University of Minnesota
Department of English

Department of English

Paula Rabinowitz

Paula Rabinowitz

225A Lind Hall 207 Church St SE


Paula Rabinowitz's research, teaching and training are in the areas of American materialist feminist cultural studies. Her work considers the interlocking roles of cinema, photography, painting in and through twentieth century literature. She focuses on contemporary and modernist American women’s art and literature; her work explores hidden histories within working-class, pulp and popular cultures. Her articles and chapters on literary radicalism and film theory appear in many journals, anthologies and encyclopedia, such as the Cambridge Companion to American Modernism, Encyclopedia of Documentary Film (Routledge), Modernism, Inc. (NYU); recent essays on art and culture have appeared in NY Arts, PAJ, Social Text, Legacy, Cineaste, Film International, Women’s Studies Quarterly, T/Here and have been translated into Italian, Spanish, Catalan and Chinese. Between 2003 and 2006, she was Project Director of VG/Voices from the Gaps, an award-winning international website on the Art and Writing of North American Women of Color comprised of student and professional writing. Her books include THEY MUST BE REPRESENTED: THE POLITICS OF DOCUMENTARY and BLACK & WHITE & NOIR: AMERICA'S PULP MODERNISM. She has also co-curated gallery exhibits on women and pulp fiction and on women’s sound installation art. Her ongoing book projects: "American Pulp: How Paperbacks Brought Modernism to Main Street" explores the impact of the paperback revolution on censorship, sexuality, audiences and literary taste; HABITS OF BEING is a four-volume edited series of essay on clothin, fashion, dress and identity, co-edited with Cristina Giorcelli (University of Minnesota Press); "The Durations of Space: Women's Installations" charts women's time-based art since the 1970's.


  • American women, minority, and working class writers
  • US literary radicalism
  • marxist and feminist theories
  • film, photography, media
  • cultural studies
  • modernisms
  • visual culture
  • American Studies

Educational Background

  • Ph.D.: American Culture, University of Michigan, 1986.
  • M.A.: American Culture, University of Michigan, 1980.
  • B.A.: American Studies, Brandeis University, 1974.


  • Cristina Giocelli. Habits of Being: Clothing and Identity, vol.1: Accessorizing the Modern Body. University of Minnesota Press, 2011. Link Image
  • “Designing Women/Modernist Identities: Some thoughts on Georgia O’Keeffe, Frida Kahlo and Emily Carr,“ T/Here: Journal of Architecture and Landscape 3 (2006).
  • “Social Representations within American Modernism,“ Cambridge Companion to American Modernism. Ed. Walter Kalaidjian. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2005.
  • “Plainsong: The Video of Mary Lucier,“ Border Crossings: A Magazine of the Arts 24:2 (2005).
  • Black & White & Noir: America's Pulp Modernism. Rabinowitz, Paula, Columbia University Press, Author, 2002. Image
  • They Must Be Represented: The Politics of Documentary. Rabinowitz, Paula, Verso, Author, 1994. Image
  • Labor and Desire: Women's Revolutionary Fiction in Depression America. Rabinowitz, Paula, University of North Carolina Press, Author, 1991. Image
  • Writing Red: an Anthorlogy of American Women Writers, 1930-1940. Rabinowitz, Paula, Edited with Charlotte Nekola, New York: Feminist Press, Co-Editor, 1987. Image

Research Activities

  • American Pulp: How Paperbacks Brought Modernism to Main Street: investigates how modernism became popularized through pulp fiction and censorship trials.
  • M.E., Frida and Miss O'Keeffe: Fragments of a Story of Women's Painting, Feminist Kitsch and National Icons: a series of essays on Frida Kahlo, Emily Carr and Gerogia OKeeffe and their legacies for modern art and feminist politics.
  • Habits of Being: Clothing and Identity: Four-volume English-language series co-edited with Cristina Giorcelli for publication by University of Minnesota Press

Professional Activities

  • Executive Council: MLA , 2006 - 2009
  • National Council: ASA , 2006 - 2009
  • Speaker's Bureau: ASA , 2007 - present


  • Distinguished Fulbright Lecturer in American Cultures East China Normal Univeristy , Shanghai, China, February 2011 - July 2011
  • CLA Dean's Medal, 2008
  • Samuel Russell Chair in the Humanities, 2005 - 2008
  • Senior Fellow, Center for the Humanities, Oregon State University, 2000 - 2001
  • Rockefeller Foundation Residency, Bellagio, Italy, 2000
  • Fulbright Professor of American Studies, University of Rome, 1997
  • CLA Scholar of the College, 1996 - 1999

Courses Taught

  • American Modernisms and Modernity
  • From Marginality to Digitality: Pedagogy, Media, Multiculturalism
  • Documentary Rhetoric
  • Girls v. Marx: Materialist-Feminist Cultural Theory
  • Marxism and the Politics of Culture in Depression America
  • Desire and Destruction: Film as Cultural Theory
  • Writing for Publication
  • Feminist Film Theory and Practice
  • Film Noir:Bad Girls/Doomed Guys
  • Old Left/New Left/What’s Left?
  • U.S. Literary Radicalism
  • Documenting the Depression
  • Killer Women: From Medea to Monster
  • Political Pulp
  • Working in the U.S.A.: Representations of Labor in Art and Literature
  • Engl 1301W - Intro to Multicultural American Literature
Alternative Output Formats Alternative Output Formats