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Faculty Experts

Helene Meyers

Professor of English and Holder of McManis University Chair


Areas of expertise

Contemporary Literature, Jewish Cultural Studies, Feminist Theory, Gothic Studies

Helene Meyers, Professor of English and McManis University Chair, works at the intersections of literary studies, feminist and queer studies, and Jewish studies.  She is the author of Identity Papers: Contemporary Narratives of American Jewishness (SUNY Press, Dec. 2011), Reading Michael Chabon (Greenwood 2010; Gale/Cengage e-book 2011), and Femicidal Fears: Narratives of the Female Gothic Experience (SUNY Feminist Criticism and Theory Series 2001).  She has served as chair of Southwestern's Feminist Studies (formerly Women's Studies) program several times.  The recipient of Southwestern's Distinguished Teaching Award as well as an award recognizing her commitments to advancing diversity on campus, Professor Meyers defines herself as a teacher/scholar at Southwestern and in the Austin community.  Her first-year seminar "The Amazing Adventures of Michael Chabon" is enriched by the research she did for Reading Michael Chabon, the first full-length volume on the Pulitzer Prize-winning writer. Her research on the diverse canon of contemporary Jewish American literature represented by Identity Papers and numerous journal articles informs not only courses at Southwestern but also adult education programs such as the Austin Public Library Jewish literature discussion series (sponsored by a grant from Nextbook/ALA), for which she served as the scholar-in-residence.  She is currently working on a book about Jewish American cinema. 

Recent Highlights:

Review of Woman in Gold.  Journal of Religion and Film 19.2 (2015)

"How Rainbow Jews Threaten a Black and White Haredi WorldviewLilith Magazine: the Blog.  3 Aug. 2015.  Excerpted in Fall 2015 issue (on-line and print version).

"Communal Mourning."  Lilith Magazine: the Blog.  6 July 2015.

"Felix and Meira: Flawed Flick Worth Watching."  Lilith Magazine: the Blog.  1 June 2015.

"Keeping the Sabbath Post-Hyper Cacher."  Lilith Magazine: the Blog.  16 Jan. 2015.

"The Unmarked Chains of Paper Clips."  Shofar.  Spring 2014.

a lecture at Vassar titled "Reel and Novel Jews"

"Why Do Research?", a reflection on the relationship between the scholarly enterprise and the sacred art of teaching, in the Forum section of PMLA


PhD,Indiana University 1991
MA,University of Florida 1985
BA,Pennsylvania State University 1982


Professor of English
Southwestern University
August 01, 2002 - present
McManis University Chair, 2009 -
Acting Chair of Feminist Studies, Spring 2009, Spring 2006
Associate Professor of English, Southwestern University, 1997-2002
Chair of Women's Studies, Southwestern University, 1996-1999
Assistant Prof



Identity Papers: Contemporary Narratives of American Jewishness.  SUNY Press, 2011.  Paperback edition 2012.  "Highly Recommended" by Choice.  

Reading Michael Chabon.  Greenwood Press, 2010.  Added to Gale Virtual Reference Library 2011.

Femicidal Fears: Narratives of the Female Gothic Experience. SUNY Press, Feminist Theory and Criticism Series, 2001.  Reprint of Chapter 4, "The Construction of the Sadomasochistic Couple," in Gale's Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism, Vol. 202 (2008).


"The Unmarked Chains of Paper Clips."  Shofar: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Jewish Studies.  Spring 2014.

"On Homelands and Home-Making: Rebecca Goldstein's MazelJournal of Modern Literature. Spring 2010. 

"Educating for a Jewish Gaze: The Close Doubling of Philosemitism and Antisemitism in Sandra Goldbacher's The Governess." Antisemitism and Philosemitism in the Twentieth and Twenty-First Centuries, eds. Phyllis Lassner and Lara Trubowitz (U of Delaware P, 2008).

"The Death and Life of a Jewish Judith Shakespeare: Rebecca Goldstein's Mazel." Shofar: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Jewish Studies. Spring 2007.

"Jewish Gender Trouble: Women Writing Men of Valor." Tulsa Studies in Women's Literature. Fall 2006.

Signed entries on Michael Chabon, Rebecca Goldstein, Laura Hobson, Judith Katz, Lesléa Newman, Lev Raphael. Greenwood Encylcopedia of Multiethnic American Literature. 2005.

"The Lesbian and the Mishpachah: Newman's In Every Laugh a Tear." Studies in Jewish American Fiction 22 (2003).

"Introduction." Best Short Fiction of Lesléa Newman. Alyson Books, 2003.

"To Queer or Not to Queer: That's Not the Question." College Literature. Feb. 1997.

"Appropriating the Master Appropriator: The James Joyce Murder as Feminist Critique." In Joyce and Popular Culture. Ed. R.B. Kershner. University of Florida Press, 1996.

"Industry or Community: Joyce and the Social Function of Criticism." James Joyce Quarterly. Winter 1994.

Journalistic Writing and Reviews:

"Communal Mourning."  Lilith Magazine: the Blog.  6 July 2015. 

"Felix and Meira: Flawed Flick Worth Watching."  Lilith Magazine: the Blog.  1 June 2015.

Keeping the Sabbath Post-Hyper CacherLilith Magazine: the Blog. 16 Jan. 2015.

Jewish Calendar TalkLilith Magazine: the Blog.  3 Oct. 2014.

Yentl, Me, and 1983Lilith Magazine: the Blog.  23 April 2013.

Review of Michael Chabon's Telegraph AvenueThe Post and Courier 28 Oct. 2012. 

Review of Leslea Newman's October Mourning: A Song for Matthew ShepardLilith Magazine: the Blog. 24 Sept. 2012. 

"Jewish Musings 5772."  15 Nov. 2011.  Drash Pit

Honors & Awards

McManis University Chair, 2009 -

Brown Senior Faculty Fellowship. 2004-2005

Fellow of the Summer Institute on the Holocaust and Jewish Civilization. Northwestern University. Summer 2000.

Southwestern University Distinguished Teaching Award. Spring 2000.

Southwestern University Award for Fostering Diversity. Spring 2002.

Brown Faculty Fellowship. Southwestern University. 1994-95.

Cullen Faculty Development Grants. Southwestern University. 1992-2009.

Graduate Council Fellowship. University of Florida. 1983.

University Scholar, Pennsylvania State University. 1982.

Phi Beta Kappa, Pennsylvania State University. 1982.


Specific subjects or issues you can knowledgeably discuss:

Contemporary Jewish life and culture: Jewish American literature and  film, differences between and among Jews (orthoodox and liberal Judaism), queer Jews, contemp

I am willing to talk to the media: yes

I am willing to talk to community groups about my area of expertise: yes

Can you do interviews in Spanish? no

Other languages you are fluent in:

Experience with the news media (especially electronic media):

Contact Details:
(512) 863-1492(office)
Office: Mood-Bridwell 207