The following call for papers for a conference on “Neighbors in Jewish Studies” was disseminated by the Institute for Israel and Jewish Studies Young Scholars Conference at Columbia University:
Neighbors in Jewish Studies
Call for Papers
Institute for Israel and Jewish Studies Young Scholars Conference
June 5-7, 2013
Columbia University, New York
The Institute for Israel and Jewish Studies Young Scholars Conference at Columbia University would like to extend an invitation for papers on the topic of “Neighbors in Jewish Studies”. By “neighbors” we intend the basic fact of living together, amongst and next to others. We do not wish to assume there is something within each group that determines its relation to others. Rather, we investigate proximity itself.
This topic is intended to operate on three levels. First, addressing neighbors and neighboring as objects of scholarly research. Second, addressing neighbors and living together as a conceptual framework. Third, addressing neighboring as a way of understanding the interdisciplinary status of Jewish and Israel Studies. The Conference seeks to bring together scholarly projects that do the same.
As an object of study, we are interested in the ways Jews live, and have lived, both among themselves and with others. Conceptually we attempt to capture something that exceeds the now quite common categories of community, boundaries, borders and Others. Rather than assume the coherence of separate units and outline their divisions, we take neighboring to be a framework that explores these divisions and interactions. By realigning the conversation in terms of neighbors and neighboring we also hope to chart new fertile grounds for exchange between multiple disciplines, within which and alongside which Jewish and Israel Studies operate. Relevant papers will not only cover topics within Jewish and Israel Studies, but also discuss the essential questions about living together evoked by the multidisciplinary status of the field.
Papers should both discuss examples of neighboring, and offer models of how Jewish and Israel Studies may live with, alongside, and within other disciplines. We invite graduate students working on relevant dissertation projects, as well as new PhDs just starting to work in their respective fields, to submit work for the conference. Scholars of Jewish and Israel Studies and any neighboring fields, including Literature, History, Music, Anthropology, Sociology, Religion, Area Studies, Islamic Studies, Medieval Studies, Economics, Political Science, Rabbinics, Bible, Law and Legal History and are all invited to participate.
Possible topics include but are not limited to:
● The Diaspora: Do specific examinations of neighborly units shift how we think about the diaspora in general?
● Community: What neighborly relations constitute a Jewish Community?
● Boundaries: What changes in the familiar discussion of boundaries when we frame it in terms of neighboring?
● Ethnography: Who are the neighbors? How do we come to know them?
● Migration: The movement of bodies or bodies of knowledge as a movement through, in and out of neighborhoods.
● Discipline & Methodology: What methods are necessitated or implied by thinking in terms of living together? How can we best think in terms of multiple disciplinary terrains, time periods, geographies, etc.?
● Genealogy & Philology: Can neighboring as a conceptual framework account for the relations between social groups and languages that are usually understood in terms of kinship and blood relation?
● Law: The neighbor in legal reasoning and legislation.

● Individual presentations should be no more than 20 minutes in length. Please send abstracts of 250–‐300 words accompanied by a short biographical statement. Abstracts should highlight the various levels on which the proposed paper addresses the theme.

● A limited number of panel proposals will also be accepted. These should include 3–‐4 presentation abstracts along with a cover letter explaining the rationale of the panel.

● A syllabus development workshop will be included in the conference program. Applicants may submit a syllabus on the topics of “Neighbors in Jewish Studies”, or “Introduction to Jewish Civilizations” in addition to their presentation abstracts. Accepted syllabi will be work–‐shopped with scholars from the field of Jewish and Israel Studies.

Please send all materials to:

 The deadline for proposal submissions is January 14th.

For further information please visit:


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