Faculty Seminars 2014-2015

Open to faculty and graduate students only

Comparative Literature in Dialogue Biennial Conference:
"The People of the Book, People of Books” (closed)

April 23-24, 2015, 9:30am-5:00pm
Alexander Library, Pane Room
169 College Avenue, New Brunswick, New Jersey
The People of the Book, People of Books flyer

This year’s Comparative Literature in Dialogue Biennial Conference focuses on the relation of religion to literature. On one hand we explore how faith and fiction sip into collective consciousness, through the Book or books in general. On the other hand we look into the recurring tensions between literary humanistic ideals, “free speech” the most salient among them, and “fundamentalisms.”  We address current debates on secularism and the critique, the humanities in the face of religious conflict, offering new paths into thinking on the political and historical relevance of literary activity. A conference on fiction and memory, faith and identity, literature and community, with a keynote address by Gil Anidjar (Columbia). Guests include: Talal Asad (CUNY), Emily Apter (NYU), Eduardo Cadava (Princeton), Patricia Dailey (Columbia), Sarah Hammerschlag (Chicago), Marc Nichanian (Sabancı), D. Vance Smith (Princeton), and Amnon Raz-Krakotzkin (Ben Gurion). Respondents: Michael Levine (German & Comp. Lit.), Nelson Maldonado-Torres (Latino and Hispanic Caribbean Studies & Comp. Lit.), Yolanda Martínez-San Miguel (Latino and Hispanic Caribbean Studies & Comp. Lit.), Andrew Parker (French & Comp. Lit.), Judith Surkis (History), James Swenson (French & Comp. Lit.), Azzan Yadin-Israel, Jewish Studies) and Yael Zerubavel (Jewish Studies & History).

Sponsored by: The Office of the Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs • The Office of the Dean of Humanities • Program in Comparative Literature • Rutgers University Libraries • African, Middle Eastern, and South Asian Languages and Literatures
The Centers for Global Advancement and International Affairs • Bildner Center for the Study of Jewish Life • Jewish Studies • Center for Middle Eastern Studies • English • Religion • Spanish • South Asian Studies Program • Center for Cultural Analysis • German and Russian/Slavic


April 23
10:00-10:30  Welcome Address by James Swenson and Opening Remarks by E. Efe
10:30-12:00  Keynote: Gil Anidjar (Columbia, Religion), “Sparta and Gaza (What Have They to Do with One Another?)” Respondents: Judith Surkis (Rutgers, History), Andrew Parker (Rutgers, French & Comp Lit)
12:00-1:30  Lunch Break
1:30-2:30  Emily Apter (NYU), "Theopolitical Fragments: Benjamin, de Man, Derrida." Respondent: Yolanda Martínez-San Miguel (Rutgers, Latino and Hispanic Caribbean Studies & Comp. Lit.)
2:30-3:30  Amnon Raz-Krakotzkin (Ben Gurion, Jewish History), “The Bible, The Oral Torah, and the Messiah” Respondent: Azzan Yadin-Israel (Rutgers, Jewish Studies)
3:30-4:00  Coffee Break
4:00-5:00  Roundtable: Gil Anidjar, Talal Asad, Amnon Raz-Krakotzkin, Chair: Andrew Parker

April 24
10:30-12:00  Marc Nichanian (Sabanci, Cultural Studies), “The Subject and the Survivor” Respondents: Yael Zerubavel (Rutgers, Jewish Studies & History), Nelson Maldonado-Torres (Rutgers, Latino and Hispanic Caribbean Studies & Comp. Lit.)
12:00-1:30  Lunch Break
1:30-2:30  Patricia Daily (Columbia, English), “In-traceable Communities: Beguines, Anchorites, Nuns and Other Women of the Books” Respondent: D. Vance Smith (Princeton, English)
2:30-3:30  Sarah Hammerschlag (Chicago, Religion), “Literature and the Political-Theological Remains” Respondent: Michael Levine (Rutgers, German & Comp. Lit.)
3:30-4:00  Coffee Break
4:00-5:00  Roundtable: Marc Nichanian, Sarah Hammerschlag, Patricia Daily, Chair: James Swenson (Rutgers, French)

Open to faculty and graduate students only

Spring 2015 Seminar

doro-200pxA Still Small Voice: The Hebrew Bible for Jewish Children in 18th-19th Century Germany
Dorothea Salzer, University of Potsdam
Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies
University of Pennsylvania, 2014-2015
Tuesday, February 24, 2015 11:30 am to 1:00 pm
Bildner Center, 12 College Avenue
Lunch will be served.
Please join us for Dr. Salzer’s presentation, at the nexus of history, German literature, religious studies, Jewish Studies, book production, women’s studies, and more.
Image at right: Just one example of the many books produced for Jewish children in Germany and surrounding lands during the 18th and 19th centuries.

Fall 2014 Seminar

The Henry Schwartzman Endowed Faculty Seminar
Away for a Health Cure: German-Jewish Encounters at Central European Spas in the Eighteenth Century

Natalie Naimark-Goldberg, Bar-Ilan University
Monday, September 29, 2014 at 11:00 a.m.
Bildner Center, 12 College Avenue
Lunch will be served.

Thousands of Jews in modern times joined the community of vacationers that spent the summer months visiting spas and resorts in Central Europe. The practice of traveling to the spas became fashionable with the rise of the bourgeoisie, and visits to these places, typically devoted to the combined goals of health, recreation and sociability, symbolized the adoption of the middle-class lifestyle by this Jewish clientele.

Focusing on the early stages of this phenomenon, this lecture will first examine what kind of Jews attended these places in the eighteenth century and why; it will then analyze the type of encounters that took place there between Jews and Christians. Attention will be given to the role of medical considerations, which largely determined the social reality at the spas and in certain cases helped overcome cultural barriers between Jews and non-Jews.

1934: A Year in the Life of the Jewish Community in Palestine (the "Yishuv")
Aviva Halamish, The Open University of Israel

Tuesday, November 11 at 11:30 a.m.
Bildner Center, 12 College Avenue
Lunch will be served.
Levant Fair 1934
Levant Fair 1934

Aviva Halamish’s research attempts to reconstruct and present an integrative history of the Jewish community in pre-state Palestine (the Yishuv) during one critical year: 1934. With a focus on social and cultural history, she explores numerous themes related to the Yishuv's character as an immigrant society, as well as issues pertaining to a minority group living under foreign rule and in a state of conflict with the neighboring majority.

With attention to the significance of choosing the year 1934 as her focus, the seminar will explore two assertions made in Halamish’s research. First, it will examine her claim that Jewish immigration to Palestine during the Mandate period very much resembled Jewish immigration to other destinations and universal immigration patterns, and was not, in fact, selective. Second, it will explore her hypothesis that Mandatory Palestine was a dual society - and that the Yishuv was both intentionally and inherently separate from the Arab population in most spheres of life - by exploring the extent to which the Yishuv had social, professional, economic, and cultural ties to the Arab population.