Shylock. In A. L. Pozorski (Ed.), Roth and Celebrity (pp. 133-153). Lexington Books.

Kaplan, B. A. (2011). Just Folks Homesteading: Roth's Doubled Plots Against America. In D. Shostak (Ed.), Philip Roth: American Pastoral, The Human Stain, The Plot Against America (pp. 115-129). (Bloomsbury Studies in Contemporary North American Fiction).

Kaplan, B. A. (2011). Landscapes of Holocaust postmemory. (Routledge Research in Cultural and Media Studies; Vol. 29). New York: Taylor and Francis.

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