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Who’s Afraid of Numbers? Jewish Studies and the Prospects of Digital Humanities

Mon, December 17, 5:00 to 6:30pm, Seaport Hotel & World Trade Center, Cambridge 2

Session Submission Type: Panel Session


The panel explores the prospects of Digital Humanities (DH) for the academic study of Judaism in various historical and disciplinal context. Over the last two decades DH theories, practices and tools expanded considerably and as consequence new scholarly opportunities emerged. At the same time, the rapid expansion of DH and its quantitative approach raise questions and debates, theoretical and practical, concerning its usefulness and appropriateness to the Humanities.
The purpose of this panel is to provide a critical assessment of DH in the context of Jewish Studies. The panels include three lectures that touch upon these questions in three different time periods and disciplines: Michael Satlow (Brown University) focuses on Late Antiquity through the lens of textual and material research using digital tools, Irene Zwiep (Amsterdam University) discusses a DH project dedicated to the cultural investigation of late medieval and early modern prayer books and Zef Segal (The Open University of Israel) examines, using network analysis techniques, Jewish journalism at the end of the nineteenth century. Sinai Rusinek (Haifa University) will respond to the three papers and highlight recurring themes, questions and challenges of DH and its potential contribution to Jewish Studies.
The combination of four presenters from three different continents and from various academic fields promises to stimulate a discussion, which is interdisciplinary, theoretical, and innovative, a discussion most suitable to the division most appropriate to a conference that marks the fiftieth anniversary of the AJS.

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