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2022 Divisions & Themes

Help Shape Upcoming AJS Conferences: Call for Division Chairs

Questions? Email Mary Arnstein



The AJS Division provides the opportunity for submissions in the areas of professional development and field building. Because the AJS Division is intended for a distinct group of submissions that do not categorically fit into other academic divisions, the committee will only accept submissions that identify the AJS Division as its primary division. The program committee will review these proposals.

Professional development and field building

Program Committee

Pilot Division: Disability Studies

We welcome panels, roundtables, and individual papers that engage with all areas of Disability Studies. We seek submissions by scholars, activists, and artists involved in disability studies in all fields and periods, and we encourage multidisciplinary engagements. We invite presenters to explore the ways in which disability intersects with gender, race, sexuality, class, religion, and nationalism.

The Disability Studies Division welcomes proposals exploring real-life experiences of people living with disability, as well as written, visual, audio, and kinesthetic representation of disability. Possible topics may include disability justice, disability culture, ableism in the Jewish world, LGBTQ+ and disability, and Crip Judaism.

Gili Hammer & Ilana Szobel

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

Theory of gender/sexuality and critical race theory in the study of biblical literature and in the history of biblical interpretation; moving knowledge in biblical literature: including but not limited to studies of transmission (of text, object, knowledge, responsibility, etc.), inter-generational relationships, testament, prophecy, and communication between the living and the dead

David Lambert & Jacqueline Vayntrub

Gender and Sexuality Studies

The division seeks panels and papers grounded in women’s studies, feminist studies, Queer and LGBTQ+ studies, and related fields.

For the 2022 AJS we are particularly interested in work exploring the intersections between Jews, Judaism, gender, sexuality and the following topics: language and translation; presentation and performance; race and ethnicity; locality, nationalism, ethnonationalism, and violence; bodies, embodiment, ability, and age; illness, medicine, and healing; innovative methods in gender and sexuality research; and comparative queer perspectives. Interdisciplinary panels are especially encouraged as are panels with participants of different seniority, including graduate students.

We are also interested in different modalities of presentation, including performances, as well as lightning sessions and round tables. Please reach out to us if you are thinking about new types of panels or are searching for panel participants and respondents.

Karolina Krasuska & Marjorie Lehman

Holocaust Studies

The Holocaust Studies division encourages panels and individual papers informed by a variety of approaches, including microhistorical, comparative and interdisciplinary ones.

The role of gender, class and age, questions of agency during the Holocaust; geographies of the Holocaust; material culture, religious practice and daily life, literature, and art; the forensic turn; commemoration of the Holocaust and the politics of memory, museums, and popular culture; new forms of Holocaust denial and distortion; comparative genocides; methodological reflections, sources, archives, databases, and digital humanities.

Natalia Aleksiun & Hana Kubátová

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.


Sarit Kattan Gribetz

Israel Studies

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

The Israel Studies division welcomes innovative proposals on the histories, cultures, and societies of Israel or Israel/Palestine, including through local, comparative, or transnational perspectives. We encourage proposals examining the following themes: One State, Two States, Non-State: Debating Polities and Borders Past and Present; Immigration, Emigration, and Migration; Contemporary Popular Culture; Palestinians and Israel; New Perspectives on the Ottoman and Mandate Periods; Women, Gender, Sexuality, and the Family.

Elizabeth Imber & Geoffrey Levin

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.

We encourage proposals on any topic related to Jews and Judaism in Late Antiquity. Some possible topics could include: knowledge production and knowledge collection in antiquity; technology and technological change; food; social relations with Greeks, Romans, and Christians; memory; ancient art; material culture; social-economic processes.

