The field of early modern Jewish studies has expanded dramatically over the past fifteen years. Geographically it has come to encompass the Mediterranean basin, the Ottoman Empire, and the trans-Atlantic world, expanding the traditionally Eurocentric vision of Jewish early modernity. The cultural parameters of the field have also undergone significant changes: Jewish engagement with non-Jewish society and culture, beyond the Renaissance, has become a key point of new path-breaking research. While exciting studies have utilized newly uncovered sources that address the experiences of Jews living in small communities or rural settings, the history of urban Jewries remains central. Due to the scope and variety of sources available and the opportunity to place Jewish history into a broad comparative perspective, the urban experiences of early modern Jewries deserve innovative reflection.
The Crown Family Center for Jewish Studies at Northwestern University and the Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies (Chicago) announce plans to hold a two-day international conference on the theme of Jews, Urban Space, and Early Modernity. The conference will be held on Monday and Tuesday, November 8-9, 2010. The focus of the conference will be on social, demographic, cultural, communal and religious experiences in large urban Jewish communities around the globe between 1400 and 1700. Individual proposals are welcome for a limited number of presentations. The conference will be run in the format of a workshop, with papers pre-circulated among participants and presentations focusing on key findings and discussion of illustrative sources.
For consideration to present at the conference, please submit a one-page abstract (500 words) of your proposed paper, including a brief description of the source you intend to examine at the conference, and a full cv to the organizers of the conference.
Some funding may be available for participants and accepted papers will be considered for publication in a planned volume addressing the variety of Jewish urban experiences in the early modern period. The deadline for proposal submissions is January 30, 2010; decisions will be made by February 15, 2010.
Dean Bell, Dean and CAO, Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies, 610 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60605
Yohanan Petrovsky-Shtern, Director, the Crown Family Center for Jewish Studies, Northwestern University, Crowe Hall 5-163, 1860 Campus Drive, Evanston, IL 60208
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