Faculty Biography

Frances Tanzer

Assistant Professor of History
Rose Professor of Holocaust Studies and Modern Jewish History and Culture
Department of History

Clark University
Worcester, MA 01610-1477

Phone: (508) 793-7450
Email: FTanzer@clarku.edu


Frances Tanzer is a historian of modern Jewish culture, the Holocaust, and Modern Europe. Most broadly, she is interested in writing histories of modern Europe that focus on the paradoxical but crucial roles of refugees and minorities in shaping the continent's identities and cultures. Her research examines the aftermath of the Holocaust in Central Europe; refugees and migration; Holocaust memory; and the history of antisemitism and Islamophobia. A sustained interest in the visual culture and performance unites her explorations of these themes. At Clark, she offers classes in European history, the Holocaust, and refugee history.

Currently, Frances is working on a book entitled, Vanishing Vienna: Jewish Absence in Postwar Central Europe, which analyzes the fraught attempts to restore the cultural dynamism of pre-Nazi Vienna as Austrians and Jews reimagined themselves and Central European culture after the Holocaust. This book focuses on how Jews and non-Jews experienced, confronted, and represented Jewish absence as they pursued projects of cultural reconstruction from the Anschluss in 1938 to the present-day. Despite ongoing antisemitism, Jewish refugees and remigrants collaborated on cultural reconstruction and also became objects of intense fascination in the postwar period. Her second book project, Klezmer Dynasty: An Intimate History of Modern Jewish Culture, 1880-2019, focuses on her own family, the Brandwein klezmer musicians of Habsburg Galicia. They innovated klezmer music and Jewish culture from 1880 to 2019 as they experienced the changes wrought by modernity, migration, the Holocaust, and its aftermath. This project connects the large-scale transformations that defined modern Jewish history to personal stories of reinvention.

Selected Publications

“European Fantasies: Modernism and Jewish Absence at The Venice Biennale of Art, 1948-1956” (Contemporary European History, forthcoming)

“Performing the Austrian-Jewish (Negative) Symbiosis: Stella Kadmon’s Viennese Stage from Red Vienna to the Second Republic,” LBIYB 63 (2018)