Michal Bar-Asher Siegal & Gregg Gardner

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

Modern Jewish languages (e.g., Ladino, Judeo-Arabic, Yiddish, Jewish Russian, and more) - documentation, endangerment, and revitalization; Jewish languages in historical perspective; Jewish languages in educational settings; Jewish languages and gender

Renee Perelmutter

Jewish Mysticism

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

We encourage proposals on any topic related to the study of Jewish mysticism. Some possible topics could include: Kabbalah and book history; Kabbalah, Gender, and Sexuality; Kabbalah and Sephardi/Mizrahi Studies; Mythopoetic Approaches to Kabbalah; Psychoanalysis and Kabbalah; Sociological Approaches to Jewish Mysticism; Kabbalah and Race; Kabbalah and History; Kabbalah and Messianism; Manuscript Studies and Kabbalistic Sources; Prayer and Ritual in Jewish Mysticism; Kabbalah and non-Halakhic Practices; Kabbalah and Christianity.

Hartley Lachter

Jewish Politics

This division welcomes proposals that explore how Jews have thought and acted politically, in various geographical spaces and in various eras from the sixteenth to the twenty-first centuries. How has Judaism shaped, been shaped by, and challenged politics? What resources does Jewish studies have, as a field, for addressing the political?

Historical or contemporary Jewish political struggles; navigating Jewish power and powerlessness; Jewish political thought; Jewish political action and activism, politics of Jewish Studies

Samuel Brody & Meirav Jones

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

Jews, Film, and the Arts division invites submissions that are interdisciplinary in nature, located at the intersection of the study of the arts (visual arts, music, film, theater, dance, multi-modal productions, etc.) and Jewish studies. Specifically, we are interested in engagements with Jewish thought and the arts, including Jewish thought, environment, and performance. We welcome submissions of all types of sessions, but specific to this division, we encourage submissions of the Performance/Scholarship format. This new format includes the actual cultural producers—artists, filmmakers, performers—in an interaction with scholars studying their work.

Olga Gershenson

Medieval and Early Modern Jewish History, Literature, and Culture

We welcome proposals that focus on all aspects of Jewish history, literature, and culture in the medieval and early modern Christian and Islamicate world and their broader contexts.

We encourage proposals on Jews and Judaism in the Middle Ages and Early Modernity. We are particularly interested in sessions that focus on transregional networks, mobility and migration, the history of emotions, race, gender, and big data. We additionally welcome comparative proposals, and we hope to include a “new frontiers” session showcasing new methodologies and theoretical applications.

Phillip Ackerman-Lieberman & Francesca Bregoli

Medieval Jewish Philosophy

Jewish philosophy and thought, including science and medicine, in the medieval period

Literary Genres and Philosophy; The Social Context of Philosophical Activity; Philosophy and Medical Theory; Ethics; Solomon Ibn Gabirol; the Soul.

Guadalupe González Diéguez & Maud Kozodoy

Modern Hebrew Literature

Modern Hebrew Literature and Culture since the Haskalah to the present

We encourage submissions in any area of Hebrew literature and culture. This year we especially encourage submissions on pedagogical and ethical challenges and considerations for teaching Amos Oz today; new genres in Hebrew culture including micro fiction, performance poetry, youtube videos, autofiction and memoir; digital humanities in Hebrew; science fiction and cli-fi; and contemporary Hebrew culture outside Israel.

Rachel Harris

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.

Modern Jewish history in national, transnational, or comparative context. Immigration, migration, and mobility, borders and borderlands. Antisemitism and Jewish responses to authoritarianism.

Daniella Doron & Paul Lerner

Modern Jewish History in the Americas

This division seeks proposals that deal with aspects of Jewish life in the Americas

This division welcomes any proposals that address Jewish life in the Americas, broadly defined. In particular, as 2022 marks both the 50th anniversary of Sally Priesand’s ordination and the 100th anniversary of Judith Kaplan’s bat mitzvah, this division welcomes proposals on those events, as well as others that focus on women in the Americas. We additionally welcome proposals thinking about the Caribbean turn in Jewish Studies, and engaging the non-US parts of the Americas. Proposals on material religion and culture, and proposals addressing space, place and regionality are also encouraged.

