Penny S. Gold
Burkhardt Distinguished Chair Emerita in History
"Although my primary identity is as a historian, my work has always been interdisciplinary in nature and eclectic in methodology. In my most recent book, I looked at how Judaism adapted to the radically altered circumstances of late nineteenth- and twentieth- century America, a problem that has me searching the history of religious education, biblical interpretation, changing roles of women and theories of cultural pluralism.
"My love of research has had a pervasive impact on my teaching. One of the joys of teaching is to inspire students to ask their own questions, and to see them through the process of finding answers."
Years at Knox: 1976 to 2013
Ph.D., Medieval Studies, 1977, Stanford University.
M.A., History, 1970, Stanford University.
B.A., History, cum laude, 1969, University of Chicago.
Judaism, Christianity and Islam; women's history; Jews in America; the Bible in history; European history.
Full Curriculum Vitae - (PDF)
Selected Professional Accomplishments
Caterpillar Foundation Faculty Achievement Award, Knox College, 1999.
National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship, 1997-1998.
Senior Fellow, Institute of The Advanced Study of Religions, University of Chicago, 1997-1998.
NEH Summer Seminar, "The Modern Jewish Renaissance," 1994.
NEH Summer Seminar, "Jewish-American Literature since 1945," 1990.
American Academy of Religion, Research Assistance Grant, 1990.
Sears-Roebuck Foundation Award for Teaching Excellence and Campus Leadership, first recipient, 1988.
Monticello College Foundation Fellowship for Women, first recipient, l979.
Making the Bible Modern: Re-making Jewish Identity for Children in Twentieth Century America. Cornell University Press, 2004.
The Chicago Guide to Your Academic Career: A Portable Mentor for Scholars from Graduate School through Tenure. Co-authored with John Goldsmith and John Komlos. University of Chicago Press, 2001.
Cultural Visions: Essays in the History of Culture. Co-edited with Benjamin Sax. Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2000.
The Lady and the Virgin: Image, Attitude, and Experience in Twelfth-Century France. University of Chicago Press, 1985.
"Giving Advice to Women in Academe: Where 'Ms. Mentor' Goes Wrong," The Chronicle of Higher Education, May 1, 1998, p. B7
"Lessons from a Small College Campus: Establishing a Gender-Equitable Family Leave Policy," The History Teacher 29:4 (1996): 14-19
"'A Teacher Is Either a Witness or a Stranger,'" in The Role of Advocacy in the Classroom, ed. Patricia Meyer Spacks (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1996), pp. 260-70
"Men Helping Women: A Monastic Case Study," Sociology of Religion 54 (1993): 43-63; reprinted in Gender and Religion, ed. William H. Swatos, Jr. (Rutgers, N.J.: Transaction Books, 1993)
Consultant on curriculum/program development 1984-present: Antioch College, Augustana College, Grinnell College, Rollins College, Rosary College, Susquehanna University, University of New Hampshire, Utah Valley State College.
Consultant-Evaluator, North Central Association, 1990-2003.
Editorial board, Shofar: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Jewish Studies, 1994-2005.
Midwest Jewish Studies Association : Executive Committee, 1993-2000; Vice-President, 1995-97; President, 1997-99.
Member, American Historical Association Task Force on Family Leave, 1994-97.
Campus & Community Involvement
Coordinator, Institutional Self-Study, 2008-09.
Elected Chair pro tem of the faculty, 1987-90, 2009-12.
Coordinator, Faculty Development Program, 2002-07.
Co-Chair, Religious Studies Program, 2010-.
Chair, History Department, 1994-99, 2000-02, 2006-08.
Chair, Women's Studies Program, 1986-96, 2000-05.
Faculty advisor, Hillel Club, 1987-2008.
What Students Say
"In historian's workshop class, Professor Gold challenged me to think critically about the process of historical research, and the very nature of what history is. The class encapsulated what I think is great about a Knox education: you're exposed to theories that break down preconceived notions about learning and knowledge, and then given tools to help build new foundations on a more thoughtful and critical level. Professor Gold's class opened a lot of doors for me, not just in the study of history, but in all aspects of critical thinking and learning."
- Steve Russell, History and Spanish Major