Jewish Studies Interdisciplinary Program

Affiliated Faculty

Jennifer Thompson, Ph.D., Maurice Amado Professor of Applied Jewish Ethics and Civic Engagement, Director of Jewish Studies Program

Jennifer Thompson, Ph.D., Director, Jewish Studies Program 

  • Professor of Jewish Studies

  • Maurice Amado Professor of Applied Jewish Ethics and Civic Engagement




Melissa Weininger, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Jewish Studies

Melissa Weininger, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Jewish Studies


Ph.D., Jewish Studies, The University of Chicago, 2010

B.A., English Language and Literature and Women’s Studies, Harvard University, 1995

Jeffrey Auerbach, Ph.D., Professor of History

Jeffrey Auerbach, Ph.D., Professor

Shira Brown, M.A., Lecturer in Gender and Women's Studies

Shira BrownShira Brown, M.A., Lecturer

  • Biography

Shira Brown graduated from California State University, Northridge, with a B.A. in Women’s Studies and English in 2002. Ms. Brown also holds an M.A. in Applied Women’s Studies, with a concentration in Community Building & Education, from Claremont Graduate University, earned in 2004. Immediately after earning her MA, she began working at the Institute for Multicultural Counseling & Education Services, Inc. (IMCES), where she became a Certified Domestic Violence Advocate and Program Coordinator for a CalWorks Domestic Violence program working one-on-one with survivors of domestic violence to provide access to community resources.

Since August 2011, she has served as the Staff Director for CSUN's Women's Research and Resource Center. She has been teaching in the CSUN Gender and Women’s Studies department since Spring 2006.

Dorothy Clark, Ph.D., Professor of English

Dorothy ClarkDorothy Clark, Ph.D., Professor

  • English Department

Dr. Dorothy Clark is a professor of English. She earned both her undergraduate and doctoral degrees at UCLA and received an M.A. in English and a secondary English Credential from CSUN.  Dr. Clark has been teaching as full-time faculty at CSUN since 2001. 


Her interests and courses include Children’s Literature, Yeats, interdisciplinary courses on good and evil, and the Holocaust with a focus on issues of memory and representation. The daughter of Holocaust survivors, Dr. Clark has been a board member of the 1939 Society (the largest Holocaust survivor organization in the U.S.) for over a decade. She helped to initiate the Jewish Studies Program’s trips to Poland, leading the first trip in conjunction with Loyola Marymount University in 2010.

Prof. Clark has taught classes on the Holocaust and American Culture and the Rhetoric of Memory, focusing on the Holocaust and the Armenian Genocide.

Current Research Interests:

Holocaust education and preserving an “authenticity of memory”; children’s literature and new media; representations of good and evil in popular culture.

Recent Selected Publications:

  • Co-editor, Frontiers in American Children’s Literature. Accepted for publication by Cambridge Scholars Press, January 2014.
  • "Healing Shattered Worlds: The Unforeseen Effects of a Second Generation Daughter's Return to Her Parents' Polish Village." Tikkun Magazine, Tikkun Daily, December 2011.
  • “Hyperread: Repurposing Children’s Literature and Digital Storytelling.”  Postmodern Reinterpretations of Fairy Tales. How Applying New Methods Generates New Meanings.  Ed. Anna Kérchy.  The Edwin Mellen Press, 2011.
  • “Being’s Wound: Evil and Explanation in The Killer Inside Me,” in the Enigma of Good and Evil: The Moral Sentiment in Literature, edited by A. Tymieniecka, Analecta Husserliana Book Series 85, The Netherlands: Springer Publications,  December 2005.


