Research Expertise and Interest
Hebrew literature, Yiddish literature, Jewish history, queer theory, postcolonial theory
Roni Masel is Assistant Professor in the Department of Comparative Literature and faculty affiliate at the Center for Jewish Studies. Masel specializes in Hebrew and Yiddish literatures, and studies them in the context of modern Jewish history and culture in Eastern Europe, the history of reading and history of the book, and queer and postcolonial theory. Masel is currently completing a book manuscript titled Bad Readers: Misreading, Mistranslation, and Other Textual Malpractices in Hebrew and Yiddish, which explores Jewish literatures in Eastern Europe from the perspective of reading and para-literacy, nationalism and dissent. The book reflects on what it means to accuse someone of being a bad reader, how turning this accusation on its head can offer a liberating prospect, and how the long history of this theologically-marked accusation shaped modern Jewish literature and textuality more broadly. Another project, “Yiddish Empires: Visions of Race and the Global in Modern Yiddish Culture,” considers works of Yiddish literature and philology to analyze a globalizing Yiddish culture in the twentieth century between Europe, North America, and South Africa. Masel holds a Ph.D. from New York University and a B.A. from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Prior to teaching at Berkeley, Masel was a Fulbright Postdoctoral Scholar at Ben-Gurion University and a postdoctoral fellow at the Frankel Center for Advanced Judaic Studies at the University of Michigan.