What effects do new distribution technologies and current philanthropic practices have on the production of contemporary culture? This talk takes as a case study Jill Soloway’s Transparent, which was the first streaming video production to beat out broadcast and cable television networks at the Golden Globes and Emmy Awards, and has been described by the New Yorker’s critic, Emily Nussbaum, as “the most Jewish show I’ve seen on TV.” The show exemplifies two key factors shaping cultural production, and Jewish cultural production in particular, in the contemporary United States: an increasing link between foundation-based philanthropy and artistic production, and an affinity between streaming media technologies and demographic minorities.
Josh Lambert is the academic director of the Yiddish Book Center and the author of American Jewish Fiction: A JPS Guide (2009) and Unclean Lips: Obscenity, Jews, and American Culture (2014), which received a Jordan Schnitzer Book Award from the Association of Jewish Studies and a Canadian Jewish Book Award. His peer-reviewed articles have appeared or are forthcoming in Book History, modernism/modernity, Contemporary Literature, Studies in American Jewish Literature, and Cinema Journal, among others, and his reviews and essays have been published by The New York Times Book Review, Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Review of Books, Haaretz, Tablet, The Forward, New England Public Radio, and many other publications. He currently serves on the board of directors of the Association for Jewish Studies and on the executive committee of the Academic Council of the American Jewish Historical Society.