Call for papers

One-Day International Conference on 3 July 2018, hosted at Leo Baeck College in London (UK)


Since the Diaspora, Jews have been forced to adopt the role of the stranger. Edmond Jabès even writes that when one says ‘stranger’ one thinks ‘Jew’. While this concept is deeply embedded in the Jewish psyche the goal of this conference is to explore how Jews engage with strangers, Jews and non-Jews. This is a topical subject in the 21. century because increasing migration creates a tension between globalisation and identity. This theme can be approached from many angles and applied to many disciplines such as philosophy (Simmel, Levinas), history (Menachem Begin and boat people from Vietnam), film studies (Eran Riklis’ 2014 film Dancing Arabs/ A Borrowed Identity) or literature (Israel Zangwill, Philip Roth).

Questions that may be addressed include, but are not limited to: How does the stranger transport Jews back to their past as strangers? Is it a healing opportunity for Jews? In which ways do they participate in shaping the Jewish identity? How did Jews help strangers (adoption, shelter)? What issues arise from this? How do Jews reconcile their desire to help strangers with the fear of danger strangers might bring to their community? Can strangers be considered as a device leading Jews to self-introspection and eventually enlightenment through spreading new values? Finally, could strangers offer an opportunity to fight against anti-Semitism?

The keynote speaker is Professor Maurice Samuels, the Betty Jane Anlyan Professor of French (Yale, USA) and Director of the Yale Program for the Study of Antisemitism.

Please submit an abstract of your paper (no more than 300 words in English) along with a brief biographical note to the conference organisers, Professor Joachim Schlör (University of Southampton, UK) and Dr Catherine Bartlett (University of Surrey, UK) at

The deadline for submission is 31. December 2017. Notice of acceptance will be sent by 31. January 2018. Paper presentations should not exceed 20 minutes. There will be an opportunity for the best papers to be published in a book after the conference.

The conference fee is £60 and includes tea/coffee breaks with pastries, a buffet lunch and an afternoon tea, all Kosher (Masorti), prepared and served by The Strudel Café on the premises.

Registration is open to all, and since places are limited, early registration is recommended to avoid disappointment. To register : send an email indicating your title, name and affiliation to, and pay at


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