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Department of English

Naomi Mandel

Naomi Mandel Professor of English & Comparative Literature

Ph.D. University of California, Irvine (Critical Theory Emphasis)
M.A. University of California, Irvine
B.A., B.M., Tel Aviv University

Office: 175B Swan Hall
Phone: 401-874-4011
Office Hours: Th 12:30-1:30 and by appointment

Curriculum Vitae

Naomi Mandel specializes in contemporary literature and critical theory. Her intellectual interests revolve around  distressing topics like atrocity, horror, trauma, and pain, and her approach to these topics is characterized by attention to what makes them distressing, who is distressed by them, how, and why. She has published on slavery, the Holocaust, and the terror attacks of September 11, 2001, and she regularly teaches courses on extremity, violence, and war.

Mandel's first book, Against the Unspeakable: Complicity, the Holocaust, and Slavery in America investigates the assumption that atrocity defies language, comprehension, and thought. She examines the political and cultural work that claims for unspeakability perform, the forms such claims take, the sources of their appeal, and what happens when we resist them. With Professor Alain-Philippe Durand, Mandel has also co-edited a collection of essays titled Novels of the Contemporary Extreme. This book investigates the contemporary phenomenon of "extreme fiction" and explores its international dimension with essays on novels from North and South America, Europe, and the Middle East. Her third book, an edited collection of essays on U.S. author Bret Easton Ellis, is titled Bret Easton Ellis: American Psycho, Glamorama, Lunar Park. She has published essays and reviews in boundary 2, Modern Fiction Studies, SubStance, Novel, Criticism, Modernism/Modernity, Cultural Critique and the online Journal of Mundane Behavior, where she edited a special edition on Atrocity, Outrage and the Ordinary. Mandel's current work focuses on the relationship between violence, reality, and truth in contemporary fiction. Ongoing projects include trying to wake up earlier in the morning and watching less T.V.

Mandel's courses tend to be interdisciplinary in nature, with extensive use of visual media and music. She teaches introductory undergraduate, advanced undergraduate, Honors, and graduate courses.

Recent courses include:

ENG 379: Contemporary Literature: Fiction of Generation X
HPR 107: Narratives of Ability and Disability 
ENG/HPR 265: Violence and the Novel

ENG 660: Fictions of Extremity
ENG 514: Studies in Critical Theories
The Canadian Extreme (Hebrew University, Spring 2010)

Against the Unspeakable Cover: Novels of the Contemporary Extreme -- Edited by Naomi Mandel and Alain-Philippe Durand Bret Easton Ellis_Edited Essays