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Curriciculum Vitae

Joseph Evan Kraus, Ph.D.

579 Charles Avenue

Kingston, Pennsylvania 18704





Ph.D., English, Northwestern University, 2000

Committee: Carl Smith (chair), Alfred Appel, and Julia Stern

Dissertation: The Immigrant and the Underworld: Chester Gould, William Faulkner, Damon Runyon, F. Scott Fitzgerald and the Imagining of the Gangster in the Prohibition Era


M.A., English, Columbia University, 1989

Director: Priscilla Wald; Thesis: “Distilling an American Myth: Uses of the Representative American in Ante-Bellum Temperance Literature”


B.A. with High Honors and High Distinction, University of Michigan, 1987


Academic Appointments


University of Scranton:  Professor of English & Theatre, 2014-present

Director, Honors Program, 2009-present

Associate Professor of English & Theatre, 2008-2014

Assistant Professor of English, 2004-2008


King’s College: Assistant Professor of English, 2001-2004


Oakton Community College: Assistant Professor of English, 1998-2001


Instructor: Northwestern University (1995-1998)

                  International Academy of Merchandising & Design (1989-1998)

                  Center for Talent Development (1994-1998)

                  Hebrew Theological College (1997-1998)

                  Columbia College–Chicago (1989-1992, 1993)

                  Roosevelt University (1990-1992)

                  Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies (1992, 1998)

                  Truman College (1989-1990)


Professional Affiliations


President: MELUS (Society for the Study of Multi-Ethnic Literature of the United States) (2015-present)


Editor: Philip Roth Society Newsletter (2004-2009)

Chicago Jewish History (1992-1998)





An Accidental Anarchist: How the Killing of a Humble Jewish Immigrant by Chicago’s Chief of Police Exposed the Conflict between Law and Order and Civil Rights in Early 20th-Century America. Chicago: Academy Chicago, 2001. With Walter Roth.


Ibid. Originally published, San Francisco: Rudi Publishing, 1998. 


Academic Articles:


“Who Gets to Shoot Hitler? Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds and Speculations toward a Theory of the Ethnic Gaze.” Quarterly Review of Film and Video. Forthcoming.


“Imagination and the Humanities in Honors Across the Disciplines at a Jesuit University.” Journal of the National Collegiate Honors Council. Forthcoming, Spring/Summer 2015.


“Recent Changes…A Half Millenium in the Making: Revamping the University of Scranton Honors Program in Light of the Ignatian Spiritual Tradition.” Seeking the Soul of Excellence: Spirituality and Holistic Learning in Collegiate Honors Education, ed. by Aron Reppmann, David Riggs, and Stan Rosenberg. Lincoln, NE: National Collegiate Honors Council Monograph Series, forthcoming 2015.


“There and Back Again: A Song of Innocence and Experience.” The Hobbit and Philosophy: For When You’ve Lost Your Dwarves, Your Wizard, and Your Way. Ed. Greg Bassham and Eric Bronson. New York: Blackwell, 2012, 235-49.


“There and Back Again: A Song of Innocence and Experience.” [Abridged] Above republished, The Philosopher’s Magazine 59 (4th Quarter 2012) 57-61.


“The Sweetheart is Outside Herself: Writing the Contemporary American-Jewish Writer in S.L. Wisenberg’s Ceci Rubin Stories.” Unfinalized Moments: Essays in the Development of Contemporary Jewish American Fiction. Lafayette, IN: Purdue UP, 2011, 179-86.


“On The Threshold: Situating the Critic in Recent Studies of Ethnic American Literature” Journal of American Ethnic History 20.2 (Winter 2011), 62-7.


“From Our Office to Yours: The University of Scranton and The Office.” The Office and Philosophy. Ed. J. Jeremy Wisnewski, New York: Blackwell 2008. Co-written with Michael Friedman, Maria Johnson and Stephen Whittaker.


“De-Centering the Canon: Understanding Gatsby as an Ethnic Novel.” It Ain’t Over Yet: Multiethnic Literature and Canon Debates, ed. Irma Maini and Mary Jo Bona. Albany, NY: SUNY Press, 2006.


