Samuel Spinner received his BA from Johns Hopkins University and his PhD from Columbia University in 2012. From 2012 to 2014, he was the Ross Visiting Assistant Professor of Yiddish and Jewish Studies in the Department of Germanic Languages at the University of California, Los Angeles. From 2014-2017 he was a postdoctoral fellow at Hopkins.
His research and teaching encompass Yiddish and German-Jewish literature and culture from the 19th century to the present. His interests include modernism; the history of anthropology; museum studies; visual culture; and Holocaust studies.
His book Jewish Primitivism was published by Stanford University Press in July 2021. Jewish Primitivism examines the relations of literary, visual, and ethnographic understandings of Jewish identity and aesthetics in modern Europe, locating points of contact with broader modernist discourses of identity.
His next book, tentatively titled Monuments of Words: Books and Holocaust Memory, explores the aesthetics of monumentality in literature in relation to Holocaust representation and remembrance. He has also worked on early modern Jewish culture, and translated one of the first books written by a Jewish woman—the 16th century Yiddish ethical text Meneket Rivkah, published by JPS (2009).