Globalization has increased mobility and international collaboration, and facilitated the creation of transnational entities such as the European Union. At the same time, however, national identities have become more impenetrable. In the United States, there has been steadily increasing concern with questions of identity and citizenship. The dichotomy between “citizens” and “aliens” (whether “documented” or not) is ever apparent in debates about immigration policy, especially in arguments about access to public services such as education and health care.
The basic questions are: what normative principles define the rights of entry and access? What principles inform (or should inform) the criteria for membership and group identity? Since policy decisions in these areas often are moral decisions rooted in religious or quasi-religious arguments, it is important to examine how the public debate is informed by the underlying religious premises: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam have much to say about the politics of inclusion and exclusion.
This transdisciplinary conference devoted to issues of identity, will focus on the contribution of the Jewish experience to the debate about those issues. Jews have played the roles of both “self” and “other” in various times and places from the biblical period to the present. While Jewish law is protective of the rights of “strangers,” they may be met with suspicion nevertheless, and regarded as a threat to ethnic/religious identity and group solidarity.
Papers presented will explore questions of identity and otherness from various fields of Jewish Studies: Contemporary and Israeli literature, philosophy, Talmud and Rabbinics etc.
The conference will conclude with a public panel focusing on the contemporary debates on public policy.
For registration and further information, please contact Rabbi Ute Steyer firstname.lastname@example.org
The conference and panel are sponsored by the Charles H. Revson Foundation and the Louis Finkelstein Institute for Religious and Social Studies
Rabbi Ute Steyer
The Jewish Theological Seminary
3080 Broadway, NY, NY Email: email@example.com
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