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Interdisciplinary Approaches in German-Jewish Studies Today

Sun, December 15, 12:30 to 2:00pm, Hilton Bayfront San Diego, Sapphire 411A

Session Submission Type: Panel Session

Session Sponsor: Leo Baeck Institute New York

Abstract

This is the first of two closely related panels that seek to reflect current trends in German-Jewish Studies among early- and mid-career scholars in the US, Europe, and Israel. Although they focus on a range of topics and draw from different historical contexts, the papers all share three important characteristics: a methodological statement or suggestion for the advancement of German-Jewish Studies as a scholarly field; an emphasis on historical perspectives within German-Jewish cultural studies; and research that is profoundly interdisciplinary. The papers included in both panels thus integrate insights and methodologies from other academic fields and subfields into their work in German-Jewish Studies, including family history, the history of human remains, Yiddish Studies, translation studies, media studies, and the study of social and professional networks. The first panel, “Interdisciplinary Approaches in German-Jewish Studies Today,” goes beyond the borders of Germany to explore personal and professional networks of German Jews from the early 20th century to the present. Nick Block explores the Yiddish theater in Germany and the US as a unique site of cultural exchange between German Jews, East European Jews, and non-Jewish Germans; Stefanie Fischer discusses the attempts of German-Jewish exiles in the wake of the Holocaust to reconnect to their relatives who were buried in Europe; and Jason Lustig examines the creation of a transnational German-Jewish network of archives as key to understanding Jewish historiography. The second panel, “German-Jewish Texts and Contexts,” focuses on internal developments and cultural phenomena within German Jewry. It does so by examining German-Jewish cultural and intellectual responses to internal as well as external challenges in the period from 1871 to the 1930s. Taken together, both panels aim to shed new light on under-researched aspects of German-Jewish culture past and present, and thus to open up a discussion about the state of the field today and its potential future directions. The panels are part of an ongoing project and planned edited volume that bring together the work of emerging and recently established scholars of German-Jewish Studies, all of whom have a connection to the Leo Baeck Institute New York.

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