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Reaching Beyond the Academy

Tue, December 18, 10:15 to 11:45am, Seaport Hotel & World Trade Center, Beacon Hill 2 & 3

Session Submission Type: Roundtable

Abstract

This roundtable brings together six scholars from a variety of disciplines and at various career stages to discuss the role of social media engagement and op-ed writing in Jewish Studies. All of us (Chaya Halberstam, Rachel Harris, Shaul Magid, Helene Meyers, Elliot Ratzman, Joshua Shanes and Mira Sucharov) are either active on social media in various ongoing debates related to Jewish Studies concerns — including Jewish politics, religious studies, Jewish history, race and antisemitism, Israel studies and the dynamics of Israel-Palestine — or have published in more formal public-commentary venues through blogs, features and op-eds, or both.

Through the roundtable format, we will address the following questions:

In what ways can op-ed writing and social media be a vehicle for amplifying research and informed opinion to the non-academic world?

How can we best train students to use social media judiciously and to write strong op-eds?

What benefits (or drawbacks) are there to encouraging students to write for a general public?

In what ways have social media helped or hindered collaborative research?

What does it mean to “do” Jewish Studies through digital domains — whether through more open forums like Twitter or the conventional Facebook feed, or through more private social media groups that are invitation only?

What risks and opportunities does public commentary — including op-eds and social media — present for employment prospects, tenure concerns and everyday collegiality?

What are some of the emotional and intellectual effects of going public through digital forums? How do we navigate shifting stores of intellectual and social capital among our peers and even among our friends and family — particularly given what is a common (though not exclusive or universal) overlap between communal identity and scholarly concerns when it comes to Jewish Studies?

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