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AJS Perspectives

Call for Papers: The Protest Issue

Editors: Chaya Halberstam & Mira Sucharov

The deadline for submissions has passed.

The Spring 2021 issue of AJS Perspectives is called The Protest Issue.

Related etymologically to the word testimony, “protest” implies a public act of bearing witness to a perceived injustice when ordinary means to enact change are out of reach.

Recent years have seen the rise of street protests across North America and the world, demanding an end to systemic racism and calling for oppressive or ineffective leaders to step down. For the Protest Issue, we seek essays that identify, recover, or critique acts of protest in Jewish history, politics, art, and literature. Is there a “Jewish” form of protest, honed through centuries of living as a minority? When have individuals and groups been more or less successful in their attempts at protest vis-a-vis dominant powers? How have groups enacted protest on behalf of their own communities or in solidarity with others? When have Jews or Jewish institutions been the target of protest? Which cultural artifacts, episodes, or modes of expression can be seen as acts of protest in themselves?

In our section on the profession, we seek essays that describe or appraise the various kinds of activism and protest that are taking place in or around our field. What is the role of academic activism and protest, and what should it be? How do academic boycotts, especially around Israel, affect Jewish Studies as a field, specific Jewish Studies departments, or individual Jewish studies scholars? How does the perception of “cancel culture” affect the contemporary scholarly enterprise? How has protest, as an alternative or accompaniment to official complaints, functioned as a response to widespread harassment? How are exploitative labour practices protested, and how do current conditions of employment in various corners of the academy shape the possibility or efficacy of protest?

In our section on pedagogy, we seek reflections on how protest and activism factors into our teaching, and how we contend with student activism even when it manifests as protest against us. How can we best come to terms with the current moment in helping our students become ethical global citizens?

We particularly encourage creative, narrative, or other non-standard academic forms of writing, including submissions of annotated texts, first-person reflections, immersive non-fiction, teaching case studies, photo essays, mixed media submissions, infographics, art, etc.

Completed essays should be approximately 1,000 words. We invite pitches/abstracts of up to 250 words to be submitted via Google Forms.

We aim to promote a diversity of voices including career stage, geographical location, gender, religion, race, sexuality, and ability. As such, you are invited to include relevant aspects of whatever subjectivity or positionality may inform your writing.

Deadline for abstracts/pitches: September 15, 2020

Decisions on pitches will be made by early October, and completed essays will be due by December 1.

Questions? Contact the editors (Chaya Halberstam and Mira Sucharov) at

Note that prospective authors will also be required to submit a writing sample (or a sample introductory paragraph) showing facility with writing in a clear and engaging way for a non-specialist audience.