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2019 Divisions & Themes



The AJS division provides the opportunity for submissions in the areas of Professional Development and Digital Humanities. The Program Committee will review these proposals.

Professional Development; Digital Humanities

Program Committee

Bible and the History of Biblical Interpretation

Literature of the Bible; world of the Bible; early post-Biblical literature (Apocrypha, Pseudepigrapha, Dead Sea Scrolls); interpretation of the Bible from antiquity to modern times; all areas of critical biblical scholarship and history of interpretation

The Bible and Material Presentation; The Bible and Ancient Greek Literature; Translating the Bible for the Public

Yitzhak Berger & Jonathan Kaplan

Gender and Sexuality Studies:
The 2019 Wild Card Division

We welcome panels and papers that intersect broadly with issues of gender and sexuality, including work that engages with the fields of women’s studies, queer studies, trans studies, and LGBTQ studies.  We particularly encourage multidisciplinary work that crosses methodological, historical, and regional boundaries.

Art and performance; reconsidering canonical texts through the lens of gender and sexuality; Jewish politics of creating and naming families; the #metoo movement; queer Jewish ritual; dynamics of power and oppression; emotional and affective dimensions of Jewish sexuality.

Jenny Caplan & Rachel Kranson

Holocaust Studies

The Holocaust Studies division encourages individual papers and panels informed by comparative and interdisciplinary approaches.

Reassessing prior studies of collective and individual memories of the Holocaust and the field of Memory Studies overall as it pertains to the Holocaust; Analyzing Jewish self-help or rescue efforts, apart from armed resistance, to save Jews; Examining Jewish witness testimony at postwar trials of Nazis and their collaborators; and Looking for similarities and differences between the Holocaust and other genocides or mass atrocities.

Gabriel Finder

Interdisciplinary, Theoretical, and New Approaches

This division welcomes proposals that cross geographical, chronological, and disciplinary boundaries; considers theoretical approaches; and new methodologies in Jewish Studies.


Laura LieberDavid Shneer

Israel Studies

Multi- and interdisciplinary studies of Israeli society, culture, and politics

Comparative or transnational perspectives on the histories, cultures, societies, politics of Israel/Palestine; or on variants of Zionist ideology; The Green Line at 70: Borders and Boundaries, Both Present and Absent; Immigration, emigration, and the meanings of place; In what ways is (or isn’t) Israel Jewish?: Jewish Studies Perspectives on Israel

Liora Halperin

Jewish History and Culture in Antiquity

This division examines the history and culture of the Jews and Judaism in the Persian, Greco-Roman, and Byzantine periods (from the sixth century B.C.E. through seventh century C.E.). We invite scholars to think about the larger historiographic and cultural contexts in which we write and interpret the Jewish past.


Gregg Gardner & Annette Reed

Jewish Languages and Linguistics from Antiquity to the Present

Linguistic, semiotic, or philological studies of Hebrew, Yiddish, and other Jewish languages; language instruction in Hebrew, Yiddish, other Jewish languages

Endangered Jewish language varieties (e.g., Ladino, Judeo-Arabic, Judeo-Tat, Jewish Malayalam): Shift and postvernacularity; Developing Jewish language varieties (e.g., Jewish English, Jewish Latin American Spanish, Jewish Russian): Variation and change; Hebrew and Diaspora languages: Mutual influence

Sarah Bunin Benor

Jewish Mysticism

Literature, history, and phenomenology of Jewish mysticism in all periods

Kabbalah and the Arts; Psychological Approaches to Mysticism; Mysticism and the Mitzvot; Mysticism as Literature; Modes of Theology in Jewish Mysticism; Identity, Gender, and Sexuality; Mystical Circles and their Social-Historical Dynamics; Dimensions of the Sacred: Time, Space, Person, Book

Eitan Fishbane

Jewish Politics

This division investigates how Jewish identity has been mobilized and deployed in historical and contemporary political debates and struggles; how contemporary politics in various geographical spaces and in various eras have, and do, shape Jewish identity; and how the profession of Jewish Studies contends with politics, particularly around questions of identity, loyalty, and dissent.

Historical or contemporary Jewish political struggles; Navigating Jewish power and powerlessness; Jewish political theory; Politics of Jewish Studies

Joshua Shanes & Mira Sucharov

Jews, Film, and the Arts

Representation of Judaism and Jews in visual art, film, media, music, theater, and dance; the role of the arts in Jewish history and civilization; Jewish cultural production

Israeli Theatre, Ethnicity/race and Jewish/Hebrew/Israeli Theatre; The Old Testament in the Arts and Film of the 20th Century; Using the Arts in Jewish Studies Pedagogy; Jewish Americans in Music, broadly defined; Shami/Maghribi Jewish-Muslim Interaction in early 20th Century Pop Culture; Expressing/Picturing Jewishness in Modern Art; Queerness and “Passing”; Modern Children’s Literature and Culture; Jewish Beauties and Movie Stardom; Abandoning Representations; Representational Methodologies and their Disservice to the Study of Jewish and the Arts.