“Through Loins and Coins: Derek Walcott’s Weaving of the West Indian Federation” Callaloo 28.1 (2005), 60-74.


          “There’s No Place Like Home.” Thinking Outside the Batter’s Box: Baseball and Philosophy, ed. Eric Bronson, Chicago: Open Court Press, 2004, 7-19.


          “The Quest Starts with the Past: Tolkien, Modernism, and the Importance of Tradition” One Book to Rule Them All: Tolkien and Philosophy, ed. Greg Bassham and Eric Bronson, Chicago: Open Court Press, 2003, 137-49.


            “Chester Gould Saves America: Ethnicity, Other-ness, and Gangster Identity in Early Dick Tracy.” American Heroes: Figures of Americana in Comic Books. Ed. Bucky Carter, et al., forthcoming.


“How the Melting Pot Stirred America: The Reception of Zangwill’s Play and Theater’s Role in the American Assimilation Experience.” MELUS 24 (1999): 3-19.


“Dick Tracy vs. The Blank: Re-Inscribing Ethnicity in the Gangster.” The Centennial Review 41 (1997): 537-46.



Creative Writing:


Creative Nonfiction


“An End Not of Hope but Horizon.” Hippocampus.


“Swinging at Shadows: Toward a History of the Lower East Side Tough Guy.” Jews: A People’s History of the Lower East Side. Ed. Clayton Patterson and Mareleyn Schneider, New York: Clayton Press, 2012: Vol. I, 91-5.


 “Discovery. Invention. Creation.” (Creative Nonfiction) Southern Humanities Review 44.1 (Winter 2010) 1-9. (Pushcart Prize Nominee)


“Richie in the Leaves.” (Creative Nonfiction) Toasted Cheese 8.3 (Fall 2008) (Second Place, Mid-Summer Creative Nonfiction Writing Contest)


“Smashing the Ants: An Essay Almost about Writing.” (Creative Nonfiction) Riverteeth 8.1 (Fall 2006), 37-43.


“Re-Thinking Plagiarism: What Our Students are Telling Us When They Cheat.” Issues in Writing 13.1 (Summer 2003), 80-95.


 “The Jewish Gangster: A Conversation Across Generations,” The American Scholar 64 (1995): 53-65.


Short Stories


“The Wizards of Odds.” Dark Corners 1. (Forthcoming)


“Responsibilities Go Beyond Dreams.” The Five Forty Eight 1. Forthcoming.


“Outside an Orbit of Mourning.” Penumbra 2.1 (Spring/Summer 2013) 15-17.


“Streets of Stories.” Sugar Mule 44 (August 2013). < 44Kraus-j.htm>


“The Elvis Presley Bar Mitzvah Concert: Reflections on the Release of the 20th Anniversary 3-DVD Set.” Gravel 1 (Summer 2013) <!joe-kraus/cden>


“The Birthmark.” Apeiron Review 3 (May 2013) < 141964861/Apeiron-Review-Issue-3-May-2013>


“Sarbanes at Sea.” Mythic Circle 33 (Summer 2011) 57-63.


“Offices of Love.” Eclectic Flash 1.3 (Sept. 2010) 45-6.


“Real Cheese in an Imaginary Refrigerator.” Oleander Review 3 (Fall 2009), 52-69.


“Booster Club.” (Short Story). Sinister Tales 4.3 (Summer 2009), 19-21.


“How Beautiful Are Your Tents, O Jacob.” (Short Story). Moment (Nov.-Dec. 2008), forthcoming. (First Prize, Moment/Karma Foundation 2007 International Short Fiction Contest.)


“How Beautiful Are Your Tents, O Jacob” (Short Story) Above republished, Shabbat Shalom, the newsletter of the Orthodox Union, April 21, 2009: < index.phpshabbat_shalom/article/52449/>


“Circle Change.” (Short Story) The Storyteller 12.3 (July-Sept. 2007) 30-2.



