Marianne Hirsch is William Peterfield Trent Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University and Professor in the Center for the Study of Sexuality. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a former President of the Modern Language Association of America. She was born in Romania, and educated at Brown University where she received her BA/MA and Ph.D. degrees.
Hirsch’s work combines feminist theory with memory studies, particularly the transmission of memories of violence across generations. Her recent books include School Photos in Liquid Time: Reframing Difference, co-authored with Leo Spitzer (University of Washington Press, 2020), and the co-edited volumes Imagining Everyday Life: Engagements with Vernacular Photography (Steidl, 2020) and Women Mobilizing Memory (Columbia University Press, 2019). Earlier publications include The Generation of Postmemory: Writing and Visual Culture After the Holocaust (Columbia University Press, 2012), Ghosts of Home: The Afterlife of Czernowitz in Jewish Memory, co-authored with Leo Spitzer (University of California Press, 2010), Family Frames: Photography, Narrative, and Postmemory (1997), and The Familial Gaze (ed.1999). With Leo Spitzer, Hirsch recently curated "School Photos and Their Afterlives,” an exhibit at the Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College.
Hirsch is the former editor of PMLA and the recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the ACLS, the Mary Ingraham Bunting Institute, the National Humanities Center, and the Bellagio and Bogliasco Foundations. She is one of the founders of Columbia’s Center for the Study of Social Difference, and its global initiative “Women Creating Change.”
Along with a group of local scholars, artists and activists, Hirsch is currently co-directing the Zip Code Memory Project, an initiative that seeks to find art and community-based ways to repair the devastating losses resulting from the Coronavirus pandemic while also acknowledging its radically differential effects on Upper New York City neighborhoods.