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Sunday, March 17, 2019 at 9:00am to 9:00pm
A. D. White House, Guerlac Room
29 East Ave, Ithaca, NY 14850, USA
A workshop on "Gendering and Embodying the Jew: Judaism, Secularism, and the Politics of Difference." Open to Cornell Faculty and graduate Students. Resgistration is required.
Jewish difference has been an essential feature of modern political discourse, at the center of debates about European emancipation, Zionism and nationalism, and acculturation and assimilation. European emancipation and American acculturation were predicated on the assumption that Jewish difference was redeemable because it was abstractable enough for citizenship in secular states. Meanwhile, anti-Semitic discourses have targeted “the Jew” as the epitome of abstract and unproductive financial labor. In these formulations, the subject is always implicitly a male figure. By contrast, both Jewish and non-Jewish discourses often cast Jewish women and Mizrachi/Sephardi Jews as material, emphasizing elements of embodiment, sexuality, and reproductive labor while rendering them invisible as political subjects.
This one-day workshop will explore the gendered Jew as a religious and secular subject. Bringing together scholars working at the intersections of Judaism, secularism, and gender and sexuality in American, European, and Middle Eastern contexts, it will probe how the consideration of sexual, bodily, and racial difference refigure “the Jew.” What might the study of the gendered, embodied, and raced Jew, in turn, reveal about the social, political, and religious hierarchies and structures of power within Jewish communities, and within Jewish Studies? Finally, what might the study of the gendered Jew, in conversation with scholarship on the Muslim other, contribute to debates about the normative structures of post-Protestant secularism?
Sponsored by the Jewish Studies Program, Institute for Social Sciences, Society for the Humanities, Department of Anthropology, Department of Romance Studies, Religious Studies Program, Department of Science and Technology Studies, Department of Near Eastern Studies, American Studies Program, Feminist, Gender, & Sexuality Studies Program, Department of Government, Department of History