Sharon Oster

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 Campus Ext. 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, Between America’s Past and Future: Allegories of Jewishness in the Late Nineteenth Century, and a piece on Holocaust memoirs, “Figuring the Muselmann: Impossible Metaphors of Holocaust Representation.” She has recently begun work in the Digital Humanities, specifically using GIS technologies to explore and map the geography of Holocaust testimonies.

Courses Offered at Redlands

  • American Literature: Industry and Enterprise
  • Representing the Holocaust
  • History of Literacy Criticism and Theory
  • Critical Reading 
  • Literature of the Americas 
  • American Jewish Literature
  • The Graphic Novel 
  • Henry James 
  • Mark Twain
  • 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

  • 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
  • 2001: College of Letters and Science General Education Cluster Program Award, UCLA
  • 2000: College of Letters and Science General Education Cluster Program Teaching Fellowship, UCLA
  • 2000: English Teaching Excellence Award, UCLA

Selected Publications, Presentations and Panels

“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”; Presenter: “Borrowed Time: Gambling, Chance, and Naturalist Decline in The House of Mirth,” 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.

“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).

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

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).

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.

NEH Faculty Development Workshop: “Asian Culture Through Theater,” University of Redlands, February 3-5, 2006 and March 10-12, 2006.

“‘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.

“‘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).

“Nostalgia and the Dialectic of Worldliness in Abraham Cahan’s The Imported Bridegroom,” MLA, San Diego, CA, December 29, 2003.

“Mr. Newman Goes to Paris: The Production of Value in James’s The American,” International Conference of the Henry James Society, The American University of Paris, Paris, France, July 5-9, 2002.

“Greenbacks and Greenhorns: James, the Jew, and Counterfeit Citizenship,” ALA, Long Beach, CA, May 27, 2000.

Professional Afiliations

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

Sharon Oster is the Faculty Advisor, for the University of Redlands Hillel.

Thurber, an English bulldog, is the University's mascot.

He is named after Clarence Howe Thurber, University president from 1933-37.

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