Rivka Maizlish

Email: maizlish@wisc.edu

Advisor: Jennifer Ratner-Rosenhagen

Rivka Maizlish


I study U.S. intellectual and cultural history, and am most interested in democratic theory and cultural forms of political dissent in the nineteenth and twentieth century. I have written about the canon-formation of the American Renaissance, the eighteenth-century New England Puritans, intellectuals in the Cold War, and Jewish identity in American popular music. My dissertation explores dramatic debates that took place from the late nineteenth century to the mid 1960s over the meaning of folk, and over the value of reviving folk music and studying folklore in democratic society. Future projects will involve the connection between the Beat and Folk literary movements in the 1940s, 50s, and 60s. My writing can be found on the U.S. Intellectual History Society blog.


M.A., University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2013
B.A., Brandeis University, 2010


  • U.S./North American History

MA Title

  • “‘Repossessing the Past’: Perry Miller’s American Renaissance”

Working Dissertation Title

  • “To Arrange and Rearrange: The Eighty Year Project of American Folk”


  • 2018-2019 Smithsonian Institute Predoctoral Fellowship with the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, Washington, DC
  • 2018 Woody Guthrie Fellow at the Woody Guthrie Center, Tulsa, OK
  • Briscoe Center for American History at UT Austin, Smith Travel Grant, 2014
  • Creative Teaching Award, History Department, Spring 2013
  • Honored Instructor Award, Spring 2012, Spring 2013, Spring 2014
  • Fall 2013 Phillip Loring Allen Fellowship, awarded to one incoming graduate student, UW-Madison, 2010
  • University Fellowship, UW-Madison, five-year fellowship awarded Fall 2010
  • Phi Beta Kappa, inducted Spring 2010

Courses Taught as TA

  • History 101 – U.S. History from Contact to 1865
  • History 102 – U.S History from 1865 to the Present
  • History 201 – Your Parents’ Generation: U.S Intellectual History in the 1970s and 1980s
  • History 213 – Jews in American Popular Culture
  • History 219 – The American Jewish Experience
  • History 393 – The American Civil War Era