Agi Legutko specializes in modern Yiddish literature, language, and culture, women and gender studies, spirit possession in Judaism, as well as in American and European modern Jewish literature, theater, and film. Her research interests also include trauma, memory, performance, and the body represented in modern Jewish culture. She is interested in new approaches to content-based foreign language teaching, second language acquisition in the post-method era, as well as in exploring the possibilities offered by digital humanities and technology integration in Yiddish language instruction.
She received her Ph.D. (2012, with distinction), M.Phil (2008), and M.A. (2006) in Yiddish studies from Columbia University, and her M.A. (2002) in English Language and Literature and Translation Studies from Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland. Before joining Columbia University, she was a Visiting Assistant Professor in Yiddish Language, Literature and Culture at the University of Maryland.
She is currently focusing on creating an online database of Yiddish teaching materials, Yiddish digital platforms, such as Mapping Yiddish New York and The Grosbard Project, and is completing a manuscript exploring the trope of dybbuk possession in modern Jewish cultures. She is the author of Krakow’s Kazimierz: Town of Partings and Returns, a historical guidebook to the Jewish Quarter of Krakow (in English and Polish 2004, 2009), and her publications have appeared in several journals and essay collections on Yiddish literature and Culture, such as Cwiszn, Bridges, Lilith, and Jewish Quarterly.
She teaches courses in Yiddish language on elementary, intermediate and advanced levels, as well as in Yiddish literature and culture, such as Magic and Monsters in Yiddish Literature, Women, Gender and Sexuality in Yiddish Literature, Yiddish New York: Literature, Culture, and Space, and Life Writing in Yiddish Literature: Autobiography, Memoir, or Fiction?
–“Possessed by the Traumatic Past: Postmemory and S. An-sky’s The Dybbuk in Kantor’s The Dead Class,” Theatermachine: Tadeusz Kantor in Context, ed. Magda Romanska and Kathleen Cioffi, (Northwestern University Press, forthcoming in 2019).
–“Obsessed with the Possessed: The Dybbuk Motif in Jewish Literature,” The Dybbuk, Between Two Worlds: An Anthology, ed. Mieczyslaw Abramowicz and Jan Ciechowicz, (in Polish & English, Gdansk University Press, 2017).
–“Yiddish in the 21st Century: New Media to the Rescue of Endangered Languages,” Handbook of Foreign Language Education in the Digital Age, ed. Lisa Winstead and Penny Wang (Hershey, Pennsylvania: IGI Global, 2016)
–“Dybbuk as a Key to Identity,” Cwiszn (in Polish, Summer-Fall 2014)
–“‘The Circus Lady:’ Gender Poetry of Celia Dropkin,” Silent Souls? Women in Yiddish Culture, ed. Joanna Lisek, (in Polish, Wroclaw University Press, 2010).
–“Feminist Dybbuks: Spirit Possession Motif in Post-Second Wave Jewish Women’s Fiction” (Bridges: A Jewish Feminist Journal, Spring 2010)