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Reading at Cafe Leila in Berkeley
is a writer and poet, activist, scholar and teacher. A pioneer in women's studies, she taught the first such course at the University of California at Berkeley in Comparative Literature, where she earned her Ph.D. Since then she has taught all over the U.S., twice as a distinguished chair--at Hamilton College and at Brooklyn College/CUNY--and in fields as diverse as Jewish Studies, Women's Studies, Urban Studies, Race Theory, Public Policy, Gender and Queer Studies. For five years she directed the Queens College/CUNY Worker Education Extension Center in Manhattan. She currently teaches at Queens College in Jewish Studies, History and Comparative Literature, and recently taught in the Bard College Prison Initiative.
Born and raised in Brooklyn, a graduate of City College/CUNY, Melanie worked in the Harlem Civil Rights Movement as a teenager, and continues to be active in progressive movements, anti-war, lgbt, feminism, anti-racism, labor. She gave up a tenured teaching position to return to New York to work against racism in the Jewish community. She was the founding director of Jews for Racial and Economic Justice>, for which she, along with her comrade Esther Kaplan
was honored with a Union Square Award
in 2005.See Melanie’s article "Fighting Racism as Jews: Beyond Black/Jewish Dialogue" in the Jewish Women's Archives' exhibit on Jewish Women and the Feminist Revolution. In 2006 the Shondes, a radical Jewish rock band, presented Melanie with a Shonde to Love Award for her work promoting diasporism and Jewish internationalism.
Melanie's work is widely published and anthologized in the feminist, gay and lesbian, and progressive Jewish press. She co-founded the JFREJ radio program at WBAI (99.5 FM), Beyond the Pale and continues to guest-produce segments, especially interviewing writers about their work. She lives with her lover and their dog in Queens.
Invite Melanie Kaye/Kantrowitz to speak at your college or conference, in your community, at your bookstore or cafe, at your synagogue, mosque or church. Click email to contact MKK.
Click HERE for more responses to MKK's work.
"War is so unjust and ugly that all who wage it must try to stifle the voice of conscience within themselves."
The Colors of Jews: Racial Politics and Radical Diasporism (Indiana University Press)
"Every once in awhile a book comes along and smacks you in the face with its wisdom, intelligence, and compassionate politics. The Colors of Jews
is such a book."
––Chandra Talpade Mohanty
"In her calm, reasonable, assured voice, with formidable intellectual clarity, a wealth of reading, a fine ear for balancing argument, statistic and anecdote, Melanie Kaye/Kantrowitz throws open to questioning every assumption about the meaning of race, identity, justice and history. . . ."
The Issue Is Power: Essays on Women, Jews, Violence, and Resistance (Aunt Lute, 1992)
"You are in for a challenge--an intellectual feast and a strategic call to action"--Response
My Jewish Face& Other Stories (Aunt Lute, 1990)
"Her writing sacrifices neither clarity nor depth."-- Judith McDaniel
The Tribe of Dina: A Jewish Women's Anthology (Beacon Press, 1989)
"A vigorous, stimulating celebration of a multifaceted Jewish womanhood."
-- Publishers Weekly
We Speak in Code (Motheroot Publications, 1980)
"These poems fix impermeably those crucial moments when change happens. . . a way-making book."
-- Tillie Olsen