Lea Fridman

Full Time Faculty

English

Contact:

Phone: (718) 368-5250
Email: Lea.Fridman@kbcc.cuny.edu
Office Location: C-326, C Cluster

Lea Fridman

Biography 

I am a writer and academic with a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature and a strong arts and interdisciplinary background. My research has spanned Holocaust, trauma, and black studies. My book, Words and Witness: Narrative and Aesthetic Strategies in the Representation of the Holocaust,  appeared in 2000 (SUNY) and was a study of the techniques by which writers put experiences that exceed words, into words.  I have also been drawn to research and work on neglected figures whose contributions were both stellar and unrecognized.  Hence my work on the 19th century American black legislator and historian, George Washington Williams as well as on the similarly unrecognized 20th century composer and pianist, Stanley Babin.

I was privileged to have worked with the historian John Hope Franklin, Williams' biographer, for the last three years of his life and put together a scholarly workshop on Williams that took place at the Cardozo School of Law in 2009.   In my effort to bring Babin's pianistic legacy to the world, I have put together a website that serves as an archive of Babin's performances over his lifetime – all of them privately recorded and commercially unavailable.  For a period of ten years in the latter part of Babin's life, I produced Babin's New York concerts and now direct the Babin Historic Recordings Project begun by the composer Lee Hoiby.

My creative writing includes plays and poetry.  I have had staged readings of two of my plays.  A CUNY Collaborative Grant resulted in the art book version of one of my plays in the style of the beautiful fifteenth century illuminated Passover Haggadah.

My most recent projects are deeply influenced by the work of Ohad Naharin, the artistic director of the BatSheva Dance Company, whose innovative approach to the body and to dance movement, known as Gaga, is the basis of two book projects in which I am currently engaged:  The Gaga Interviews and The Gaga Poems.  Selections from the latter were the focus of a performance directed by the French director, Astrid Bas, at the Laba Theater in New York in 2017.  I am also working on a photographic treatment of Tel Aviv's Rothchild Boulevard which is influenced by Gaga as well.

At Kingsborough, in addition to remedial reading and writing courses, I teach Modern European Literature and 20th century non-Western World Literature.  As of 2015, I have combined two trainings in teamwork into the design of my classes and have presented this pedagogy at our Faculty Forum under the title "The Possible Class:  The New Physics of the Classroom."

Education

​NEH Summer Seminar, Harvard University,

2000

​CUNY Graduate School and University Center:

Ph.D. in Comparative Literature. Distinction.

1991

​M.Phil. in Comparative Literature.

1981

​Yeshiva University, B.A., English Literature.

1970


College Teaching

​Kingsborough Community College.

​1991–2017

​Yeshiva University.

​1990–1991

​Baruch College, CUNY.

​1987–1990


Selected Publications and/or Other Resources

Theater reviews and criticism at www.offoffonline.com.

 

2015 to present

The Stanley Babin Society (music archive and website). Digital music archive of “The Stanley Babin Society:
Celebrating the Legendary Artistry of Stanley Babin.” The website uses the global platform of the web to fully archive, preserve and make available, the musical achievement of a neglected composer and pianist, Stanley Babin.

 

2011 - present

The Gaga Poems. "Into the Night." A poetry / dance performance directed by Astrid Bas at the Laba Theater, NYC.

 

May 2017

w/Hole in the Heart (play). Staged reading. The Sonnet Theater at The Producer's Club, NYC.

 

July 2017

w/Hole in the Heart. Staged reading. Neve Schechter, Tel Aviv.

 

Jan. 2017

The Babin Historical Recordings Project (see digital archive at web, www. stanleybabinsociety.org).

 

Fall 2015

"When Green Goldfish Sing," from The Gaga Poems. The Flatbush Review.

 

Fall 2015

w/Hole in the Heart. Starring Suzanne Toren.Metropolitan Playhouse, NYC.

 

August 2014

Un Trou Au Coeur. w/Hole in the Heart newly translated into French by Cheryl Weisberg.

 

2013

Ice Skating. The Drama Center and The Writer's Voice. Directed by Suzanne Toren. The Marjorie Dean Theater, NYC.

 

June 2006

w/Hole in the Heart Staged reading. The Next Stage, NYC.

 

June 2005

w/Hole in the Heart. Staged reading. Festival of the Arts. United Nations Committee on the Status of Women. NYC.

 

March 2005

w/Hole in the Heart: An Illuminated Play. Print-ready hand-bound art book designed in the style of mid-15th century illuminated manuscripts.Illustrations by JudithWilde, book design by Olga Mezhibovskaya.

