Sharon Oster, English Dept. Chair

Assoc Professor, English

Degrees: Ph.D., English, U.C. Los Angeles, 2003; M.A., English, U.C. Los Angeles, Department of English, 1999; M.A., Comparative Literature, U.C. Los Angeles, 1998; B.A. with Honors, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, 1991

Office: English, Hall of Letters #210

Phone: 909/748-8585


Sharon Oster Portrait

Academic Interests and Areas of Expertise

  • 19th-century American literature and culture
  • Jewish literature and culture
  • Holocaust studies 
  • Henry James
  • Realism
  • The novel
  • Aesthetics and religion 

Professional Background

Sharon Oster specializes in late-nineteenth century American literature, the Holocaust and Jewish studies. She is currently completing a book project, “No Place in Time: The Hebraic Myth in Late-Nineteenth Century American Literature,” and is working on a second project on “impossible metaphors” in Holocaust memoirs. She has also begun work in the Digital Humanities, specifically using GIS technologies in the classroom to explore and map the geography of Holocaust testimonies.testimonies.

Courses Offered at Redlands

  • Coming of Age in the Gilded Age
  • Holocaust Memoirs: Reading, Writing, Mapping
  • History of Literacy Criticism and Theory
  • Critical Reading
  • Literature of the Americas: Murder, Madness, Mortality and Magic
  • American Jewish Literature
  • Autobiography and Graphic Narrative
  • Henry James
  • Mark Twain and the Gilded Age
  • Reading the 1960s
  • Immigrant Literature

Degrees Held

  • Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles, Department of English, 2003
  • M.A., University of California, Los Angeles, Department of English, 1999
  • M.A., University of California, Los Angeles, Program in Comparative Literature, 1998
  • B.A. with Honors, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, 1991

Previous Teaching Experience

  • Lecturer, University of California, Los Angeles, 2004-05
  • Lecturer, University of Southern California, 2004
  • Postdoctoral Faculty Fellow, University of California, Irvine, 2003-04

Awards and Honors

  • 2014: Faculty Research Grant, University of Redlands
  • 2014: Fellowship, “Teaching the Holocaust Digitally: A Source Study Approach,” United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies, Washington, D.C.
  • 2014: LENS (Learning Spatially) Faculty Development Grant, University of Redlands
  • 2013: Faculty Research Grant, University of Redlands
  • 2012: W. M. Keck Foundation LENS Faculty Fellowship in Spatial Learning
  • 2011: Graves Award, Nominated by President James Appleton, University of Redlands
  • 2011: Jack and Anita Hess Seminar for Faculty, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, January 3-7, Washington, D. C.
  • 2009: Faculty Research Grant, University of Redlands
  • 2007: Faculty Research Grant, University of Redlands
  • 2003: Postdoctoral Fellowship, University of California, Irvine
  • 2002: Alfred E. Longueil Dissertation Fellowship, UCLA
  • 2001: Chancellor’s Dissertation Fellowship, UCLA
  • 2002: Philip and Ada Siff Educational Foundation Graduate Fellowship, UCLA (declined)
  • 2001: College of Letters and Science Charles E. and Sue K. Young Graduate Student of the Year Award, UCLA

Selected Publications, Presentations and Panels

“Impossible Metaphors of Holocaust Representation: The Muselmann,” forthcoming, Prooftexts.

“The Shop of Curiosities: Henry James, ‘the Jew,’ and the Production of Value.” English Literary History 75.4 (Winter 2008): 963-992.

“The Pupil,” “Anti-Semitism,” “The Dreyfus Affair,” in Critical Companion to Henry James: A Literary Reference to His Life and Work. Eds. Kendall Johnson and Eric Haralson. Clearmark Books, Facts on File (New York: Infobase Publishing, 2009).

Book review: American Naturalism and the Jews, by Donald Pizer (Urbana and Chicago: Univ. of Illinois Press, 2008), American Jewish History 94.4 (Winter 2009).

“‘The Erotics of Auschwitz’: Coming of Age in The Painted Bird and Sophie’s Choice.” In Witnessing the Disaster: Essays on Representation and the Holocaust, ed. Michael Bernard-Donals and Richard Glejzer (Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press, 2003).

Invited Panel Chair, Respondent, and Roundtable Participant: Thinking Beyond the Canon: New Themes and Approaches to Jewish Studies, UCLA Center for Jewish Studies, March 8-9, 2015.

“Mapping Holocaust Memoirs: Technology, Ethics and Pedagogy, Center for Spatial Studies, University of Redlands, November 17, 2014.

“Impossible Holocaust Metaphors: The Muselmann,” ARC, Americanist Research Colloquium, UCLA, October 16, 2014.

“Borrowed Time: Gambling, Chance, and Naturalist Fictions of Decline in The House of Mirth,” SCAG, Southern California Americanist Group, The Huntington Library, October 3, 2014.

“A Cartography of Suffering?: Mapping Holocaust Testimony,” American Comparative Literature Association, New York University, March 20-23, 2014.

“Mapping Holocaust Memoirs: Technology, Ethics and Pedagogy,” ESRI Educational GIS Conference, San Diego, July 6-9, 2013.

Seminar Author, Co-Chair: “Mapping Oppression: Translating Literary and Geographical Sites of Terror”; Presenter: “Holocaust Memoirs: Reading, Writing, Mapping,” ACLA, Toronto, Canada, April 4-7, 2013.

Panel Author, Organizer: “The Aesthetics of Time in American Literary Realism”; MLA, Los Angeles, CA, January 6-9, 2011.

Invited lecture: “Figuring the Muselmann: The Object Matter of Holocaust Representation,” Aesthetics After the Holocaust, UCLA, February 7-8, 2010.

Panel Author, Organizer: “Religious Aesthetics in Nineteenth Century American Literature: A Comparative Approach”; Presenter: “A Figure Out of Time: The Noble Hebrew and Christian Typology in American Literature,” MLA, Philadelphia, PA, December 27-30, 2009.

Panel Chair: “Race and Nation”; Presenter: “Lost in Translation: Strands of Jewishness in ‘The Pupil,’” International Conference of the Henry James Society Newport, RI, July 9-16, 2008.

Seminar Co-Chair: “Difficult Journeys: Texts That Challenge”; Presenter: “Why Teach Holocaust Texts?” ACLA, Long Beach, CA, April 26, 2008.

Panel Chair: “Beauty, Peace, War,” Historical Formalism, or Aesthetics in American Literary History, Huntington Library, San Marino, CA, May 18-19, 2007.

“‘The New Star of Realism’: Immigrant Nostalgia and Messianic Time in Abraham Cahan’s The Imported Bridegroom,” MLA, Philadelphia, PA, December 27, 2006.

Panel Chair: “Jewish Studies II: Jewish Representation in American Fiction”; Presenter: “Immigrant Nostalgia and the Dialectic of Value in Abraham Cahan’s The Imported Bridegroom,” PCA/ACA, San Diego, CA, March 23, 2005.

Professional Affiliations

  • Modern Language Association (MLA)
  • American Comparative Literature Association (ACLA)
  • Henry James Society
  • Reader, Huntington Library

Sharon Oster is the English Department Chair and Faculty Advisor for the University of Redlands Hillel.

Design through Math
Appleton Hall

The back of the University of Redlands own Appleton Hall contains a mathematically designed ‘Echo Chamber’ that uses calculated angles to refract sound.

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