The goal of this Unit is to develop and expand the relationship between the study of Judaism and the broader study of religion. We work to meet this goal in three primary ways: • Methodologically • Topically • By cosponsorship with other Program Units First, this Unit engages in active conversation with the methodologies common to the study of religion by exploring the historical, social, aesthetic, and political aspects of Jewish religion in its various contexts. All the while, we challenge methodologies in place at the AAR and offer new approaches to the study of religion through our focus on textual studies and the engagement between texts/doctrines and other aspects of religious culture. Second, we wrestle with topics of concern to the community of religious studies scholars in general, including community and commitment, gender, and the intersection between religion and politics. Finally, we actively pursue cosponsorship with other AAR Program Units. In the future, we look forward to continuing to work with various AAR — and whenever possible, SBL — Program Units.
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Study of Judaism Unit
Call for Proposals
This Unit welcomes proposals for individual papers, papers sessions, and roundtables dealing with Judaism, Jews, and Jewish studies broadly conceived — from late antiquity to the present, in multiple global settings, and employing various methodologies — that address topics of concern to the broader community of religious studies scholars. Pre-arranged session or panel proposals should represent a diversity of gender, race, ethnicity, and academic rank.
We are open to any proposals related to the study of Judaism, although for 2022, we are particularly interested in the following topics:
- Ethnographic approaches to Jewish practice, law, and/or ethics
- Judaism and the sensorium
- Interdisciplinary approaches to rabbinic literature
- Indigeneity, decoloniality, and sacred land at - and beyond - the intersection of Jewish studies and Israel/Palestine studies
- Utopia/dystopia/apocalypse, in conversation with the 2022 AAR presidential theme of Religion and Catastrophe
- Jewish Studies and Religious Studies in Conversation: graduate student lightning round (proposals should indicate interest in this format)
- (Co-sponsored with the Religion and Memory Unit)
2022 will be the fortieth anniversary of the publication of Yosef Hayyim Yerushalmi's Zakhor: Jewish History and Jewish Memory. It remains a foundational book in Jewish memory studies—and has poignant comments on the role of Jewish historians—but studies of Jewish memory have also developed considerably in the last four decades, both building upon and pushing back against Yerushalmi’s conceptions of Jewish history and Jewish memory. We invite proposals of papers, panels, or roundtables that reevaluate Zakhor in our present moment.
Statement of Purpose
Steering Committee Members
Jennifer Caplan, Towson University1/1/2017 - 12/31/2022
Naftali Cohn, Concordia University, Montreal1/1/2021 - 12/31/2026
Guadalupe González Diéguez, Université de Montréal1/1/2021 - 12/31/2026
Cara Rock-Singer, University of Wisconsin-Madison1/1/2020 - 12/31/2025
Sam Shonkoff, Graduate Theological Union1/1/2021 - 12/31/2026