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The Past, Present, and Future of American Jewish Studies

Mon, December 17, 1:15 to 2:45pm, Seaport Hotel & World Trade Center, Harborview 2 Ballroom

Session Submission Type: Roundtable


Where does the study of American Jews fit within Jewish Studies, within other disciplines, and within the academy as a whole? A recent development is the establishment, at several universities, of chairs, positions, and programs in “American Jewish Studies,” which engage scholars who have trained in a wide variety of disciplines (including history, religious studies, literature, anthropology, political science, and so on), and often publish in journals at least seemingly segmented by discipline (for example, AMERICAN JEWISH HISTORY and STUDIES IN AMERICAN JEWISH LITERATURE). Inspired by the AJS’s “50 and Forward” division, this roundtable proposes a wide-ranging discussion of the disciplinary and institutional contours of American Jewish Studies in the past, present, and future.

Discussants will approach these questions from a variety of perspectives: Deborah Dash Moore, as a historian who has taught at a SLAC and led a Jewish Studies institute a major research university; Kate Rosenblatt, as a recent PhD in history and current visiting assistant professor; Ari Y. Kelman, as a scholar of interdisciplinary American Jewish Studies whose current work in Jewish education engages social science approaches; Rachel Gordan, as a religious history PhD with experience at many different institutions who works between history and literary studies; and Samantha Baskind, as a distinguished art historian and editor of an academic book series. The panel will be moderated by Josh Lambert, a literary scholar and cultural historian employed in a nontraditional academic institution.

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