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Transnational potentials in (American) Jewish studies and its various subfields

Mon, December 17, 3:00 to 4:30pm, Seaport Hotel & World Trade Center, Harborview 2 Ballroom

Session Submission Type: Lightning Session

Abstract

The academic discipline of Jewish Studies has not always been as transnational as its subject, the Jewish experience. Even where scholarship has taken into account the multilayered entanglements of people, institutions, objects, and ideas among various Jewries, it has not always reflected on the meaning of the transnational turn for Jewish studies. Some scholarship on the American Jewish experience has been shaped by an American (Jewish) exceptionalism that has prevented a stronger focus on its transnational dimension, particularly the multidirectional movements by which American Jewry has been connected with European Jewry. Scholarship on European Jewries, in turn, has mostly been disinterested in its many connections North America.
The transnational turn, its theoretical considerations and studies in the larger fields of history and the social sciences have created a new interest in exploring the potential of transnational perspectives for Jewish Studies. The aim of this panel is to spark collegial exchanges about topics that would benefit from theoretical and practical considerations of transnational research and collaboration. It asks how the theoretical and methodological considerations of the transnational approach, by now an established (if contested) paradigm, can be linked to existing and future research in the field of Jewish history.
Presenters will offer reflections and suggestions on these questions for various thematic subfields of Jewish Studies: migration, Jewish politics, gender, cultural transfer, philanthropy, and religious education. The session is designed to also foster the further development of a loose network of European and American scholars in Jewish studies who are cooperating in research projects that incorporate theoretical and methodological considerations of the transnational approach. The short presentations will offer a fresh look at the connections, entanglements, and transfers that transcend both national frameworks shaping the Jewish experience, and boundaries between academic cultures in the international field of Jewish Studies.

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