 

2005

"Piotr Rawicz." Holocaust Literature. Ed. Lillian Kremer. Routeledge.

 

2003

"The Horror Of History," Reading Night. Ed. Wendy Mass. Greenhaven Press.

 

2003

Words and Witness: Narrative and Aesthetic Strategies in the Representation of the Holocaust. (SUNY).

 

2000

Conversations: A Newsletter on Pedagogy, Ed. L. Hamaoui (Fridman),    Vol. 1 – 3.

 

1996 - 1998

"Art and Testimony: Representations of Historical Horror in Literary Works by Piotr Rawicz and Charlotte Delbo." Cardozo Studies in Law and Literature 3.2.

 

Fall 1991

“The Shape of Night.” Elie Wiesel: Between Memory and Hope. Ed. Carol Ritner. NYU Press.

 

1990

Dimensions: A Journal of Holocaust Studies. Ed. L. Hamaoui (Fridman), E. Fine, et al., Anti-Defamation League, B'nai Brith.

 

1980-1990

"Aharon Appelfeld's Badenheim 1939: A Study of an Image." Remembering for the Future. Ed. Yehudah Bauer. New York: Elsevier Science.

 

1989

"Narrative Strategies in the Representation of the Holocaust." Centerpoint: A Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies 4.1.

 

Fall 1980

Centerpoint: A Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies (Special Issue on the Holocaust). Ed. J. Gerber, E. Fine, L Hamaoui (Fridman), R. Lamont.

 

Fall 1980

"Sound as Image in Stevens' 'Not Ideas About the Thing But The Thing Itself.' "Comparative Literature Studies 17.3.

 

Sept. 1980


Events / Key Dates / Conferences

“The Possible Classroom: The New Physics of Teams and Teamwork in the Classroom,” Kingsborough Faculty Forum.

 

May 2016

Cardozo School of Law Conference (organized and led). “From The Slave System of the American South to the Forced Labor System of Leopold’s Congo,”  sponsored by the Program in Holocaust and Human Rights Studies. (March 27 and May 3, 2009).

 

2009

“George Washington Williams:  The Case of a Neglected American Hero,”  sponsored by the Franklin Humanities Institute and the Duke Center For Human Rights, Duke University. Web podcast of my interview of John Hope Franklin available on the Franklin Humanities Institute website and on YouTube.

 

October 2008

“An Upriver Journey,”  President’s Scholarly Forum.  Kingsborough Community College.

 

March 2007

Cardozo School of Law, Program in Holocaust and Human Rights Studies, performance and panel discussion of Lea Fridman’s play w/Hole in the Heart.   Starring Suzanne Toren with Abdul Mohammed and directed by Robert Kalfin;  with panelists:  Lillian Kremer and Bernard Schlink and co-sponsored by Kingsborough Community College.  The Center for Jewish History, NYC.

 

December 2005

“Art and Political Violence in the Twentieth Century:  An Approach to Freshman English.”   BMCC Center for Teaching.

 

April 1998

Genocide and Denial: A Conference in Memory of Terrence Des Pres, Colgate University.  Respondent.

 

April 1997

“The Story of the Whisper:  Words, Limit and the Shape of Traumatic Utterance,”  Religion, Politics and Cultural Dynamics. Cornell University.

 

April 1994

“Writing Identities: Fragmentation or Integration,”  CUNY English Forum, CUNY Graduate School and University Center.

 

Spring 1994

“The Body as Witness: An Examination of the Prose Style of  Charlotte Delbo,”  International Assn. for Literature and Philosophy. University of California.

 

May 1990

“Poetics of Mourning,”    International Assn. for Literature and Philosophy. University of Notre Dame.  Respondent. 

 

May 1989

“Film and the Holocaust,”  International Association for Literature and Philosophy, University of Notre Dame.   Respondent.

 

April 1988

“Symbol, Allegory and a Rhetoric of Intentionality,” American Comparative Literature Association.  Graduate Student Conference  in English,  CUNY Graduate School and University Center.

 

Oct. 1980

“Works of Literature as Self-Contained Entities,” CUNY Conference in English, CUNY Graduate School and University Center.

 

Oct. 1980


University Activities

University Faculty Senate (elected alternate senator).

 

2002 - 2006

KCC Representative:  CUNY Celebrates Diversity.

 

Spring 2005

CUNY Governance Leader designee to represent Kingsborough (UFS).

 

2002-2004

University Colloquium on Race, Class and Gender.

