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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 aim to represent a diversity of gender, race, ethnicity, and academic rank.

We are open to any proposals related to the study of Judaism, although for 2021, we are particularly interested in the following topics:
• Jewish approaches to physical, social, and/or ecological “health” and flourishing
• Varieties of digital Judaism before and after the Zoom revolution
• Judaism, critical race theory, and intersectionality
• The study of Judaism, public scholarship, and/or the crisis in the humanities
• Work by graduate students and/or recent PhDs for a session of pre-circulated papers
• 2021 marks the 50th anniversary of the film Fiddler on the Roof and The Study of Judaism and Religion and Popular Culture Units are co-sponsoring a call for papers exploring the film; the Broadway show and its many revivals, including amateur and international productions; and the Sholem Aleichem stories. We are particularly interested in theoretically driven papers, including those that question the politics of nostalgia, the universalizing of the shtetl, and gender and sexuality.

Mission Statement:

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. Recently, we have worked with the Study of Islam Unit, the Mysticism Unit, the Animal Studies Unit, and several SBL Sections. In the future, we look forward to continuing to work with various AAR — and whenever possible, SBL — Program Units.

Method of Submission:




Andrea Dara Cooper, adcooper@email.unc.edu

Shari Rabin, srabin@oberlin.edu


Steering Committee:

Jennifer Caplan, jacaplan@syr.edu

Naftali Cohn, naftalicohn@gmail.com

Guadalupe González Dieguez, guadalupe.gonzalez.dieguez@umontreal.ca

Cara Rock-Singer, carasinge@gmail.com

Sam Shonkoff, sshonkoff@gtu.edu


Session Allotment: Tier 4 – Two 2-hour sessions and three 90-minute sessions

Next Review: 2023