Michael Rothberg is Professor of English and Comparative Literature and the 1939 Society Samuel Goetz Chair in Holocaust Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles.

From 2001-2016 he taught at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. From 2003-2009 he was Director of Illinois’s Unit for Criticism and Interpretive Theory; from 2009-2016 he was Founding Director of the Initiative in Holocaust, Genocide, and Memory Studies; and from 2013-2016 he was Head of the Department of English.

He works in the fields of Holocaust studies, trauma and memory studies, critical theory and cultural studies, postcolonial studies, and contemporary literatures. He is on the Editorial Board of the journals Memory Studies and Studies in American Jewish Literature, and has been a member of the International Academic Advisory Council of the Vienna Wiesenthal Institute for Holocaust Studies (2010-2013) and of the Advisory Group of the AHRC-funded project Translating Freedom (2011-2012). He is also part of the Network in Transnational Memory Studies and a partner in Mnemonics: Network for Memory Studies.

Rothberg’s academic work has been published in such journals as American Literary History, Contemporary LiteratureCritical Inquiry, Cultural Critique, History and Memory, History and TheoryNew German Critique, and PMLA, and has been translated into French, German, Hungarian, Polish, and Spanish.

His latest book is Multidirectional Memory: Remembering the Holocaust in the Age of Decolonization (2009), published by Stanford University Press in their “Cultural Memory in the Present” series and forthcoming in French and Polish translations. He is also the author of Traumatic Realism: The Demands of Holocaust Representation (2000), and co-edited The Holocaust: Theoretical Readings (2003) with Neil Levi. Four co-edited special issues appeared in 2010-2011: Noeuds de Mémoire: Multidirectional Memory in Postwar French and Francophone Culture (Yale French Studies, co-edited with Debarati Sanyal and Max Silverman); Between Subalternity and Indigeneity: Critical Categories for Postcolonial Studies (Interventions, co-edited with Jodi A. Byrd); States of Welfare (Occasion, co-edited with Lauren M.E. Goodlad and Bruce Robbins); and Transcultural Negotiations of Holocaust Memory (Criticism, co-edited with Stef Craps).

Currently, Rothberg is completing a book called The Implicated Subject: Beyond Victims and Perpetrators, which is under contract with Stanford University Press. With Yasemin Yildiz, he is writing another book that focuses on the intersections between migration and confrontation with National Socialism and the Holocaust in contemporary Germany. That book derives from a collaborative project funded by the American Council of Learned Societies that also involved Andrés Nader.

For more information and a complete list of publications, see his personal website.


  • B.A. from Swarthmore College with Highest Honors in English and Linguistics
  • Ph.D. from the CUNY Graduate Center in Comparative Literature
  • Center for Film and Literary Criticism, Paris
  • Literature Program, Duke University