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Jonathan Druker

Professor of Italian
Lang Literatures & Cultures
Office
Stevenson Hall - STV 240
Office Hours
Spring 2024: by appointment. Request a meeting via email.
  • About
  • Education
  • Awards & Honors
  • Research

Current Courses

221.001Advanced Italian Conversation & Contemporary Society

121.001Texts & Contexts: Holocaust Literature And Film

121.001Texts & Contexts: Modern and Contemporary Italy in Italian Film

Teaching Interests & Areas

"I teach undergraduate courses on Italian language, literature and film, along with European studies and Holocaust literature. I occasionally teach graduate courses on literature and trauma."

Research Interests & Areas

"•My current book project, titled 'His heart within him burns': On Primo Levi’s Traumatic Fictions, analyzes the function and representation of Holocaust trauma in Levi’s imaginative writing. This volume will move beyond his much-discussed Holocaust testimonies and memoirs to closely consider Levi’s science fiction, historical and autobiographical fiction, poetry and essays.
•Much of my previous research examined Levi's Holocaust testimonies through the lens of Theodor Adorno's 'Dialectic of Enlightenment'.
•With L. Scott Lerner, I co-edited a collection of nineteen essays which address the place of Italian Jewish culture and history in the birth and development of Italy from the 19th century 'Risorgimento' to the present."

PhD Italian

University of California
Berkeley, California

MA Italian

University of California
Berkeley, California

BA English

Williams College
Williamstown, Massachusetts

Schechter Fellow, Mandel Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
2014

Nominee, Outstanding University Teaching Award

Nominated by the College of Arts and Sciences, Illinois State University
2012

Winner, College of Arts and Sciences Teaching Initiative Award

Illinois State University
2006

Winner, Instructors’ Teaching Award

Department of Romance Languages, University of Georgia
1996

Book, Authored

Primo Levi and Humanism after Auschwitz: Posthumanist Reflections (New York: Palgrave Macmillan USA, 2009; softcover, 2014), 173 pages.

Book, Chapter

“Monstrous Births and Mad Scientists: Allegories of Holocaust Trauma in Primo Levi’s Natural Histories,” in Lessons & Legacies XV. The Holocaust: Global Perspectives, National Narratives, Local Contexts, eds. Erin McGlothlin and Avinoam Patt (Evanston: Northwestern University Press, forthcoming 2024), 134-150.
“Ethical Grey Zones: On Coercion and Complicity in the Concentration Camp and Beyond,” in A Companion to the Holocaust, eds. Simone Gigliotti and Hilary Earl (Hoboken: Wiley-Blackwell, 2020), 487-501.
“Tadeusz Borowski, Walter Benjamin, and the ‘Real State of Emergency’,” in Lessons and Legacies XIII: New Approaches to an Integrated History of the Holocaust: Social History, Representation, Theory, eds. Alexandra Garbarini and Paul Jaskot (Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 2018), 219-239.
“‘What Would I Have Done?’: Teaching The Drowned and the Saved to Confront Moral Ambiguity,” in Approaches to Teaching the Works of Primo Levi, eds. Nicholas Patruno and Roberta Ricci (New York: Modern Language Association, 2014), 29-35.
“Victims and Executioners in Wiesel’s Dawn: A Levinasian Reading,” in Elie Wiesel: Jewish, Literary, and Moral Perspectives, eds. Steven T. Katz and Alan Rosen (Bloomington, IN: Indiana Univ. Press, 2013), 160-169.
“Levi and the Two Cultures,” in Answering Auschwitz: Primo Levi’s Science and Humanism after the Fall, ed. Stanislao Pugliese (New York: Fordham University Press, 2011), 103-113.
“Trauma and Latency in The Reawakening,” in New Reflections on Primo Levi: Before and After Auschwitz, eds. Risa Sodi and Millicent Marcus (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011), 63-77.
“La réception de Primo Levi aux États-Unis,” co-authored with Michael Rothberg, in Primo Levi à l' oeuvre: La reception de l'oeuvre de Primo Levi dans le monde, trans. Isabelle Cluzel; eds. Philippe Mesnard and Yannis Thanassekos (Paris: Éditions Kimé, 2008), 197-212.
“Strategies for Teaching Wiesel’s Night with Levi’s Survival in Auschwitz,” in Approaches to Teaching Wiesel’s Night, ed. Alan Rosen (New York: Modern Language Association, 2007), 91-98.

Book, Edited

The New Italy and the Jews: From Massimo D’Azeglio to Primo Levi, co-edited with L. Scott Lerner. A special issue of Annali d’italianistica, Volume 36 (2018), 470 pages.

