North Carolina Jewish Studies Seminar

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The NC Jewish Studies Seminar (NCJSS) offers a stimulating and exciting forum for academic engagement on Jewish history, culture, and religion.  Since its inception in 2001 under the name Duke-UNC Jewish Studies Seminar, the seminar has brought together faculty, graduate students, and internationally renowned scholars to discuss cutting-edge work in Jewish Studies. Meetings are held monthly, and papers are distributed in advance for all to read.

The NCJSS is a collaborative partnership of Duke, NC State, UNC-Chapel Hill, App State and Wake Forest, with participants coming from universities and colleges across North Carolina. Closely coordinated with the NCSU and UNC-Chapel Hill public lecture series in Jewish Studies, the seminar enriches the scholarly climate in the area and strengthens the Jewish Studies programs in the local universities. To read an example of a past seminar, see this blog post from scholar and novelist David Halperin, which also includes video of panelists.

Seminars will take place Sunday afternoons hybrid @ 3:00pm ET

Location:  Hybrid events will take place in  at the John Hope Franklin Center, Ahmadieh Family Conference Hall, Room 240 , 2204 Erwin Road Durham, NC 27708


Leadership                                                                 Shatzmiller Fellows




Vera Kallenberg, Duke University and Bielefeld University

  • September 10, 2023 3:00 pm Eastern time (Hybrid)

Vera Kallenberg, gives a paper entitled:  "I could relate most closely to the Black Experience": Jewish Experience, African American Women's history, and the Story of Gerda Lerner's Black Women in White America (1972).

Kallenberg is a Fulbright Scholar and historian working at the crossroads of Jewish studies, gender studies, North American studies, and European studies. Currently, she is a research associate [wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin] at the Interdisciplinary Center for Gender Research at Bielefeld University and a Postdoctoral Scholar in the Research Training Group "Experiencing Gender. Constitution and Transformation of Being-in-the-World" where she focuses on intersectionality, experience, and knowledge production in historical perspective. 

Vera received her PhD from the TU Darmstadt and the EHESS Paris in a binational German-French framework (Cotutelle) with a dissertation in history on Jews before the Frankfurt Criminal Court 1780-1814. Her German-language book, based on her dissertation, won the Arno Lustiger Prize as part of the 2019 Rosl and Paul Arnsberg Awards. Also based on this research, she recently published an article in Jewish Social Studies, "Jewishness, Gender, and Sexual Violence in Early Nineteenth-Century Frankfurt am Main: An Intersectional Microhistory" (JSS, 26, 2, Winter 2021). 

Vera is particularly concerned with the relationship between intersectional experience and knowledge production in 20th-century Jewish intellectual history, feminist historiography, and critical thought.  In collaboration with the department of contemporary history at Bielefeld University, she is currently working on the life and work of the pioneering women's historian Gerda Lerner (1920-2013).

Her current book project is entitled: "The Making of Women's Experience: Gerda Lerner In A Transnational History Perspective"



David Shyovitz, Northwestern University

  • October 22, 2023; 3:00 pm Eastern time (Hybrid)

David Shyovitz (Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania, 2011) is Associate Professor of History and Director of NU's Crown Family Center for Jewish and Israel Studies. His research focuses on medieval European intellectual and cultural history, with a particular emphasis on Jewish history and Jewish-Christian relations. He is the author of A Remembrance of His Wonders: Nature and the Supernatural in Medieval Ashkenaz (Philadelphia, 2017), which was awarded the John Nicholas Brown Prize for best first book in Medieval Studies by the Medieval Academy of America. His current book project, "O Beastly Jew!" Jews, Animals, and Jewish Animals in the Middle Ages, explores the overlapping ways in which Jewish and Christian authors and artists distinguished humans from animals, and Jews from Christians, over the course of the Middle Ages. October



Orit Bashkin, University of Chicago

  • December 3, 2023; 3:00 pm Eastern time (Hybrid)

Orit Baskin is a professor in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations and the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Chicago. A historian working on the intellectual, social, and cultural history of the modern Middle East, she teaches courses on nationalism, colonialism and postcolonialism in the Middle East, on modern Islamic civilization, and on Israeli history. Her fields of expertise include Iraqi history and culture, Arab-Jewish history, Arab intellectual history, and Israeli history.  Her current research project explores the lives of Iraqi Jews in Israel.

Bashkin earned her PhD in Near Eastern studies from Princeton University. She has previously been a fellow at the Katz Center, and has also held fellowships at the National Forum on the Future of Liberal Education and at the Franke Institute for the Humanities at the University of Chicago.

Her publications include: "Impossible Exodus: Iraqi Jews in Israel" (Stanford University Press, 2017) and "New Babylonians: A History of Jews in Modern Iraq" (Stanford University Press, 2012)





Sylvie Anne Goldberg, Center for Historical Research, L'École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Paris

  • January 21, 2024 (date is tentative); 3:00 pm Eastern time (Hybrid)

Sylvie Anne Goldberg is a professor at the Center for Historical Research, L'École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Paris, where she heads the Jewish Studies Program. She is the author of several books, including Crossing the Jabbok: Illness and Death in Ashkenazi Judaism in Sixteenth- through Nineteenth-Century Prague and Clepsydra: Essay on the Plurality of Time in Judaism.



Brett Ashley Kaplan, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

  • February 4, 2024; 3:00 pm Eastern time (Hybrid)

Brett Ashley Kaplan received her Ph.D. from the Rhetoric Department at the University of California, Berkeley in 2002 and is now a Professor and Conrad Humanities Scholar in the Program in Comparative and World Literature at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign where she directs the Initiative in Holocaust, Genocide, Memory Studies. Her first books, Unwanted Beauty: Aesthetic Pleasure in Holocaust Representation (2007) and Landscapes of Holocaust Postmemory (2011), examine the Shoah’s intersections with art and space. Turning to race in art and literature, she has published Jewish Anxiety in the Novels of Philip Roth (2015)She is the editor of Critical Memory Studies: New Approaches (Bloomsbury, 2023) and co-editor (with Anthony Russell and Sara Feldman) of the collection in progress, Blewish: Contemporary Black-Jewish Voices. Her first novel, Rare Stuff was published by Spuyten Duyvil in 2022, and she is at work on a second novel, Vandervelde Downs. She teaches classes in Jewish American Literature in Dialogue with U.S. Minority Cultures, Literary Responses to the Holocaust, Introduction to Theory, Introduction to Holocaust, Genocide, Memory Studies, Memory and Objects, and single author/auteur classes on J.M. Coetzee, Philip Roth, Marguerite Duras and Alain Resnais.




Henriette Dahan,  Ben Gurion University

  • April 7; 2024 at 3:00 pm Eastern time (Hybrid)

Henriette Dahan  is an Israeli Senior Lecturer of political science and the founder of the Gender Studies Program at Ben Gurion University. She is one of the founders of the Mizrahi feminist movement, and one of the leading theorists of Mizrahi feminism.

She completed her bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees at the Hebrew University in the Department of Political Science.   Dahan is a researcher of political thought, feminist theory, the interplay between gender and politics, globalization and postcolonialism.  She founded and served as the head of the Gender Studies Program at Ben Gurion University and lectures at the Social and Economics College. She is a member of the National Press Council, the Public Committee for Education in Israel, served as an adviser to the IDF and the Municipality of Be'er Sheva on women's issues.

She is a member of the board of directors of the human rights organization B'Tselem, and on the steering committee of the Yitzhak Rabin Center for Israel Studies. She is a founder and executive committee member of the Alternative Information Center and a member of the board of the Mizrahi Democratic Rainbow Coalition.


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