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Evelyn Torton Beck

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Professor Emerita, The Harriet Tubman Department of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

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Research Expertise

Feminist Epistemology

Evelyn Torton Beck holds Ph.D.s in both Comparative Literature and Clinical Psychology. She is Women’s Studies Professor Emerita at the University of Maryland and an Alum Research Fellow with the Creative Longevity and Wisdom Initiative at the Fielding Graduate University. She has pioneered numerous interdisciplinary courses on topics as diverse as Women in the Arts, Mothers and Daughters, Jewish Women in International Perspective, Women and the Holocaust, Death and Dying in Modern Literature, Lesbian Studies, Gender, Power and the Spectrum of Difference, and Feminist Perspectives on Psychology, among others.

Beck is the author of numerous books and essays focusing on Franz Kafka and the Yiddish Theater, Frida Kahlo, and Isaac Bashevis Singer (with whom she worked closely and whose stories she translated from the Yiddish). She has written on multiculturalism and the impact of sexism, racism, anti-Semitism, and homophobia on identity development. She is the editor of Nice Jewish Girls: A Lesbian Anthology and has piloted courses on Jewish Women in International Perspective. She has lectured on these themes in Europe, Japan, and across the United States. Interviews with her appear in English, German and Japanese journals. She was invited to discuss Freud’s legacy on the Diane Rhiem show and was heard on NPR with a critique of the epithet, “Jewish American Princess.”

In recent years, she has offered multidisciplinary workshops at the annual meetings of the National Association of Poetry Therapy and at The Power of Words Conference at Goddard College. She teaches a variety of inter-arts workshops including Meditative Dance, Enhancing Joy in Your Life, Health and Healing, Stages of Women’s Lives from Child to Crone, and Creative Aging at centers of life-long learning across the country. One avenue of current research focuses on the impact of circle dance in the lives of older women, a practice about which she is passionate. She is also revising a book-length manuscript “Physical Illness, Psychological Woundedness and the Healing Power of Art in the Life and Work of Franz Kafka and Frida Kahlo.

Major Areas of Research: Literature, theatre, art, including the healing power of art Lesbian studies Jewish feminist thought Psychoanalysis