My scholarship stands at the crossroads of media studies, Jewish studies, critical race studies, and gender studies. I analyze how today's Jewish stars inherit an eight-century lineage of antisemitic bodily stigmas--especially the stigmas that cast Jewish men as emasculated, Jewish women as masculinized, and both as sexually perverse. In turn, I analyze how Jewish stars instrumentalize those stigmas to critique or naturalize U.S. inequalities.
For example, the Black Jewish rap superstar Drake faces clashing stigmas of Jewish emasculation and Black hypermasculinity. As Drake labors to unify this "impossible" combination into a marketable star image, his public persona often embodies U.S. disputes about hip hop itself as an oft-vilified Black art form. Sometimes tacit and sometimes explicit, this ideological commentary fuels Drake's mass appeal.
Public Outreach & Teaching
I also translate academic research on gender, sexuality, race, and pop culture into mainstream education. From academic journals and classrooms to TEDx talks and children's books, I always aim to help more people live their identities safely and happily. To this end, my work aids scholars, students, and wider audiences to better question the stigmas and hierarchies that pass for "normal" in everyday life.
This interest in public outreach reflects two key experiences that shape my work: my time in LGBT nonprofits and in Jewish summer camps. This blend of educational, intercultural, and policy work informs how I research Jewish identity, teach about pop culture, and write children's literature. It also supports my interest in LGBT Jewish experience and my LGBT inclusion workshops for Jewish institutions.