"How Come Boys Get to Keep Their Noses?": Women and Jewish American Identity in Contemporary Graphic Memoirs

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Product Details
Columbia University Press
Publish Date
7.0 X 9.9 X 0.8 inches | 1.25 pounds

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About the Author
Tahneer Oksman is assistant professor and director of the Writing Program at Marymount Manhattan College. She has published articles in a/b: Auto/Biography Studies, Studies in Comics, and Studies in American Jewish Literature, as well as the Forward, the Los Angeles Review of Books, and Cleaver Magazine, where she is the graphic narratives reviews editor.
A careful and nuanced exploration of the complexities of identity and identification, "How Come Boys Get to Keep Their Noses?" is an excellent and ground-breaking work, invaluable to scholars of Jewish studies, comics studies, and women's studies.--Jeremy Dauber, Director, Institute for Israel and Jewish Studies, Columbia University
As a cartoonist who is a woman and who happens to be a non-Jew, I love this book, and completely identify with Oksman's theories of the deep intersectionality of these issues. She examines the beauty of how cartoons and graphic narrative can uncover difficult, personal ideas so masterfully. Oksman helps the reader see the art and struggles of a group of talented women as they search for honest identity and a place to call home.--Liza Donnelly, cartoonist, author of When Do They Serve the Wine?: The Folly, Flexibility, and Fun of Being a Woman
An original study that charts how three indisputably fascinating subjects--feminism, Judaism, and comics--intersect today. In Oksman's analysis, the word-and-image form, comics, and the identities it presents on its pages are connected: they both resist overdetermination, refiguring traditional categories and taxonomic pressures. A unique and compelling addition to several different fields.--Hillary L. Chute, University of Chicago, author of Graphic Women: Life Narrative and Contemporary Comics
A brilliant analysis. Oksman's readings are as nuanced and inventive as the artists she describes.--Joyce Antler, Brandeis University
For those interested in the graphic form, [Oksman] provides ample observations and insights into the construction of female Jewish identity.--Ada Brunstein "Jewish Book Council "
Tahneer Oksman's study "How Come Boys Get to Keep Their Noses?" Women and Jewish American Identity in Contemporary Graphic Memoirs is a welcome reminder that, in comics that appear on the page as well as comics who get up on stage, Jewish women are insisting we reckon with their bawdy bodies.--Marissa Brostoff "The Forward "
Tahneer Oksman's "How Come Boys Get to Keep Their Noses?" offers a new way to think about Jewish identity in America.--Rachel Gordan "Contemporary Jewry "
Oksman is superb at interpreting visual and narrative details, and she provides elegant links back and forth between the cartoonists.--Candida Rifkind "Contemporary Women's Writing "
Oksman's work helps illuminate the ways in which Jewish women artists in particular have negotiated, subverted, reclaimed or straight-out rejected stereotypical expectations of what being 'American', 'Jewish' and 'female' means in twentieth and twenty-first century society and culture.--F. K. Clementi "Life Writing "
An insightful... generously illustrated volume, brimming with startling and provocative images.--Ranen Omer-Sherman "Jewish Renaissance "
An impressive book.--Sharon Packer, MD "Metapsychology "
"How Come Boys Get to Keep Their Noses?" makes an essential contribution to scholarship on American Jewish literature and the Jewish graphic novel. In bringing together questions of gender and Jewishness to discuss these contemporary comics, Oksman expands the terms of analysis for discussing not just graphic narratives but, more broadly, Jewish literature and culture in a visual age.--Melissa Weininger "American Jewish History "
[An] insightful book that might function best as a map for making sense of a highly diffuse and dispersed genre in which the central (dare I say canonical?) texts are already complex acts of representation. Oksman's guide to them adds another layer of representation and reflection that deepens our understanding of the books and the complex of identities that they already represent.--Ari Y. Kelman "Shofar: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Jewish Studies "
Detailed and insightful. . . . [Oksman's] excellent analysis of the combination of text and art in each of the works reveals the suitability and uniqueness of the graphic format for memoirs as well as fiction. Overall, Oksman's is a worthwhile book, highly recommended for all libraries with or without graphic narrative collections.--Stephen E. Tabachnick "Tulsa Studies in Women's Literature "
With the explosion of graphic novels and other graphic works, this is a fascinating look at a new form of memoir, but also of how to analyze and critique this format. . . . Highly recommended.--Sheryl Stahl "AJL Reviews "
Oksman has produced a valuable and long overdue volume that will add immeasurably to the field of contemporary Jewish cultural studies. . . . This book will be of use to anyone who seeks to write or think about Jewish American identity in the twenty-first century, as Oksman has done such yeoman's work in compiling and synthesizing the theoretical contributions to that conversation. And her forward-looking assessment of where contemporary graphic memoirs are now will prove generative for scholars for years to come. It is difficult to imagine any future scholarship on graphic memoirs or Jewish graphic novels that wouldn't cite this book.--Jennifer Caplan "AJS Review "
Oksman challenges readers to transform their understanding of the comic format - to see the serious exploration that underlies the cartoonist's work. I certainly will never look at a graphic novel or memoir in quite the same way again.--The Reporter
This volume is unique in its exploration of how the medium itself comes to play an important role in determining how identity emerges . . . It is rare to find a text that so smoothly bridges close reading with contextualized analysis.--Charlotte F. Werbe "H-Net Reviews "
I highly recommend [this book]...In addition to revealing the ways that Jewish artistic women can challenge conventional assumptions and stereotypes (e.g. the JAP, the smothering Jewish mother), Oksman also makes the reader aware of the deficiencies of representations of Jewish women in the mass media (as produced primarily by men).--Women in Judaism
Oksman succeeds in unraveling the ambivalent positionality of secular Jewish women in American society, showing how comics open up new spaces for creative transformation.--Maya Barzilai "MELUS "