Position/Discipline: associate professor and
Office location: Old Main 347
Areas of specialization: short story, American
literature, food and culture literature
Jeff Birkenstein is an associate professor in, and chair of, the
Department of English at Saint Martin's University in Lacey,
Washington. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Kentucky in
2003; he has a second MA in TESOL, also from Kentucky. His first MA
was from California State University, Long Beach, where he was lucky
enough to study under Charles E. May, the influential short story
critic After first attending Orange Coast (Community) College, he
graduated from UCLA in 1993 as an English major. His major interests
lie in American and world short stories; food; and, cultural
criticism, especially post-9/11 narratives.
Jeff Birkenstein strives to break down any final walls between
the classroom and the world. For example, watching a plane crash
into New York's World Trade Center live on television led to a
conference and then a class (co-taught with anthropologist David
Price) and then a book:
Reframing 9/11: Film, Pop Culture and the "War on Terror" (Continuum
2010), co-edited with Anna Froula (East Carolina University) and
Karen Randall (University of Southampton Solent, UK). Another
example: a successful eater for his entire life (except for those
scorpions in Beijing), he uses these diverse experiences when
teaching a course called "Food & Fiction," which has, in turn, led
to more writing, more traveling, more team-teaching and, of course,
more good eating. His next book, due out in Spring 2013 from
Columbia UP/Wallflower is P, with his same beloved co-editors, is
The Cinema of Terry Gilliam: It's a Mad World.
- "Divorced from Reality: Time Bandits in Search of
The Cinema of Terry Gilliam: It's a Mad World, Eds.
Jeff Birkenstein, Anna Froula, Karen Randell, Columbia UP,
- "The Houses that Alice Munro Built: Community in The
Love of a Good Woman." In Critical Insights: Alice Munro.
Ed. Charles E. May. Salem Press/EBSCO, 2012.
- "Teaching Significant Food in Carver's Fiction." In
Carver Across the Curriculum. Eds. Katherine Ashley and
Paul Grant. Cambridge Scholars Press, 2011.
- "An Early Broadside: The Far Right Raids Master and
Commander: The Far Side of the World." In Reframing
9/11: Film, Popular Culture and the "War on Terror."
Co-edited with Anna Froula, East Carolina University, and Karen
Randell, Southampton Solent University (England). Continuum,
Education: B.A., U.C.L.A.; M.A., English, Cal
State Long Beach; M.A. Teaching English as a Second Language,
University of Kentucky; Ph.D., English, ibid.