ABSTRACT

This essay reads the “soundwork”—radio and podcast writing and performance—of two Canadian Jews, David Rakoff and Jonathan Goldstein, as exemplary cases of the representational patterns scholars attending to American popular culture since the 1990s have recently begun to analyze under the rubric of “New Jews.” Focusing particularly on work that has been broadcast on the popular radio shows/podcasts This American Life (1995–) and WireTap with Jonathan Goldstein (2004–15), this essay surveys the representational strategies through which these performers invoke Jewishness and Canadianness over hundreds of hours of scripted and improvised audio performances. I argue that the remarkable taken-for-granted approach to representation in Rakoff’s and Goldstein’s work is due, at least in part, to the positioning of Jews and Canadians as potentially overlooked minorities in the late-twentieth- and early twenty-first-century United States.

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