Jennifer Caplan & Laura Yares

Modern Jewish Literature and Culture

Interdisciplinary and comparative approaches to literature from the vantage point of contemporary Jewish culture. An emphasis on voices and media from the margins.

The Division in Modern Jewish Literature and Culture seeks papers on issues pertaining to literature and minority experience. How do marginalized voices transform our conceptions of modern Jewish culture? What relationships do we see between Jews and other minority or marginalized communities? How is contemporary Jewish experience informed by discourses of migration and circulation? What constitutes the “Jewish” in Jewish culture? How do literature and other media serve as the locus of Jewish religious practice in contemporary Jewish cultures?

Sheila Jelen & Allison Schachter

Modern Jewish Thought and Theology

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

The Modern Jewish Thought and Theology division encourages papers and panels offering new theoretical perspectives (e.g., affect theory) on canonical materials; addressing the work of figures from less-studied areas such as Eastern Europe and the Middle East; emerging from interdisciplinary lenses such as religion and economics; reflecting upon the relationship between scholar and material.

Robert Erlewine & Claire Sufrin

Pedagogy and Professional Practice

The Pedagogy and Professional Practice Division seeks proposals on issues or themes relevant to the theory and practice of teaching within Jewish Studies.

The division generates scholarly conversation about teaching in the classroom, curriculum development, and the study of teaching and learning.

The division generates scholarly conversation about teaching in the classroom, curriculum development, and the study of teaching and learning.

Research in the scholarship of teaching and learning, teaching a particular text or subject in Jewish Studies, issues of identity in Jewish Studies classrooms, technologies and practices in the classroom, language pedagogy.

Sarah Zarrow

Rabbinic Literature and Culture

The Rabbinic Literature and Culture division seeks various types of submissions (papers, panels, method workshops (in pedagogy or research), roundtables, seminars) that foreground the texts produced by the rabbis who were active between the first and eighth centuries CE.

Text critical interpretation of local and global phenomena in one or several rabbinic works; methodological reflections; comparative study; reception history; rabbinics pedagogy; critical interventions from race studies, gender studies, animal studies, disability studies and other theoretical discourses; history of the book; historiography of the field; rabbinics and digital humanities.

Mira Wasserman & Barry Wimpfheimer

Sephardi/Mizrahi Studies

The Sephardi-Mizrahi Studies Division welcomes proposals that explore all aspects of the histories, cultures, languages, politics, literary and intellectual creation, social formations, class dynamics, racial configurations, religious practices, arts and music, and diverse expressions of gender, sexuality, and disability among Sephardic and Mizrahi Jews.

This year, we are especially interested in panel submissions that: explore, interrogate, or challenge the meanings associated with terms like “Sephardi,” “Mizrahi,” and other related categories like “Ashkenazi;” that situate Sephardi and Mizrahi Jews in conversation with each other, with other Jewish communities, and with neighboring societies and states; that seek to integrate, incorporate, or normalize Sephardi/Mizrahi studies within the broader context of Jewish Studies; or that challenge, revise, or overturn dominant narratives and scholarly paradigms in Jewish Studies by centering the perspectives and experiences of Sephardi and Mizrahi Jews.

Yaron Ayalon & Devi Mays

Social Science

Social science approaches to global and transnational Jewish communities, including but not limited to sociology, anthropology, religious studies, sociolinguistics, communication and media studies, gender/sexuality studies, science and technology studies, political science, social psychology, with a special emphasis on ethnography.

The social science division welcomes proposals that engage intersectional approaches to Jewish communities in their wider cultural and political contexts. Proposals engaging with social theory, lived religion approaches, and marginalized communities are especially encouraged.

Orit Avishai & Ayala Fader

Yiddish Studies

Yiddish studies; Yiddish literature and its history; Yiddish culture

This year, we are especially interested in papers and panels that explore: Yiddish archives and institutions; Yiddish aesthetics; Yiddish, gender, and the canon; Yiddish engagements with theories of ethnicity and race.

Sunny Yudkoff