Author: Jillian Chambers

Study Abroad Opportunity in Germany


The Freie Universität Berlin European Studies Program (FU-BEST) is offering a study abroad program that contains several elements of interest to students pursuing Judaic Studies, including a variety of courses dedicated to Jewish history, art and politics, Holocaust survivor speakers,  and important resources such as the Jewish Museum, the Centrum Judaicum and memorial sites. The program also features a full-week excursion; one of the frequent destinations is Poland, where site visits relevant to Judaic Studies are typically included.

Full program details, including course syllabi, various key documents and application materials can be found at FU-BEST’s website


Call for Applications: 2018-2019 Core Fulbright Program

The 2018-2019 Core Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program competition is now open and accepting applications for awards in the Middle East and North Africa. Below are some ways to get involved.

  • Consider applying to teach or research – Explore the Catalog of Awards ( and contact us with any questions regarding specific opportunities. Highlights to the region include:
    • Oman: All Disciplines
    • Jordan: All Disciplines
    • Tunisia: All Disciplines
    • Israel: Postdoctoral Fellowship

The Fulbright US Scholar Program will be hosting an informational webinar on Wednesday, March 8 at 2:00 p.m where they will show an overview of the opportunities throughout the Middle East and North Africa and offer a live Q&A.

Applicants must be U.S. citizens and the deadline for the 2018-2019 competition is August 1, 2017.

Summer Archaeological Opportunity in Israel

The Jezreel Valley Regional Project is calling for volunteers for the 2017 Legio Excavation from June 24 to July 21. This four week archaeological field school with take place at the base of the Roman VIth Ferrata Legion.

There is an optional preseason tour of sites in Northern Israel that includes Tel Dan, Baniyas, Hazor, Capernum, Bellevoir, Sepphoris, Nazareth, Beth Shean, Jezreel and Megiddo; it will run June 17 to June 22, 2017.

Academic credit is also available through the University of Hawai’i (preseason tour required for credit).

Additional information can be found at

Call for Submissions: EAJS Conference Grant Programme


The European Association for Jewish Studies (EAJS) invites submissions to the EAJS Conference Grant Programme in European Jewish Studies for the 2017-2018 academic year. The purpose of the program is to foster cooperation among scholars involved in Jewish Studies across Europe, and to support early career researchers in this field to develop a professional network.

The grants can cover two academic events: The EAJS Conferences and EAJS Summer Schools. The grants are used to cover an individual event; funds can be requested for travel expenses, accommodations and maintenance of the active participants. Academic excellence and the impact on network building in Jewish Studies in Europe will be key criteria; international cooperation in the development proposals is strongly encouraged.

Deadline: April 20, 2017.

For more information on application materials, the program itself, or general inquiries, you can visit the EAJS website. Inquiries about the program itself can also be directed to

Contested Citizenship – An Interdisciplinary Conference

This conference brings together scholars from a variety of fields to address how citizenship has operated as a terrain of struggle in the United States and the Americas. Topics include state violence and incarceration, undocumented students and workers, and the role of empire and transnational capitalism on migration and racial formation.

Speakers include Cesar Abadia, Alicia Schmidt Camacho, Robert Chase, Aviva Chomsky, Iyko Day, Christina Heatherton, Melanie Newport, Mark Overmyer-Velázquez, and Cindy Wu.

The Keynote Address will be given by Vijay Prashad, who is professor of international studies at Trinity College. He is the author of The Poorer Nations: A Possible History of the Global South.

Keynote Address: March 30, 5:30pm

Panels: March 31, 9:00am – 3:15pm

Location: UConn Alumni House

This conference is sponsored by El Instituto, American Studies, and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Registration is free at

Post-Doctoral Fellowships at the University of Haifa

The Department of Jewish History and Biblical Studies at the University of Haifa seeks to promote emerging research trends in all areas of Judaic studies. As part of this alignment towards contemporary and innovative approaches, the department is launching a new program of post-doctoral residency.

The Department of Jewish History and Biblical Studies is calling for applications for a one-month residency for two post-doctoral fellows: one in the first semester of the academic year 2017-2018 (October 2017 – January 2018) and one in the second (March – June 2018).

Deadline for Application: April 17, 2017.

For more information on the application requirements and on the program itself, please contact Professor Jonathan Ben-Dov at or Dr. Cedric Cohen Skalli at


Summer 2017 – UConn Brain and Behavior in Tel Aviv

There will be an information session on Monday, March 6th 2017 from 4:00-5:00 pm in Bousfield room A101, led by Dr. Etan Markus.

Learn more about the program, including:

  • The details of the UConn’s honors class – PSYC 2500 Learning & Memory with Dr. Etan Markus (3 Credits)
  • The Tel Aviv university class options:
    •  History: One Hundred Years: History and Memory in Tel Aviv/Jaffa (3 Credits)
    • Politics: Islamic Politics and Terror in the Middle East (3 Credits)
    • Arabic: Introduction to Modern Standard Arabic (4 Credits)
  • Credits and transferring credits
  • Budget and fellowships
  • Campus life, housing, dining, night life, beaches
  • Having an attached “social Resident Assistant” to guide you through Israeli society
  • Tel Aviv and Israel: personal safety, tipping, transportation.
  • More on the extra activities that are included in the program, including weekly Israeli cooking classes, special lectures, and weekend trips

Can’t make it or need more information? Contact Dr. Etan Markus at

A Call for Papers on Medicine in the Bible and Talmud

The Society of Biblical Literature (SBL) and the European Association of Biblical Studies  (EABS) are calling for papers for their 2017 International Meeting in Berlin, Germany from August 8th through the 11th. They are inviting papers on the theme of “literary and discursive framing of concepts of medical knowledge in late Antiquity,” extending from biblical and apocryphal texts, into later Jewish, Rabbinic-Talmudic traditions and beyond.

