Beyond the Canon

Thinking Beyond the Canon: New Themes and Approaches in Jewish Studies
March 8–9, 2015, University of California, Los Angeles
Submissions due by October 31st. You may direct questions to

After more than a century and a half of Modern Jewish Studies, the field today approaches Jewish history and culture from new angles, seeking out new topics, employing new methods, and developing new models for research, teaching, and publishing. Does Jewish studies today still have a canon, a boundary line between what is in and what is beyond the pale? What was the canon of Jewish studies in the early days of Modern Jewish Studies, and how are scholars today reaching past its boundaries to expand the field with new methods, themes, approaches, and attitudes?

We hope to bring together graduate students, post-docs, and recent PhDs who are thinking beyond the canon of Jewish studies, both by shedding light on newly discovered or understudied protagonists—the figures, agents, and actors who have helped to shape Jewish history, culture, and life—as well as those who approach research and teaching in Jewish studies in innovative ways. We are especially interested in scholarship and pedagogical approaches dealing with nontraditional figures, experimental methods, and transnational and/or global frameworks that have served as powerful (or perhaps unseen) forces in Jewish studies, as well as work that moves beyond the notion of the human, and considers how empires, archives, animals, diseases, climate and geography, science and technology, media and digitization have become agents of history and narrative in their own right.

We encourage submissions from graduate students and recent PhDs engaged in the study of nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first century Jewish life and culture from a variety of disciplines across the humanities and social sciences. We would like to ask how, as scholars at the beginning of our research and teaching careers, our generation might reshape the landscape of Jewish studies and think beyond the canon. We hope to engage a variety of methods and innovative perspectives in order to reconsider familiar topics in Jewish studies, to highlight new or unknown figures for study, and to investigate entirely new categories, methods, and approaches that are changing our understanding of the nature and future of Jewish studies.

We are calling for abstracts for fifteen-minute presentations as well as a limited number of pre-circulated papers (20-30 pages). The pre-circulated paper workshops will be with a small group of peers and senior scholars who will have read your work in advance of the conference. This option is ideal for papers that are planned to be submitted for publication.

Please submit a paper abstract of no more than 350 words by October 31, 2014, at If you are interested in presenting a pre-circulated paper, please submit a 600 word abstract.

Two nights’ accommodation will be provided at UCLA, as well as limited reimbursement for travel expenses.

The conference is organized and coordinated by graduate students at UCLA working in fields related to Jewish studies. Our mission is to foster a sense of community and provide a forum for sharing and critiquing graduate research by peers from a variety of institutions and backgrounds. A group of senior scholars will serve as mentors and participate in round tables on pedagogy and the future of Jewish studies.

The conference is sponsored by the UCLA Center for Jewish Studies with the support of the Joy and Jerry Monkarsh Community Series in Jewish Studies and the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles.

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