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Olga Gershenson

Professor – Israeli cinema, Holocaust cinema, Soviet film, Horror genre

Olga Gershenson

(413) 545-2550

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730 Herter Hall

Olga Gershenson is Professor of Judaic and Near Eastern Studies and of Film Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She is a multi-disciplinary scholar, with interests at the intersection of culture, history, and film.

Her first book, Gesher: Russian Theater in Israel (2005), pioneered the study of Russian immigrant cultural production. A series of articles on Russian-Israeli cinema cemented her status as the premier expert in the field. Gershenson's second book, The Phantom Holocaust (2013), reveals unknown Holocaust films from the Soviet Union. According to the journal Holocaust and Genocide Studies, it "will serve as a foundation for all further research and reflection on the topic." Professor Gershenson’s new book New Israeli Horror: Local Cinema, Global Genre is forthcoming from Rutgers University Press. She is currently editing The Handbook of Judaism and Film for Oxford University Press.

Along with film, Gershenson does innovative research on spaces. Her collection Ladies and Gents: Public Toilets and Gender (2009) established the discipline of Toilet Studies. Her special issue of Eastern European Jewish Affairs (co-edited with Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett) charts for the first time a map of new Jewish museums throughout post-communist Europe.

At the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Gershenson teaches courses on Israeli and Palestinian cinemas, on Holocaust films, on Jewish humor and popular culture. She is an editor of the “Teaching with Film and Media” column at AJS Perspectives. In addition to her home institution, she has taught internationally, including in Israel, China, India, Russia, and UAE.

To learn more about her work, see her website

Courses Recently Taught

  • Film and Society in Israel
  • Jewish Humor
  • Adaptation: The Jewish Experience from Text to Film 
  • Cinema of the Holocaust
  • Israel/Palestine through Film and Pop Culture