Columbia Institute for Israel
Columbia Institute for Israel and Jewish Studies will host a roundtable on current trends in the study of Italian Jewish cultural and social history, co-sponsored by the Primo Levi Center. Convened by Francesca Bregoli of Queens College/CUNY and Jeremy Dauber of Columbia, this event will bring together scholars whose work concentrate on Italian Jewish history: Andrew Berns of the University of Pennsylvania, Flora Cassen of the University of North Carolina, Bernard Cooperman of the University of Maryland, Lois Dubin of Smith College, Yaacob Dweck of Princeton, and Federica Francesconi of the University of Oregon.
This event, which will focus on the late medieval and early modern period (1400 to 1800), originated from numerous conversations between Bregoli, whose research focuses on 18th-century Italian Jews, and Dauber, who works on early modern Yiddish literature. Noticing that there are a growing number of scholars researching Italian Jewish history, many of whom are currently working in the tri-state area, they envisioned an event that could both generate scholarly discussion and strengthen public interest in the subject. An initial proposal for a panel on recent historiography of Italian Jewry developed into the more ambitious plan for an academic forum that would bring a group of younger and more established scholars together to share the most current research in the field.
The presenters will raise broad methodological or historiographical themes through the lens of their individual research. For instance, Andrew Berns will address the degree to which we may generalize about the nature of Jewish-Christian relations in early modern Italy, based on the limited and exceptional source material often available to historians; Flora Cassen will discuss the methodological challenges involved in conceptualizing the history of Jews who lived isolated in Christian towns in northern Italy; and Federica Francesconi will address the issue of historiography on Jewish women during the early modern period.
By the end of the afternoon, then, both the participants and the audience will have a clearer sense of where the field of early modern Italian Jewish history is right now and where it should go, and what the main trends, gaps, and challenges are.
Andrew Berns (University of Pennsylvania), Jewish-Christian Relations in Early Modern Italy: the Case of Medical Correspondence.
Flora Cassen (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill), Solitary Jews or micro-communities? Small Jewish settlements in early modern Northern Italy
Bernard Cooperman (University of Maryland), Do Preachers Have an Audience?
Lois Dubin (Smith College), Rachele and Her Loves: Microhistory and Gender in the Study of Enlightenment, and Emancipation.
Yaacob Dweck (Princeton University), Reflections on Italy as a category in the writings of Leon Modena
Federica Francesconi (University of Oregon), Italian Jewish History and the Women’s “Question”