 

1998 – 1999

Chair and Liaison for the PSC CUNY Awards Program panel for English and  Creative Writing panels (supervising the distribution yearly of approximately $300,00).

 

1995 - 1998

Chair of the Arts and Humanities Division, Executive  Committee of the University Committee on Research Awards.

 

1995-1996

University Committee on Writing in the Disciplines, panel member.

 

1994 - 1995


Department and College Activities

Creative Writing Program Committee.

 

2016 – present

Literature Committee.

 

1998 - present

Coordinator:   KCC Reads college-wide community reading program.

 

2000 – 2012

Chair of the Kingsborough Faculty Assembly responsible for work on governance and KCC Reads.

 

2002 - 2006

The Open Forum, English department (with Matthew Gartner).

 

Spring 2005

Antheon, faculty advisor for student literary arts journal.

 

1995 – 2005

Syllabi for World Lit. and European Lit. courses written for department.

 

2003-2004

Kingsborough, Faculty Assembly, Learn-In on the Genocide in Darfur.

 

Dec. 2002

Kingsborough Faculty Assembly, Learn-In on American Policy in Iraq.

 

Dec. 2002

Antheon Open-Mic Poetry and Arts Slam. Initiated and led these events.

 

1999 – 2000

Agenda Committee. 

 

1998 – 1999

Editor of Conversations:  A Newsletter on Pedagogy. This was a publication circulated within our department and across the University to encourage dialogue among English departments within the University.

 

1995 - 1999

Chair of English 12/24 Committee. Charged with the review and rewriting of the syllabi for these two required courses.

 

1997 - 1998

Curriculum Committee.

 

1995 – 1998

Developmental Sequence Curriculum Revision Committee.

 

1993 – 1996

Committee on Freshman English.

 

1992 - 1993

Freshman English Examination Committee.

 

1992 – 1993


Awards Recognition, Distinctions and Grants

Kingsborough Scholar’s Award, “The ‘Possible Classroom: The New Physics of Teams and Teamwork in the Classroom.”

 

Fall 2015

PSC CUNY  Research Award,  “Completing the Legacy.”

 

April 2014

Kingsborough Scholar’s Award,   “John Hope Franklin:  Historian, Survivor, Witness,  American Scholar.”

 

Fall 2012

PSC CUNY Research Award, “John Hope Franklin: Biography of an American Scholar.”

 

April 2011

PSC CUNY Research Award, “George Washington Williams: American Hero.”

 

April 2010

PSC CUNY Research Award , “American Hero.”

 

April 2009

Kingsborough Scholar’s Award, “George Washington Williams.”

 

Nov. 2007

PSC CUNY Creative Writing Panel,   American Hero  (play).

 

April 2007

Presidential Faculty Innovation Award.

 

Fall 2006

Sundance Theater Lab Finalist (w/Hole in the Heart – play).

 

2006

PSC CUNY Ethnic and Area Studies Panel, “Indexing Genocide.” 

 

April 2006

PSC CUNY Creative Writing Award,  Ice Skating: A Courtroom Drama and Farce (play).

 

April 2005

CUNY Community College Collaborative Grant. w/Hole in the Heart: An Illuminated Play (with Judith Wilde, Art Department).

 

April 2004

PSC CUNY Creative Writing Award, When Green Goldfish Sing (poetry).

 

April 2003

PSC CUNY Research Award, “In the Blood Space of Mutuality:  J. Hillis Miller’s ‘Heart of Darkness Revisited’ and the Critical Enterprise.”

 

Spring 2000

Honoree,  CUNY Salute to Scholars.

 

2000

NEH Summer Seminar at Harvard University.  “War and Memory: Representations of World War II and the Occupation in French Literature, Film and History.  Directed by Susan R. Suleiman.

 

July - August 2000

Kingsborough Scholar’s Award, “In the Blood Space of Mutuality.”

 

Spring 1999

Kingsborough Scholar’s Award, “A Critical Survey of Notions of Witnessing in the Disciplines of Holocaust Studies.”

 

Spring 1996

Fellow,  Jack P. Eisner Center for Holocaust Studies.

 

1982-1983

Fellow, Center for European Studies, CUNY Graduate School and University Center.

 

1982

Fellow,  American Association of University Women.

 

1981 - 1982

“Distinction,” Comparative Literature Doctoral Oral Exams. Henri Peyre, presiding with Irving Howe and Rosette Lamont.

 

Feb. 1980

Fellow, Jack P. Eisner Center for Holocaust Studies.

 

1979-1980


Institutional Affiliations / Professional Societies

​Modern Language Association