The organizers of the meeting are welcoming presentations on the representation and embedding of medical (and other) knowledge in particular texts and contexts. Papers may address the special design of such knowledge discourses: How does the use of rhetoric strategies, literary structures, or genres in scientific texts affect the ideas conveyed? Could a specific hermeneutic not only serve as a ‘container’ but also as a method for knowledge acquisition?

Deadline for Paper Submission: February 22, 2017

Membership is required in either SBL or EABS at the time of the proposal, through to the meeting. The full text of the call for papers can be found on EABS’s website. More information about the meeting and program requirements can be found on SBL’s website.


Center Director Jeffrey Shoulson Contributes to AJS Perspectives

Center Director Jeffrey Shoulson recently wrote an essay titled “Liberating the Conversation on Academic Freedom.” This essay is part of the Directors’ Forum in the AJS Perspectives, a bi-annual publication of the Association for Jewish Studies. The theme of this issue’s forum was Academic Freedom.

Read the full essay here.

Getting to Know Humanities Institute Fellow Daniel Hershenzon

Daniel Hershenzon, professor in UConn’s Department of Literatures, Cultures, and Languages and Judaic Studies faculty member, was recently interviewed by the Humanities Institute in a series that features their 2016-2017 Fellows. The interview can be found below.

What is your academic background and what is your current position in UCHI/at UConn/Your Home Institution?

My first degree, from the University of Tel Aviv, is a double major of Philosophy and History. Before getting this degree , I was studying industrial design. I left the world of design for the university when I realized that I was enjoying the history and theory classes much more than the design workshops. After receiving my B.A., I continued to study towards a Masters degree and in 2004 enrolled in a PhD program in the Department of History at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. I was lucky to spend two years of my graduate studies researching in Spain (in Madrid, Valladolid, Barcelona, and the Canary Islands!), and another year in Florence, Italy, with a postdoctoral fellowship after I graduated. Then, I took my current position at the Department of Literatures, Cultures, and Languages, where I mostly teach medieval and early modern Spanish history.

What is the project you’re currently working on?

I am completing a book that examines the entangled histories of early modern Spain, Morocco, and Ottoman Algiers, and by extension the entangled lives of Christian and Muslim captives in the region. Captivity was a serious problem in the early modern Mediterranean, and scholars estimate the number of captives, Muslims and Christians, in 2 to 3 millions. The book argues that piracy, captivity, and redemption shaped the sea, a space integrated on the social, economic, and political levels. It demonstrates that despite confessional differences, the lives of Muslim and Christian captives were interrelated and formed part of a single Mediterranean system of bondage. These captivities were connected by a political economy of ransoming shaped by ecclesiastic ransom institutions; Spanish, Ottoman, and Moroccan rulers; captives and kin; and Jewish, Muslim, and Christian ransom intermediaries. They all interacted through texts that captives created and circulated across the sea. The history that emerges from these stories is both local and Mediterranean. It offers a comprehensive analysis of competing Spanish, Algerian, and Moroccan imperial projects intended to shape Mediterranean mobility structures. Simultaneously, the project reveals the tragic upending of the lives of individuals by these imperial maritime political agendas.

How did you arrive at this topic?

I became interested in captivity when I wrote a seminar paper analyzing the autobiographies of former Spanish captives. I was fascinated by how ex captives sought to convince their readers that they did not convert to Islam during their captivity, and yet, their accounts abound with different forms of religious, cultural, and imperial boundary crossing. I also began to see how problematic the absence of Muslim captives from this history is. Finally, I was struck by the importance of writing for captives—not only as a medium to make claims about one’s past after ransom, but also during captivity. Captives constantly wrote letters trying to arrange their ransom, and in its turn, this epistolary circulation extended the boundaries of maritime communities across the sea, putting captives in charge of channeling information about community members who had died, converted as captives, or suffered martyrdom. As importantly, researching Mediterranean captivity allowed me to spend two years in the Mediterranean.

What impact might your work have on a larger public understanding of your topic?

As a historian, I engage in debates on the emergence of European territorial identities, cross-Mediterranean maritime networks, the political economy of forced migration, and the struggle between state and church over that mobility’s control and meaning. I do so by analyzing early modern interactions among 17th century Christian and Muslim captives, enslavers, redeeming friars, merchants, and rulers who struggled to shape piracy, slavery, and redemption according to their shifting vision – religious, economic, and political. The multiple cross-maritime interactions I explore do more than counter an image of a declining 17th-century Mediterranean dissolving into nation-states. They force us to rethink early modern Europe and its others questioning how seemingly European territorial identities were shaped by transnational maritime networks and their transformation. In this sense, the framework that my book proposes for the history of the early modern Mediterranean and Europe have repercussions beyond that specific history and can provide a lens through which to understand the current ongoing crisis surrounding mobility across the sea.

The original post by the Humanities Institute can be found here.