Olga Gershenson

Medieval and Early Modern Jewish History, Literature, and Culture

Jewish history in Muslim and Christian realms; Jewish literatures including but not limited to belles lettres, piyyut, and exegesis; medieval and early modern Jewish art, artifacts, and architecture


Eve Krakowski & David Shyovitz

Medieval Jewish Philosophy

Jewish philosophy and its history in medieval and late medieval times

Maimonides in the 21st century: New intellectual biographies; Friendship and love in medieval Jewish philosophy; Animals in medieval Jewish philosophy: real and imagined

Hava Tirosh-Samuelson

Modern Hebrew Literature

Hebrew literature from the Haskalah on, including contemporary Israeli literature

We would like to encourage expansive comparative and interdisciplinary approaches to modern Hebrew literature. Such approaches might consider how Hebrew literature engages with other literary traditions or other disciplines through, for example: Translation to and from Hebrew; Specific theoretical paradigms, such as Disability Studies, Queer Theory, the Post-Human; Interaction with languages and/or literary traditions not usually associated with Hebrew culture; The dialogue between Hebrew literature and extra-literary factors such as economics, the environment, or medicine

Karen Grumberg

Modern Jewish History in Europe, Asia, Israel, and Other Communities

The Modern Jewish History in Europe, Asia, Israel, and Other Communities division welcomes papers and panels that present case studies of individual Jewish communities in these regions, or that adopt comparative approaches to shed new light on methodological or theoretical themes.

Jewish life in War and It Aftermath; 1919: Revolutions, Anti-Semitism, Nationalism and the Birth of the Judeo-Bolshevik Myth"; Refugees, Migration and Movements [in honor of 80th anniversary of 1939]

John Efron & Rebecca Kobrin

Modern Jewish History in the Americas

This division seeks proposals that deal with some aspect of Jewish history in the Americas.

Explore American Jews & race; Engage in conversation with neighboring fields such as American history and modern Jewish history; Offer alternative ways of understanding geography and movement.

Mike Cohen & Sarah Imhoff

Modern Jewish Literature and Culture

American Jewish literature; European Jewish literature; modern Sephardic literature; and their cultural contexts

Migration; Hybridity; Antisemitism

Amelia Glaser & Kerry Wallach

Modern Jewish Thought and Theology

Jewish philosophy and thought in modern times; modern Jewish religious movements

How recent historical scholarship affects constructs of Jewish theological understanding; Jewish theological dialogue with Shi’ism; How feminist theory has altered and will continue to alter Jewish self-understanding; Race and Jewish ethics; Jewish thought in the constructs of the new media; Racism and anti-racism in Zionist thought; Varieties of Hareidi theology; Religious quest and religious subjectivity in modern Jewish thought; The role of the prophets in American and Israeli Jewish thought; Challenges to Jewish thought from disability studies, feminist theory, critical race theory

Susannah Heschel

Pedagogy and Professional Practice

The pedagogy division seeks individual papers, panels, or roundtable sessions on issues or themes relevant to the theory and practice of teaching Jewish Studies. The pedagogy division is broad in conception and hopes to generate scholarly conversation about teaching both as it relates to the classroom and to questions of curriculum development in the field of Jewish Studies. For example, we welcome proposals about such issues as: identity in the Jewish Studies classroom, both that of teachers and as students; the "flipped classroom"; "hevruta study" and other teaching technologies in a Jewish Studies classroom; language requirements and the Jewish Studies program; teaching autobiography; teaching Israel, etc.

Integrating Sephardi/Mizrahi culture and history into Jewish Studies courses; Bringing Jewish Studies content into general studies courses; Undisciplined classrooms:  integrating materials from other disciplines (eg using literature/film/art in history courses; social science perspectives in literature courses, etc.); Teaching Sutzkever

Sara Horowitz

Rabbinic Literature and Culture

We encourage the submission of papers in the following areas: Talmudic Law, Midrash, Aggadah as well as analyses of Rabbinic texts from the end of the Second Temple through the time of the Geonim. Please note: this division is historically delineated. It recognizes that some proposals may touch on aspects of the Second Temple period and/or medieval Jewry, but submissions that focus primarily on the Second Temple period or the medieval era or later should be submitted to other divisions. Please contact the Division Chairs for recommendations of appropriate placement.

Biblical interpretation and commentary; Rabbinic literature and norm-making practices.  Under this rubric we envision papers concerned with the rabbis as norm-makers in their historical context but also papers concerned with classical rabbinic literature as a contemporary source of normativity in relation to other contemporary norm-making practices like literature and Jewish ethics.

Charlotte Fonrobert & Tzvi Novick

Sephardi/Mizrahi Studies

The Sephardi/Mizrahi Studies division seeks submissions that are area specific and interdisciplinary on the history and culture of Sephardi and Mizrahi Jewry. The division also encourages scholars to propose sessions that bring together junior and senior faculty.

Panels that reflect on the centenary of 1919 in the Sephardi and Mizrahi worlds, including the impact of the end of World War I, the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire, the Paris Peace conference, the implementation of the League of Nations' minorities treaties and mandate system, and the resultant out migrations and establishment of new diasporas; Panels that highlight the convergences and divergences among "Sephardi" and "Mizrahi" histories, cultures, identities, religious practices, languages, literatures, philosophies, politics, class dynamics, gender and sexuality, etc. across geography and chronological periodization; Panels that explore the integration of Sephardi and Mizrahi experiences and scholarship into the broader field of Jewish Studies as well as the pitfalls and the benefits of such an integrative approach from the perspective of scholarship and pedagogy

Adriana Brodsky & Devin Naar

Social Science

Sociology, anthropology, folklore, political science, and social psychology as applied to Jewish communities


Helen Kim & Bruce Phillips

Yiddish Studies

Yiddish literature and its history

Yiddish and Jewish Humor; Yiddish and Hebrew; Yiddish and Translation; Sholem Aleichem in Fiction and Film

Ken Frieden