Department of History

Diana Clarke

I am a cultural historian of identity and memory in American geographies, focusing on how Ashkenazi Jews navigate whiteness in rural spaces, particularly Appalachia and the American South, in the early twentieth century. Before coming to Pitt, I worked as a teacher in rural communities in the Eastern United States. I taught high school English in Wabanaki territory (Maine), harm intervention and mediation in Pocumtuc territory (Western Massachusetts), and worked at an alternative educational program for girls in Haudenosaunee territory (West Virginia). I am a managing editor at In geveb: A Journal of Yiddish Studies, and I've worked as a freelance arts writer since 2013, with work appearing in the Village Voice, Dissent, and World Literature Today. In 2013 I received a B.A. from Columbia University, where I studied Yiddish and Creative writing. I was born and raised in Worcester, Massachusetts, in traditional Nipmuck territory, and my current research builds on work that I began as a history intern at the Institute of Southern Jewish Life in Jackson, MS (Chocktaw/Natchez territory) in 2012, thinking about the way Ashkenazi Jews accessed whiteness by participating in the white settlement of Native lands and violence towards Native people.

Advisor: Rachel Kranson


Jewish Studies
Migration and Immigration
Cultural Studies
Gender and Sexuality

Teaching Experience

Literature and the Land, Maine Coast Semester at Chewonki, Wiscasset ME. Original course, 3 sections. (2016-2017)
Writing Land, Writing Body: Women and Narrative Nonfiction, High Rocks Academy, Hillsboro WV. Original course, summer seminar. (2014)

Representative Publications

"Against Neutrality, Capital Letters, and Easy Translation," World Literature Today, May 2016
"Yiddish Counterlives, or How to Think Beyond Broadway Yiddish" with Saul Noam Zaritt, December 2015 

Conferences & Presentations
"Embodied Borderlands: Language as Jewish Homeland," Association for Jewish Studies Conference. Boston, MA, December 2018
"The Epic and the Episodic: Yiddish Poetics in Appalachia" Modern Language Association Conference. Chicago, IL, January 2019
"Five Poems by Rajzel Zychlinsky," Bilingual Reading Series (Germanic Languages), American Literary Translators Association Conference, Oakland, CA, October 2016