Department of English

University of Toronto

Most, Andrea

Andrea Most
Professor of English, American Literature and Jewish Studies, University of Toronto St. George 
AMostOffice Phone: 416-946-0828
Office Location: Jackman Humanities Building, 170 St. George Street, Room 827
Office Hours and/or Leave Status: Wednesdays 2:00pm-3:30pm
Faculty Bookshelf

Teaching and Research Interests: 20th Century and Contemporary American Literature; Jewish Literature and Culture; American Popular Culture and Drama; Ecocriticism and Environmental Literature; Food literature 
B.A. (Yale), M.A. (Brandeis), Ph.D. (Brandeis)

Andrea Most is Professor of American Literature, Environmental Studies, and Jewish Studies in the Department of English at the University of Toronto and is affiliated with the Centre for Jewish Studies, the School of the Environment, the Department for the Study of Religion, the Centre for the Study of the United States and the Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies. Committed to breaking down divisions between scholarship and public life, research and teaching, mind and body, nature and culture, Prof. Most teaches experiential courses on food and environmental literature, conducts multidisciplinary community-engaged research, and speaks widely on the local food and environmental movements.  Prof. Most was recognized for her groundbreaking teaching with the Northrop Frye Award (2016) and for her community work with the 2022 Ludwig and Estelle Jus Human Rights Influential Leader Prize.

Prof. Most directs a SSHRC-funded research initiative, The Persephone Project, which collects and re-imagines stories, rituals and practices rooted in the rhythms of the earth that can help us to restore balance to the land that sustains us and the communities that call it home.  She is co-founder and Creative Director of Bela Farm, a 99-acre site for experimental agriculture, art, performance, education, and advocacy around urgent environmental issues, where she teaches experiential graduate seminars and conducts much of her land-based research. Currently, Prof. Most and her community research partners are in the first phase of a new collaborative endeavor, In a Beginning, a Jewish Studies / Environmental Humanities research project which will result in a multi-media ecocritical translation of the biblical creation myths in Genesis 1-3, providing scholars, students, community organizations, and activists with a cultural tool for meeting ongoing environmental crisis.

From the beginning of her career, Prof. Most's writing has broken new ground. Her first book, Making Americans: Jews and the Broadway Musical (Harvard, 2004) began an ongoing conversation about the ethnic and racial dynamics of the musical theatre and won the MLA/Kurt Weill Prize for the best book in Music Theater. Her second book, Theatrical Liberalism: Jews and Popular Entertainment in America (NYU, 2013) was a finalist for a National Jewish Book Award. Prof. Most's new book project, A Pain in the Neck, draws on findings from the Persephone Project to tell a deeply personal story about how climate change and the discovery of the human microbiome are transforming the way we think about - and write -- our lives.

Faculty Bookshelf
Theatrical Liberalism: Jews and Popular Entertainment in America. New York University Press, 2013.

Making Americans: Jews and the Broadway Musical. Harvard University Press, 2004.

Selected articles
“A Pain in the Neck and Permacultural Subjectivity.” In Perma/Culture: Imagining Alternatives in an Age of Crisis. Molly Wallace and David Carruthers, eds. Routledge, 2017.

“The Contemporary Jewish Food Movement in North America: A Report from the Field(s)” in Jews and Their Foodways. Anat Helman, ed. Studies in Contemporary Jewry, Oxford University Press, 30 November 2015.

"To Be (Or Not To Be): Ernst Lubitsch’s Irrepressible Theatrical Liberalism.” In The Public Intellectual and the Culture of Hope. Joel Faflak and Jason Haslam, ed. University of Toronto Press. 2013

“A Place For Us: Theatrical Liberalism and West Side Story.” Shakespeare / Adaptation / Modern Drama: Essays in Honour of Jill Levenson. Randall Martin and Katherine Scheil, eds. University of Toronto Press, 2011.

“The Birth of Theatrical Liberalism.” In After Pluralism: Re-Imagining Models of Religious Engagement. Courtney Bender and Pamela Klassen, eds. Columbia University Press, 2010. 30 pgs.

“Opening the Windshield: Death of a Salesman and Theatrical Liberalism.” Modern Drama 50.4 (2007): 551-573.

“’You’ve Got to Be Carefully Taught’: The Politics of Race in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s South Pacific.” Theatre Journal 52 (2000): 307-337. Winner of the ATHE Essay in Criticism Award.

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We wish to acknowledge this land on which the University of Toronto operates. For thousands of years it has been the traditional land of the Huron-Wendat, the Seneca, and the Mississaugas of the Credit. Today, this meeting place is still the home to many Indigenous people from across Turtle Island and we are grateful to have the opportunity to work on this land.