08 August 2010

UK: South African Jews conference, Oct. 30-31

The first international conference of the The International Society for the Study of African Jewry is set for October 30-31, at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London.

The International Society for the Study of African Jewry (ISSAJ) conference is dedicated to a broad and interdisciplinary overview of the study of black African Jewry. Here's a map showing the locations of population centers:

A number of recent studies have dealt with the construction of Judaism or Jewishness among Black Africans and its relation to the historical experience of migrations, slavery and colonialism. The growth of Judaism, or Jewishness among Black Africans has been nurtured by shared historical discourses about presumed Semitic origins and about Jews, Zionism and blackness that transcend national boundaries.

The topic of Black African Jewry, is not only restricted to the continent of Africa itself, but also includes Israel, the United States, the Caribbean and Europe, where increasingly Black African societies are found which profess Jewish identities and practice Judaism in one form or another.

The tentative program of talks is here (see the link above for information on the speakers):

1. From Near East to Africa -- The search for the "autochthonous" Jew in Africa: Slouschtz and Faitlovitch at the beginning of the 20th century" -- Longing for Jerusalem among the Beta Israel of Ethiopia -- Genetics and History: the Construction of Lemba Identity in South Africa and Zimbabwe -- The Bhuba. A Paternally Inherited Jewish Priesthood in Southern Africa?

2. West African Judaism -- Israelite-Assyrian tradition of origin of the Yoruba -- Convivencia at Timbuktu: archetypes, architects and artisans -- The Legal and Practical Implications of Muslim-Jewish Collaborations in Trans-Saharan Trade -- The Igbo Jews of Nigeria: archaeological findings at Igbo-Ukwu, foreign contacts and Jewish connections -- Jewishness, the Genesis of the Igbo Nation and the Israeli Factor -- Igbo Nationalism and Memories of Biafra -- West AfricanJewries

3. Diasporas -- “We are Israelites but not Jews”: Orientalism and Israelism in the Holiness-Pentecostal Movement and the Beginnings of Black Israelite Religions in the 1890s -- Interrupting Whiteness: Hatzaad Harison, Black Jews, and Burkean Invention -- Theorizing Diasporic Interstices: African Heritage Jews in the Americas -- In and Out of Africa: Black Hebraic Cartographies of Belonging and Difference -- “Jewish sounds from Africa”. The recordings of Leo Levi and the discovery of African Jews in Italy -- Celebration among the Tambahoaka peoples of Madagascar

4. Experience -- Founding the Abayudaya of Uganda in 1962 -- A contribution to the history of African Jews

5. Film -- These are my Names

Conference fees (two-day conference, refreshments and lunch)

£160 (Standard): Includes ISSAJ Membership for 2010-11
£140 (Student): Includes ISSAJ Student Membership for 2010-11
£40 (SOAS students/staff only) - no membership fee
£26 Conference dinner: 30 October

Click here for the registration form; email the completed form to centres@soas.ac.uk. See the link above for complete information.

According to the site, ISSAJ members represent international, interdisciplinary scholars and students of African studies, Jewish studies, ethnology, social anthropology, modern history, history of religions, and history of ideas. Conference participation is open to all those interested.

1 comment:

  1. found your name while scrolling thru catskills.brown edu..etc..
    we rented a cottage at your grandparents finks kauneonga lake years 1963/64/65. beautiful memories of special times remain in our hearts.. hope you the same.???
    are u in touch with any of the folks who had summer cottages there in those years???
    the schindlers at