Poems, Prose Poems & Flash Fiction


“Shards of a Public Dream.” Birkensnake 5 (2012) 27-9.


“Dem Dry Bones.” Golden Visions Magazine, (Winter 2011).


“You Asked Me to Write a Story About Your Father Who Died.” Flash: The International Short-Short Story Magazine 3.2 (October 2010) 66-7.


“A True Story About My Grandfather.” Boston Literary Magazine (Summer 2011)


Everybody Should Have at Least One Disreputable Friend.” Sleet 2.1 (Spring 2010), .


“Two Bits.” Literary Chaos 2. (Spring 2009) 86-9. (Winner, If on a Fall Crack-of-Dawn a Web-Surfer...Prize)


“A Mind of Winter.” Pennsylvania Seasons. Ed. Esther Davidowitz. Scranton, PA: Pennsylvania Heritage Press, 2007.


“Seventeen Snowmen.” Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Memorial Poetry Prizes 2004, $1000 Prize Winner,


“In Jaffa Once I Touched a Wall.” Got Verse: Valley Poetry Anthology, Ed. Melanie Maslow Lumia. Lansdale, PA: New American Press, 2002:


[Untitled] “Sisyphus at Seven on a Schwinn.” Poet 3.3 (Winter 1991-2) 41.



Reviews/Shorter Works:


 “Jew Gangster and Brownsville” (review essay), MELUS, 32.3 (Fall 2007) 287-9


 “Michael Chabon Mixes it Up with Roth’s Plot.” Philip Roth Society Newsletter 5.1 (Spring 2007) 8-9+.


“Making It Into America’s Library: An Interview with Max Rudin, Publisher of Library of America.” Philip Roth Society Newsletter 4.1 (Spring 2006) 10-13.


“Daniel Fuchs.” Encyclopedia of Ethnic American Literature, Ed. Emmanuel S. Nelson, Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2005, 774-6.


“Jay Neugeboren.” Ibid, 1623-5.


“Broadway Boogie Woogie: Damon Runyon and the Making of New York City Culture” (review), Modern Fiction Studies 50.3 (Fall 2004) p. 752-3.

“The Outfit” The Role of Chicago’s Underworld in the Shaping of Modern America” (review), Journal of Illinois History, (winter 2002), 239-40.


“Yuki Hartman.” Asian-American Poets: A Bio-Bibliographical Critical Sourcebook. Ed. Guiyou Huang. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2002, 121-4.


“Reis, Nannie Aschenheim.” Women Building Chicago, 1790-1990: A Biographical Dictionary. Ed. Adele Hast and Rima Lunin Schultz. Bloomington, IN: Indiana UP, 2001.


            “Dillinger, John.” Violence in America: An Encyclopedia. Ed. Ronald Gottesman et al. New York: Scribner’s, 1999: Vol. 1, 407-9.


            “St. Valentine’s Day Massacre,” Violence in America, op. cit.: Vol. 3, 82-3.


“The Rhythm of Jewish Thinking...and Joking.” Solicited contribution for Writing the Jewish Future, an on-line conference of the National Foundation for Jewish Culture, 1998.



Invited Lectures/Scholar-in-Residence Appointments


Scholar-in-Residence, Congregation Hakafa (Glencoe, IL), April 12-4, 2013. Delivered three lectures, “Communal Memory and the Jewish Gangster, or Why is a Nice Jewish Boy Bringing up such a Shonde in the First Place?” “Dreidels, Blackjacks, and ‘Gonnegtions’ Across the Globe: A Brief History of the Jewish Gangster,” and “The Kosher Capones: A History of the Jewish Gangster in Chicago.”


Horwitz Lecture, Spertus Institute (Chicago, IL), June 12, 2011, “An Accidental Anarchist: How I Got Drawn into the Lazarus Averbuch Affair.”


Fiction Reading, Temple B’nai Jeshurun (New York, NY), Dec. 9, 2008. Read from “How Beautiful Are Your Tents, O Jacob.”