Journal Article

“Mothers and Daughters in the Holocaust Writing of Edith Bruck, Liana Millu and Giuliana Tedeschi.” Italica, 100.1 (2023): 87-97.
“Primo Levi’s Editions of Se questo è un uomo and the Evolution of Italian Holocaust Memory, 1947-1958.” In The New Italy and the Jews: From Massimo D’Azeglio to Primo Levi (A special issue of Annali d’italianistica, Volume 36), eds. Jonathan Druker and L. Scott Lerner (2018): 375-393.
“Il percorso e la fossa: La storia e la memoria traumatica in Se non ora, quando? di Primo Levi.” DEP: Deportate, esuli, profughe—Rivista telematica sulla memoria storica femminile, n. 29 (gennaio 2016): 66-80.
“The Path and the Pit: History and Traumatic Memory in Primo Levi’s If Not Now, When?”. Shofar: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Jewish Studies, 33.3 (Spring 2015): 46-62.
“A Secular Alternative: Primo Levi’s Place in American Holocaust Discourse,” co-authored with Michael Rothberg. Shofar: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Jewish Studies, 28.1 (Fall 2009): 104-126.

Presentations

“Ashes and the Excavation of Holocaust Memory in Primo Levi’s 'Vesuvian' Poems.” L’antichità gentile: La ricezione dell’antico nella cultura dell’ebraismo italiano moderno, Université Paris 3-Sorbonne Nouvelle, March 2022.
“Il trauma della rinascita in Lettera alla madre” at “Le forme della memoria: Edith Bruck tra giornalismo, letteratura e cinema,” an international conference at University of Macerata, Italy, October 2022.
“Primo Levi’s ‘Shame of the Just’ as Resistance to Crimes against Humanity.” Lessons and Legacies of the Holocaust, 16th Biannual Conference, University of Ottawa and Carleton University, November 2022.
“Traumatic Repetition in Primo Levi’s Poetry of Survival,” Workshop for New Research in Holocaust Studies, Northwestern University, October 2021.
“Mothers and Daughters in the Holocaust Writing of Edith Bruck, Liana Millu and Giuliana Tedeschi” (Keynote), International Holocaust Remembrance Day Program, Italian Embassy to the United States, Washington, D.C., January 2020.
“Primo Levi’s Editions of Se questo è un uomo and the Evolution of Italian Holocaust Memory.” A Symposium on The New Italy and the Jews: From Massimo D’Azeglio to Primo Levi, Italian Academy for Advanced Studies in America, Columbia University, March 2019.
“Allegories of Holocaust Trauma in Primo Levi’s Science Fiction.” Lessons and Legacies of the Holocaust Fifteenth Biannual Conference, Washington University, November 2018.
“Holocaust Trauma in Primo Levi’s Dystopian Science Fiction.” American Association of Italian Studies Annual Conference, Sorrento, Italy, June 2018.
“Levi’s ‘Shame of the Just’: On Ethical and Political Resistance after State Violence” at “Primo Levi for the Public,” a symposium sponsored by the Leve Center for Jewish Studies, University of California, Los Angeles, May 2018.
“Primo Levi’s Jewish Question,” Italian Studies and Jewish Studies programs, University of Arkansas, November 2018.
“Community and Trauma in Bassani’s ‘Una lapide in via Mazzini.’” American Association of Italian Studies Annual Conference, Ohio State University, April 2017.
“Forgiveness after Auschwitz? On Trauma and Community in Jean Améry’s Jenseits von Schuld und Sühne,” Protestant Theological University of Amsterdam, March 2017.
“Complicity and Insight in Borowski’s This Way for the Gas.” Lessons and Legacies of the Holocaust, Thirteenth Biannual Conference, Florida Atlantic University, October 2014.
“Tadeusz Borowski, Walter Benjamin, and the Philosophy of History,” Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, October 2014.
“Trauma and Community in Jean Améry’s At the Mind’s Limits.” Holocaust, Genocide, and Memory Studies Works-in-Progress Seminar, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2014.
“Trauma and Post-Holocaust Subjectivity in Agamben’s Quel che resta di Auschwitz.” Modern Language Association Convention, Chicago, 2014.
“Traumatic Memory and Irreversible History in Primo Levi’s If Not Now, When?,” Franklin & Marshall College, November 2014.
“Primo Levi, Jean Améry and the Uses of Trauma.” American Association of Italian Studies Annual Conference, University of Oregon, 2013.
"On Levi’s Alterations to the Second Edition of Se questo è un uomo: Recouping the Victims’ Names and Faces". Lessons and Legacies of the Holocaust, Twelfth Biannual Conference. Northwestern University. (2012)
"Reading Primo Levi". The Initiative in Holocaust, Genocide, and Memory Studies, and the Italian Studies Program. University of Illinois. (2012)

Grants & Contracts

Summer Faculty Fellowship. Illinois State University. Illinois State University. (2018)
Summer Faculty Fellowship. Illinois State University. Illinois State University. (2015)
Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Federal. (2014)
Travel to Collections Grant, Devers Program in Dante Studies and Hesburgh Library. University of Notre Dame. Private. (2012)