Samuel Spinner is the Assistant Professor, Zelda and Myer Tandetnik Chair in Yiddish Language, Literature and Culture at Johns Hopkins University. He is currently completing a book, Jewish Primitivism, which examines the relationships between literary, visual, and ethnographic understandings of Jewish identity in modern Europe, locating points of contact with broader modernist and social scientific discourses of identity. His next book, tentatively titled Museums of Words: Holocaust Museums and Literature, explores the affinities between museological and literary modes of Holocaust representation and remembrance. He has also worked on early modern Jewish culture, and translated one of the first books written by a Jewish woman—the Yiddish ethical text Meneket Rivkah, published by JPS (2009). Professor Spinner is a co-editor of “German Jewish Cultures,” a book series published by Indiana University Press and serves as an editor of the Yiddish Studies journal In Geveb.
Might books be a "space" like Museums for the sacred-secular work of Holocaust remembrance? In this response by Samuel J. Spinner to our season 9 episode with Avril Alba, stories take center stage as examples of "cultural innovation necessitated by catastrophe and catalyzed by a reworking of the relationship between people and texts."