Nancy K. Miller

Nancy K. Miller headshot faculty

Research Interests

  • Contemporary autobiography and autobiography theory
  • women's writing (American and French)
  • 20th-century cultural history, after 1945
  • feminist theory


  • Ph.D., Columbia University

Nancy K. Miller is the author or editor of more than a dozen books, most recently What They Saved: Pieces of a Jewish Past, winner of the Jewish Journal Prize for 2012, and the story of a quest to recreate her family’s lost history. A well-known feminist scholar, Miller has published family memoirs, personal essays, and literary criticism. As a distinguished professor at the Graduate Center since 1988, she teaches classes in memoir, the graphic novel, and women’s studies. She also lectures widely, both nationally and internationally, and her work is anthologized in popular volumes on autobiography and collections of feminist essays. She coedits the Gender and Culture series at Columbia University Press, which she cofounded in 1983 with the late Carolyn Heilbrun.
Miller earned her B.A. from Barnard College, an M.A. from Middlebury Graduate School of French in France, a Licence ès Lettres in English studies from the University of Paris in 1965, and a Ph.D. in French literature from Columbia University in 1974. Miller’s second memoir, Breathless: An American Girl in Paris, which addresses her “sentimental education” as a master’s student in Paris, is forthcoming (Seal Press, 2013).

Selected Publications:

  • Breathless: An American Girl in Paris (2013)
  • What They Saved: Pieces of a Jewish Past. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press, 2011.
  • Rites of Return: Diaspora Poetics and the Politics of Memory. New York: Columbia University Press, 2011.
  • Picturing Atrocity: Photography in a Crisis. London: Reaktion Books, 2012.
  • Bequest and Betrayal: Memoirs of a Parent's Death. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1996.
  • Getting Personal: Feminist Occasions and Other Autobiographical Acts. New York: Routledge, 1991.
  • The Poetics of Gender. New York: Columbia University Press, 1986.

recent courses:

  • Memoir/Illness/Graphic/Grief (Fall 2023)
  • Ugly Feelings: Women Writing the Relational (Spring 2023)
  • Women Writing Witness (Fall 2022)
  • 20th and 21st-Century Women Writers and Intellectuals: Genre, Style, Nation (Spring 2022)
  • Post/Modern Memoir (Fall 2021)
  • Memoir/Illness/Graphic/Grief (Spring 2021)
  • Dissertation Workshop (Fall 2020)