  • Member of the Editorial Board (Polish Peer Reviewed Journal):  A/R/T Journal: Analyses/Rereading/Theories: A Journal Devoted to Literature, Film and Theatre
  • Modern Language Association (MLA)
  • Children’s Literature Association (ChLA)
  • American Literature Association (ALA)
  • Children’s Literature Society, American Literature Association

Daniela Gerson, Associate Professor of Journalism

Daniela GersonDaniela Gerson, Associate Professor of Journalism

Elaine Goodfriend, Ph.D., Lecturer in Jewish Studies, Religious Studies, and History

Elaine Good friend Elaine Goodfriend, Ph.D., Lecturer

  • Religious Studies, Jewish Studies, History

Audrey Thacker, Ph.D., Lecturer in English

Audrey ThackerAudrey Thacker, Ph.D., Lecturer

English, with an emphasis on American literature and sub-specialties in Jewish American literature, African American literature, the novel, and the 20th and 21st centuries.
  • Ph.D, English, Claremont Graduate University, 2005
    • Dissertation:  My Story, Your Story, Our Story--Whose Story? "Storying" the Holocaust and Confronting Questions of Narrative Authority and Authenticity through Art Spiegelman's MAUS: A Survivor's Tale
  • M.A., English, California State University, Northridge, 1992
    • Thesis: Jewish Dreams/American Dreams: Ethnic Absence and Presence in Four Jewish American Texts
  • B.A.,  English, University of California, Berkeley, 1986
    • ​Thesis: Humor and Emily Dickinson: An Unexpected Acquaintance

I teach English, usually American literature, at CSUN, and am also a faculty member in the Liberal Studies Online Degree Completion Program. In addition to teaching, I assess CSUN's Upper Division Writing Exams (UDWPE) and work actively with the Affordable Learning $olutions (AL$) team to make my courses zero-cost with regard to textbooks
At present, most of my research and writing involves both Jewish and African American performance. The idea of performance is a fascinating and a timely one in a current social context in which the borders of ethnic and racial identification are often blurred, both intracommunally and from without.
Complicating Constructions: Race, Ethnicity, and Hybridity in American Texts, co-edited with David S. Goldstein, Ph.D., of the University of Washington, published June 2007 by the University of Washington Press

Review of Weequahic’s Gentle Giant, by Robert Masin, Philip Roth Studies, Fall 2010
Select Papers Presented
“Shifting Borders/Shifting Jews: In Literature and in Life, ‘Big J’s,’ ‘Little j’s and the Farblunget Parameters of Jewish Performance,” presented at the conference of the Western Jewish Studies Association (WJSA), Palm Desert, CA, May 2019
Sorry to Bother You, and Welcome to Braggsville--but Now Get Out! In Underground/Underskin Racial Performance, Will the “Real” Black Man Please Stand Up?,” presented at the conference of the Society for the Study of the Multi-Ethnic Literatures of the United States (MELUS), Cincinnati, Ohio, March 2019

“Pop Goes the Professor: Brands, Stands and Reprimands in the Teaching of Jewish American Texts,” presented at the conference of the Western Jewish Studies Association (WJSA), Claremont McKenna College, Claremont, CA, March 2017

Nu? THIS Is Where We’re Going? Moving the Holocaust from the Sacred to the Profane in Melvin Jules Bukiet’sAfter and Tova Reich’s My Holocaust,” presented at the conference of the Society for the Study of Jewish American and Holocaust Literature (JAHLIT), Salt Lake City, Utah, September 2009.

Kassandra Wilsey, M.A., Lecturer in Jewish Studies and Recreation and Tourism Management

Kassandra WiseyKassandra Wilsey, M.A.

  • Recreation and Tourism Management, Jewish Studies

As a part-time instructor in both the Recreation and Tourism Management Department and the Jewish Studies Interdisciplinary Program, Ms. Wilsey teaches outdoor education and environmental sustainability. She also teaches Environmental Judaism which is an examination of teachings on the natural environment found in Jewish literature and oral teachings, with an emphasis on values and practices related to respect for natural life and environmental conservation. It is her goal to bridge the growing gap between students and their natural environment with hopes of a more sustainable future.