Thanks to a grant from the Ford Foundation, a Summer Institute on Gender Studies in Jewish Studies and Islamic Studies will take place August 7-10, 2005, Sunday afternoon to Wednesday noon, at Dartmouth College. No formal papers will be delivered; rather, several brief, informal presentations will be made to encourage group discussion. Space is limited and the Institute is open by application to faculty and graduate students who work in fields related to Jewish Studies and/or Islamic Studies and who have background in gender studies.
The Institute will focus on issues of gender as they inform and enhance a range of disciplines and topics in the study of Judaism and Jewish history, Islam and Islamicate culture and history. The goal will be to considers ways that scholars in Jewish Studies who work on issues related to gender might develop both scholarly and collegial interactions with feminist scholars of Islam. It is hoped that participants will include historians, anthropologists, political theorists, scholars of religion, literature, and culture, among other disciplines, and that their interests will include a range of time periods and geographic locations. Graduate students and junior faculty are particularly encouraged to participate.
As fields that are rapidly emerging as central to the academy, both Jewish Studies and Islamic Studies are reconceptualizing the scope and nature of their work, and even the name of their disciplines. Those with an interest in gender are often challenging the narrow conceptualizations of their fields, insisting not only on the inclusion of women, but the consideration of how other elements – such nationalism and religion – are gendered. The expansion of Jewish Studies and Islamic Studies to include more than the male-authored textual traditions of the two religions will be among the topics that will be considered. Others will include ways in which the history of American Jews and American Muslims might be considered in tandem; how the nationalisms of the Middle East inform one another; how the revival of women’s orthodox religiosity, both Jewish and Muslim, might best be understood; how a variety of feminist hermeneutics are being brought to bear in interpreting the religious texts of both Judaism and Islam. How gender is reconfigured by poststructuralism, identity politics, multiculturalism, and postcolonial theory will also be addressed.
We will also discuss current popular and politicized stereotypes regarding Muslim and Jewish women and how they might be analyzed. When Jews sought political emancipation in Europe in the nineteenth century, they were often faulted for treating their women as inferior; similar charges are afoot today regarding Muslim women. How we might respond to such charges will also be considered.
One session will be devoted to presentations by feminist theorists, describing a range of new developments in their fields, which will include philosophy, visual culture, literature, film studies, photography, and psychoanalytic theory. Among confirmed speakers are Marianne Hirsch, Angela Rosenthal, Amy Allen, and Jessica Benjamin.
Finally, in addition to considering various scholarly projects we might undertake together, theoretical and methodological parallels in our work, and so forth, we will also discuss issues of pedagogy – the challenges we face in our undergraduate classrooms – and professional development – the expectations and demands from colleagues, administration, donors, and wider communities of Jews and Muslims.
Participants in the Institute will be housed in private rooms in a modern, air-conditioned dormitory on the Dartmouth campus. There will be no charge for lodging, breakfast, and dinner for participants; lunch can be purchased on campus at minimal cost. Kosher and halal food will be available, as will vegetarian options, but you must request them ahead of time. Daycare for children will not be provided, but the names of babysitters will be provided upon request. Facilities at Dartmouth are accessible.
Travel expenses for participants will be paid. Dartmouth can be reached via plane to Lebanon, NH, Manchester, NH, Bradley Field, CT, Burlington, VT, or Boston; bus service is sometimes available from those airports. A bus leaves Logan Field and South Station, Boston, every two hours for the Dartmouth campus. Participants are expected to make their own travel arrangements. Because space is limited, it is important to apply early, not withdraw at the last minute, and to remain at the Institute for its duration.
Applications to participate in the Institute should be received via email by May 1, 2005, and should include a CV and a letter explaining the reasons for wishing to participate, as well as a brief description of research and teaching experience and future plans as they relate to the topic. Space in the institute will be assigned on a first-come basis, but with attention to developing a balance of graduate students, junior and senior faculty. Applicants will be notified by May 15. Any questions and all applications should be directed to Prof. Susannah Heschel (e-mail address provided below)
Additional information about the Institute will be posted at the following web site.
Professor Susannah Heschel
Department of Religion
Hanover, NH 03755
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