Sponsored by the American Jewish Historical Society
The 2010 Biennial Scholars' Conference on American Jewish History will examine the notion of American Jewish "exceptionalism" or uniqueness that has shaped conceptions of American Jewish history from its beginning.
According to many historical accounts, American Jews have enjoyed an unparalleled degree of freedom, acceptance, and prosperity throughout their history in the United States. This has enabled Jews to blend their ethnic identities with the demands of American citizenship far more easily than other diasporic Jews. At the same time, the notion of American Jewish exceptionalism holds that Jews have differed from other ethnic groups in the United States by virtue of their educational andeconomic attainment and, often, by virtue of Jewish "values," including a devotion to educational and social/political liberalism.
Yet to what extent are these notions about American uniqueness, on the one hand, and Jewish uniqueness, on the other, accurate? Does the concept of exceptionalism continue to provide a useful framework for understanding American Jewish history? Should it be qualified for greater nuance or discarded altogether?
Participants include prominent academics and doctoral candidates from around the U.S., Canada, and Israel. Professor David Sorkin will deliver the keynote address. An evening roundtable will feature Jon Butler, Ira Katznelson and Aristide Zolberg in dialogue with Beth Wenger and Rebecca Kobrin. An optional, pre-conference tour of Harlem will be led by Professor Jeffrey Gurock. A tour of the Tenement Museum led by Dr. Annie Polland is optional at the conclusion of the conference.
More information can be found on the website of the American Jewish Historical Society: http://www.ajhs.org/scholarship/conference.cfm.
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