Rebecca Mark, an English professor and poet, was born in Alexandria, Virginia, and grew up in the Washington, DC, area. She attended SUNY Purchase in New York before earning her Ph.D. in English Literature from Stanford University. After teaching at St. Olaf College in Minnesota, Mark accepted a position at Tulane University, where she co-founded the Deep South Regional Humanities Center and teaches Southern literature. Mark is currently serving as the interim director of the Newcomb College Institute at Tulane University. She has authored several books on the subject, including The Dragon's Blood: Feminist Intertextuality in Eudora Welty's Fiction. Mark is a member of Touro Synagogue and is actively involved with the New Orleans Jewish Community Center.
Rebecca discusses her family background and childhood in the Washington, DC, area. Members of her extended family survived the Holocaust. Her father, an Orthodox Jew, rejected Judaism and organized religion, so she was not practicing Judaism until she was away at SUNY Purchase in New York. Rebecca talks about being introduced to and intrigued by the feminist re-writing of the Haggadah and became more connoted to Jewish women's communities. She shares her research interests in Southern literature and traces her career path as a professor, now teaching at Tulane University and directing the university's Newcomb College Institute. Rebecca talks about her sexual identity and orientation as a lesbian, co-parenting her son Ben with a gay couple, who she is raising Jewish, and their involvement with Touro Synagogue in New Orleans. Rebecca recounts her experience of Hurricane Katrina, evacuating to Alabama, confronting prejudice against homosexuals, struggling to find housing, and eventually settling with her family in Alexandria, Virginia. She remembers returning to New Orleans and witnessing the loss and devastation to her community. Finally, Rebecca reflects on her Judaism, activism, and the caring Jewish community in the South.