Faculty Biography

Shelly Tenenbaum

Shelly Tenenbaum, Ph.D.

Department of Sociology
Clark University
Worcester, MA 01610-1477

Office: Jefferson 407
Phone: (508) 793-7241
Email: stenenbaum@clarku.edu

Ms. Tenenbaum received a B.A. from Antioch College and a Ph.D. from Brandeis University. She is the coordinator of undergraduate activities for the Strassler Family Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, and is affiliated with Women's and Gender Studies, Race and Ethnic Studies, Africana Studies, and Jewish Studies. Ms. Tenenbaum received Clark's Outstanding Teaching Award and the Outstanding Academic Advisor Award. She also teaches in a college-in-prison program through the Emerson Prison Initiative at MCI-Concord, a medium security prison for men.  

Current Research and Teaching

Ms. Tenenbaum's research on ethnic enterprise, mutual aid, gender, education, and identity intersects the broad areas of sociology of American Jews and historical sociology. Her book, A Credit to their Community: Jewish Loan Societies in the United States, 1880-1945, explores the relationship between immigrant Jewish credit networks and ethnic enterprise. Ms. Tenenbaum's co-edited anthology, Feminist Perspectives on Jewish Studies, provides a critical evaluation of the impact of feminist scholarship in the various fields of Jewish Studies. Ms. Tenenbaum has also published in the area of pedagogy including articles and book chapters on teaching college courses in prison, Jewish Studies, and class inequality, and co-edited a syllabus collection Gender and Jewish Studies: A Curriculum Guide. Ms. Tenenbaum teaches in the areas of race and ethnicity, genocide, Jewish Studies, and gender.

Selected Publications

Feminist Perspectives on Jewish Studies Gender and Jewish Studies A Credit to Their Community


 “Days in the Life of a College in Prison Professor,” in Mneesha Gellman (ed.) Education Behind the Wall: Why and How We Teach in Prison, Brandeis University Press, forthcoming. 

 “’To Know One’s Chains for What They Are is Better Than to Deck Them with Flowers,” American Jewish History 104, April/July 2020: 239-242.

"Jewish Studies and the Anxiety of Interdisciplinarity: A Collaborative Conversation About the Introductory Course,” Shofar: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Jewish Studies, Summer 2014: 35-44 (with Lori Lefkovitz and David Shneer).  

"It's In My Genes: Biological Discourse and Essentialist Views of Identity Among Contemporary American Jews," Sociological Quarterly, Vol 48, Summer 2007: 435-450 (with Lynn Davidman).

"Who Rules America?" Teaching Sociology, vol.34, number 4, October 2006: 389-397 (with Robert J. Ross).

"The Vicissitudes of Tolerance: Jewish Faculty and Students at Clark University," Massachusetts Historical Review, vol. 5, 2003: 7-27.

"Community Self-Help: San Francisco Jews and the Great Depression," The Jewish Journal of Sociology , vol. XLV, numbers 1 and 2, 2003: 34-45.

"Borrowers or Lenders Be: Jewish Immigrant Women's Credit Networks," in Pamela S. Nadell (ed.) American Jewish Women's History: A Reader , New York: New York University Press, 2003: 79-90.

"Good or Bad for the Jews? Moving Beyond the Continuity Debate," Contemporary Jewry , vol. 21, 2000: 91-97.

Gender and Jewish Studies: A Curriculum Guide, New York: Biblio Press, 1994 (edited with Judith Baskin).

Feminist Perspectives on Jewish Studies, New Haven: Yale University Press, 1994 (edited with Lynn Davidman).

A Credit to Their Community: Jewish Loan Societies in the United States, 1880-1945, Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1993.