Scholar-in-Residence, Temple Sinai (Stamford, CT), Feb. 11-2, 2005. Delivered a Friday evening lecture, “Reflections in a Criminal Mirror: What Our Interest in the Jewish Gangster Tells Us About Ourselves,” and helped lead adult education discussion group.


Keynote Address, Young Leadership Council of the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta, November 3, 2004. Delivered the talk, “Thugs, Slugs & Roscoes,” on the history of the Jewish gangster as part of a fundraising appeal.



Conferences Presentations:


“Assuming the Tradition: Jonathan Lethem, Dissident Gardens, and the Jewish-American Writer Circa 2013.” MELUS 28, Oklahoma City University, Oklahoma City, OK, March 7, 2014.


“Between Amputation and Gangrene, or Learning to Live with Ambivalence: A Cool Reading of Baldwin’s Notes of a Native Son.” MELUS 26, Santa Clara University, Santa Clara, CA, April 20, 2012


“Who Gets to Shoot Hitler? Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds and Speculations toward a Theory of the Ethnic Gaze.” MELUS 25, Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, FL, April 9, 2011


“Lenny Bruce Says Ray Charles is Jewish, or The Neurotic Meets the Cool.” MELUS 23, Washington State University, Pullman, WA, April 4, 2009


“Strength Against Itself: Toward a Theory of 20th Century Cool.” NEMLA, Boston, MA Sunday, March 1, 2009


“Cooler Than Cool: Towards a Definition of Cool in 20th Century African-American Literature.” MELUS 22, Columbus, OH, March 29, 2008


When Manhood Itself is Invisible: Self, Corporate Self, and the Gangster in Ellison’s Invisible Man.” MELUS 21, California State University at Fresno, Fresno, CA, March 23, 2007


“A Line of Any Color is Still a Colored Line: Gangsters, Men and Invisibility in Walter Mosley’s Easy Rawlins Novels.” MELUS 20, Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, FL, April 28, 2006


“Too Beautiful to be Anything but Glass: Tracing the Fairy Tale in James Purdy” – 16th American Literature Association Conference, Boston, MA, May 28, 2005


“Ethnic Succession in the Literature of the Gangster: The Case of Ernesto Quiñonez's Bodega Dreams.” MELUS 19, University of Illinois at Chicago, April 9, 2005


“Recovering the Jewish Gangster: Challenges in Writing the History of Organized Crime.” Faculty Research Presentations, Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, NY, August 24, 2004.


“Damon Runyon’s Ethnic Carnival.” MELUS 18, San Antonio, TX, March 12, 2004.


Discussant/Introducer of Rachel Rubin, The Gangster Life & Violence in the United States: A Symposium, Humanities Institute at Stony Brook, SUNY Stony Brook, Stony Brook, NY, February 26-27, 2004


“Confronting (or Not) the Absent Father in James Purdy.” Assessing James Purdy Conference, University of Massachusetts at Amherst, October 25, 2003.


“Be it Ever so Rumble...: Theories of Ethnicity and Nationalism in Gangland Fiction.” MELUS 17, Boca Raton, FL, April 12, 2003.


“‘I Beg Your Pardon...I Had a Wrong Man’: The Great Gatsby as Ethnic Literature.” MELUS 16, Seattle, WA, April 11, 2002.


Moderator, “Teaching African-American Literature for the First Time.” MELUS 16, Seattle, WA, April 13, 2002.


“Walking Alone in the American City: Alfred Kazin and the Trope of ‘Native-ness’ in Establishing the Canon of the 1920s and 1930s.” MELUS 15, Knoxville, TN, March 2001.


Moderator, “New Perspectives on Jewish American Literature” MELUS 15, Knoxville, TN, March 2001.


“Popeye: Ethnic Gangster with a Southern Accent,” William Faulkner Panel, 9th Annual Central New York Conference on Language and Literature, SUNY Cortland, October 1999.


“The Melanin Curtain: Shades of Blackness and Ethnicity in American Literature and Culture,” 6th Annual Graduate Conference on Language and Literature, Northern Illinois University, March 1998.

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