The School of Arts and Sciences
Full Name: Deborah Prescott
Professor of English
B.A., University of Utah; M.A., University of Utah; Ph.D., Oklahoma State University.
Dr. Prescott joined the faculty of the School of Arts and Sciences in 2006 after teaching three years in the MacArthur School of Leadership. Previously she taught at Oklahoma State University. She earned a Ph.D. from Oklahoma State in 1999, where her work in Holocaust literature was recognized with a Distinguished Graduate Research Fellowship. She graduated with an award for Graduate Research Excellence, an honor given to only one student's dissertation per semester in the Humanities. She earned her bachelor's and master's degrees in English at the University of Utah, where she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. Her scholarship centers on autobiographies written by Jewish survivors of the Holocaust; her particular interest is in texts wherein the author uses Scriptural to explicate his or her experience. In the fall of 2006, a collection of essays, Elie Wiesel and the Art of Storytelling, was published; included in that work was Dr. Prescott’s article, “Wrestling with Oblivion: Elie Wiesel’s Autobiographical Storytelling as Midrash.” Her essay, “‘We Must Carry On’: Striving to Preserve Domestic Normalcy in the Face of the Holocaust” is set to be published in the collection Women Living with War. Dr. Prescott’s conference papers are grounded in her Holocaust studies; she is presenting her “‘We Must Carry On’” essay at a special panel examining Women and War at Sarah Lawrence College. At the 2006 regional meeting of Christianity and Literature, her paper “‘It was Noah’s Ark all over again’: Genesis and Genocide in Jewish Holocaust Survivors’ Autobiographies” was in a three-way tie for best conference paper. Other papers presented at recent Christianity and Literature conferences include “‘Thinking Globally, Writing Locally’: Holocaust Imagery in Flannery O’Connor’s Short Fiction” and “‘Your Tears will keep your Soul Alive’:
Suffering and Faith during the Holocaust.” Her publications on Holocaust autobiographies include articles in a/b: Autobiographical Studies, Prose Studies, the Encyclopedia of Lifewriting, and the Encyclopedia of Women’s Autobiography. The United States Memorial Holocaust Museum invited Dr. Prescott along with nineteen other professors from across North America to attend a special seminar hosted by the museum. In January 2007, the twenty select professors gathered in Washington, D.C. to immerse themselves in a week-long study of Holocaust literature. The timing of the seminar was ideal, as Dr. Prescott returned to PBA to teach an upper-division class in that subject. Previously, she visited the Holocaust Museum through a grant that was partially funded by the Oklahoma Humanities Council. There, she examined in the archives survivors' unpublished narratives. Dr. Prescott is a faculty co-sponsor of the Newman Club. She volunteers at a monthly Catholic prison ministry service at the Palm Beach County Jail, and has enjoyed about 10 years of active prison ministry through the ecumenical group Kairos International. She also volunteers as a teacher in two locations; she guides adults in their study of women’s spiritual autobiographies at the Lantana Spiritual Life Retreat Center and she directs adults at the Center for Lifelong Learning in their deepening knowledge of Holocaust literature. In addition to her degrees in English, Dr. Prescott studied cinema at UCLA's film school. She has taken courses in religious studies at Perkins School of Theology in Dallas, as well as Kansas Newman University's extension campus in Oklahoma City. Widely traveled, she has had many opportunities to speak at community events in the United States, England, Malaysia and Russia.