Olga Gershenson is Professor of Judaic and Near Eastern Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where she is also on the Film Studies faculty. Professor Gershenson earned her BA in Russia, her MA in Israel, and her PhD in the US. Her academic path is as diverse. A multi-disciplinary scholar, her interests lie 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 latest 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."
Along with film, Professor Gershenson does innovative research on spaces, both sacred and otherwise. Her collection Ladies and Gents: Public Toilets and Gender (2009) established the discipline of Toilet Studies. Her special issue of Eastern European Jewish Affairs (which she co-edited with Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett) charts for the first time a map of new Jewish museums throughout post-communist Europe, examining the relationship between politics, history, and culture.
Professor Gershenson’s current research deals with emerging genres in Israeli cinema.
Profiled in Haaretz as the rare academic who “prefers engaging the masses in culture,” she curates film series, consults for festivals, and has a lively lecture schedule at universities, conferences, and museums around the world.