Call for Papers, BIAJS Conference 2024
Jews, Gender, and Sexuality
Annual Conference, 8-10 July 2024
University of Bristol, Bristol, UK
Given both long-standing and recent debates about feminism, identity, equality, trans rights, women’s religious and political leadership, Queer representation, and reproductive rights, the 2024 British and Irish Association for Jewish Studies annual conference will focus on questions of gender and sexuality. The BIAJS conference, as always, spans many academic fields, and approaches to the topic can be wide-ranging—from an analysis of the Talmud’s engagement with gender and sexual diversity, to an archaeological study of ancient female figurines, to a history of businesswomen in medieval Europe, to a literary reading of Naomi Alderman’s novel The Power. In fact, the conference invites scholars to think within and across disciplines and to forge new connections that allow us to reimagine gender and sexuality within the Jewish world, Jewish Studies, and beyond.
Although BIAJS conferences are always open to panels and papers outside of the main theme, this particular theme allows for many strands of inquiry, including but not limited to:
- How did and do Jews understand concepts of gender and sexuality in biblical texts?
- How have these concepts been regarded similarly to and differently from non-Jewish perspectives?
- How can understandings of (Jewish) history be rethought using Queer or feminist lenses?
- What Jewish (or Jew-ish) women or other gender or sexual minorities have been excluded from the historical record or popular imaginary that ought to be or are being recovered?
- What gains has Jewish Studies made in the field of gender and sexuality since the University of Birmingham hosted BAJS in 2005 with the theme ‘Women in the Jewish World’?
The conference aims to offer time and space for scholars to engage productively with each other and shape new research questions, directions, and outcomes.
We have a very exciting programme planned, drawing on our partnership with Jewish Book Week, the oldest literary festival in London, as well as our local resources, including a Bristol Jewish history expert, who will lead a walking tour of 18th– and 19th-century Jewish communities, and a food anthropologist from nearby UWE, who will conduct a Mizrachi cooking workshop.
Keynote speakers, who might represent research fields from antiquity to the present, and such disciplines as political sociology, literary criticism, history, anthropology, Women’s Studies, and religious studies, will offer new insights into the intersection of gender and Judaism. Confirmed keynote talks are:
Dr Rowena Kennedy-Epstein, University of Bristol: “To be a Jew in the 20th-C: Muriel Rukeyser, Feminism and Diaspora.”
Professor Dorit Geva, University of Vienna and CEU Democracy Institute: “Who Needs Empathy? Arendtian reflections on the Jew(ess) in radical-right politics.”
Professor Alexandra Cuffel, Ruhr Universität Bochum: “Ideal Men and Dangerous Concubines According to Jonah ben Abraham Gerondi and His Contemporaries.”
The conference will take place Monday 8 July – Wednesday 10 July 2024. We welcome session proposals as well as individual papers. Submissions from scholars from all career stages, including early career scholars and PhD students, are encouraged. Traditional panels will include three or four thematically linked presentations, but a range of formats is strongly encouraged: we hope to include panels, lightning rounds, round tables, and writing and pedagogy workshops. We are also open to creative presentations.
Individual paper proposals should be no longer than 250, accompanied by a short biography (100 words).
Panel (or similar) proposals should include a summary of the session (150 words) and abstracts of the papers (max. 250 words), along with short biographies (about 100 words) of the presenters and moderator.
Please send your proposals to: BIAJSpresident@gmail.com
Deadline for abstracts: 25 January 2024