E pluribus unum? Multidisciplinarity in Jewish Studies Programmes and Teaching.
Girona, Catalonia-Spain. 28-29 May 2017.
In the framework of the EAJS Programme in European Jewish Studies, generously funded by the Stiftung ‘Erinnerung, Verantwortung, Zukunft’ (Berlin, Germany), the EAJS will host a 1.5 day workshop for developers and convenors of BA/MA university programmes in Jewish Studies. This workshop on ‘Multidisciplinarity in Jewish Studies Programmes and Teaching’ will offer an opportunity to compare and assess strategies in diverse academic settings to develop degree programmes in Jewish Studies, with a focus on how a convening academic unit – a department, Jewish Studies programme, or chair – negotiates resources and available expertise in shaping such a programme, and an additional focus on their implementation in academic teaching.
One of the main challenges for BA/MA programmes in Jewish Studies is the multi-disciplinary nature of the field, and the need to reconcile the provision of skills and disciplines commonly considered central for a Jewish Studies programme, such as Jewish Languages, History, Literature, Religious Thought and Philosophy, with the disciplinary transformations in the field and the desire to also accommodate less frequently taught disciplines (in the context of Jewish Studies) like Anthropology, Archaeology, Area Studies, Film Studies, Gender Studies, Heritage and Museology Studies, History of Art, Holocaust Studies, and Social and Political Sciences. Furthermore, the expectations of students and the wider public might be at odds with the academic traditions of a given academic unit.
The institutional context – home faculty, school, or programme – and available staff are additional factors that need to be taken into account in shaping the teaching provision and the degree programme. The ubiquitous challenges to the Humanities, and the decrease in financial resources, will also affect the structure and substance of teaching, and the continued gravitation towards disciplinary silos makes it difficult for colleagues teaching in a Jewish Studies programme to develop productive exchanges and explore possibilities of cross-disciplinary cooperation.
This workshop addresses these issues by allowing academics with institutional responsibilities to engage in a conversation about the tension between the need to develop coherent degree programmes and accommodate the disciplinary diversity of Jewish Studies. This exchange should also enable participants to better understand the different genealogies and academic traditions constituting the highly diverse landscape of Jewish Studies in Europe.
The workshop will take place in the Museu d’Història dels Jueus (Museum of Jewish History) in Girona, a city well known as a centre of medieval Iberian Jewish culture. It is organised in cooperation with Jewish Cultures Across Mediterranean Europe (Regional Hub for Jewish Studies, CSIC/UCM, Madrid).