Marianne Hirsch

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Marianne Hirsch
Born (1949-09-23) September 23, 1949 (age 69)
Timișoara, Romania
Occupationwriter, professor
SpouseLeo Spitzer

Marianne Hirsch (born September 23, 1949) is the William Peterfield Trent Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University and Professor in the Institute for Research on Women, Gender, and Sexuality.[1]


Born in Timișoara, Romania, where her parents fled Czernowitz,[2] Hirsch immigrated to the United States in 1962.[3] She completed her BA/MA and Ph.D. degrees at Brown University before becoming a professor at Dartmouth College, where she taught for thirty years.[4] She was also one of the founders of the Women's Studies Program at Dartmouth, and served as Chair of Comparative Literature for a number of years. Hirsch has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation,[5] the National Humanities Center,[6] the ACLS,[7] the Bellagio and Bogliasco Foundations, the Mary Ingraham Bunting Institute, and the Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Studies, among others. She is past president of the Modern Language Association,[8] and has served on the MLA Executive Council, the ACLA Advisory Board, the Executive Board of the Society for the Study of Narrative Literature, and the Board of Supervisors of The English Institute. She is also on the advisory boards of Memory Studies and Contemporary Women's Writing.[9] A founder of Columbia's Center for the Study of Social Difference and its global initiative "Women Creating Change," much of Hirsch's work concerns feminist theory, memory studies, and photography.

In 1992 Hirsch introduced the term "postmemory," a concept that has subsequently been cited in hundreds of books and articles.[10] The term was originally used primarily to refer to the relationship between the children of Holocaust survivors and the memories of their parents, but has since been expanded beyond these familial and generational restrictions to describe "the relationship that later generations or distant contemporary witnesses bear to the personal, collective, and cultural trauma of others—to experiences they 'remember' or know only by means of stories, images, and behaviors."[11] Historian Guy Beiner has criticized the use of the term in Memory Studies as a half-baked concept and suggested alternative ways in which it can be re-conceptualized and put to use as a more challenging analytical category.[12]

Hirsch's recent books include The Generation of Postmemory: Writing and Visual Culture After the Holocaust (Columbia University Press, 2012), Ghosts of Home: The Afterlife of Czernowitz in Jewish Memory, co-authored with Leo Spitzer (University of California Press, 2010), and Family Frames: Photography, Narrative, and Postmemory (1997). Edited and co-edited collections include Rites of Return: Diaspora, Poetics and the Politics of Memory, co-edited with Nancy K. Miller (Columbia University Press, 2011), Grace Paley Writing the World (co-ed. 2009), Teaching the Representation of the Holocaust (co-ed. 2004), Time and the Literary (co-ed. 2002), and The Familial Gaze (ed. 1999); she also co-edited the Summer 2012 issue of é-misferica on "The Subject of Archives" with Diana Taylor and a special issue of Signs on "Gender and Cultural Memory" (co-ed. 2002).


  • Beyond the Single Vision : Henry James, Michel Butor, Uwe Johnson. French Literature Publications Co., 1981.
  • The Mother / Daughter Plot: Narrative, Psychoanalysis, Feminism. Indiana University Press, 1989.
  • Family Frames: Photography, Narrative, and Postmemory. Harvard University Press, 1997.
  • Ghosts of Home: The Afterlife of Czernowitz in Jewish Memory, co-written with Leo Spitzer. University of California Press, 2010.
  • The Generation of Postmemory: Writing and Visual Culture After the Holocaust. Columbia University Press, 2012.

Edited collections[edit]

  • The Voyage In: Fictions of Female Development, co-edited with Elizabeth Abel and Elizabeth Langland. University Press of New England, 1983.
  • Conflicts in Feminism, co-edited with Evelyn Fox Keller. Routledge, 1990.
  • Ecritures de femmes: Nouvelles cartographies, co-edited with MaryAnn Caws, Mary Jean Green, Ronnie Scharfman. Yale University Press, 1996.
  • The Familial Gaze, editor. Dartmouth, 1999.
  • Time and the Literary, co-edited with Karen Newman and Jay Clayton. Routledge, 2002.
  • Teaching the Representation of the Holocaust, co-edited with Irene Kacandes. The Modern Language Association of America, 2004.
  • Rites of Return: Diaspora, Poetics and the Politics of Memory, co-edited with Nancy K. Miller. Columbia University Press, 2011.


  1. ^ Department of English & Comparative Literature | Columbia University
  2. ^ Marianne Hirsch, "Projected Memory: Holocaust Photographs in Personal and Public Fantasy", in David Bartholomae, Tony Petrosky (eds.), Ways of Reading Words and Images, p. 260. Boston: Macmillan, 2003. ISBN 978-031-240-381-2
  3. ^ "About the Authors" | Ghosts of Home
  4. ^ "Marianne Hirsch" |
  5. ^ "Town's forgotten history revived by research of Guggenheim Fellowship winner Marianne Hirsch" | Dartmouth News
  6. ^ "Fellows of the Center" | National Humanities Center
  7. ^ "Marianne Hirsch" | ACLS
  8. ^ "From the President" | MLA Archived 2015-05-17 at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ "Advisory Board" | Oxford Journals, Contemporary Women's Writing
  10. ^ "Family Pictures: Maus, Mourning, and Post-Memory" | Discourse
  11. ^ Presidential Address 2014: Connective Histories in Vulnerable Times | PMLA
  12. ^ Guy Beiner, "Probing the Boundaries of Irish Memory: From Postmemory to Prememory and Back", Irish Historical Studies, 39, no. 154 (2014), 296-307.

External links[edit]