09 August 2010

Fellowship: Travel facts, fictions and Jewish identity

The University of Pennsylvania is seeking applications for a post-doctoral fellowship (2011-2012) on "Travel Facts, Travel Fictions, and the Performance of Jewish Identity," at the Herbert D. Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies.

The deadline for applications is November 10, awards will be announced by February 1, 2011; applications are available here.

Tracing the Tribe thinks that this topic might be interesting for Jewish genealogy conferences. Readers may wish to put on their thinking caps as the call for papers for the 31st IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy (Washington, DC; August 2011) is coming up.

About the topic:
The past decades have seen the emergence of an intense interest in the subject of travel as a complex range of practices and representations. The inherent richness and diversity of the evidence, texts and materials related to Jewish travel make it a perfect venue to engage scholars from a broad range of disciplines and periods(ancient, medieval, and modern history, literature, art and film, anthropology, postcolonial and gender studies) in a critical dialogue.

Travel writing in particular (in its mimetic, imaginative and hybrid modes) has served a variety of social and ideological functions throughout the ages, and unquestionably, travels of dislocation and return, pilgrimage, trade and conquest, hold a prominent place in formative Jewish and non-Jewish fictions of identity.
Interdisciplinary common questions and issues include:

-- What are the institutions and conditions that foster travel, such as new technologies, concepts of leisure, or commercial networks linking Jewish communities in far-off places? How do these factors provide social, political, and economic contexts that influence both travel fact and travel fiction?

-- How do travel discourses engage in a critical dialogue with "hearth and home," supporting or disturbing dominant perceptions of centers and margins? How do these categories look like when viewed through a Jewish lens as opposed to a Christian or Muslim one?

-- How do the various genres and discourses of travel writing interact and influence one another? How does the real affect the imaginary, and vice versa? How do travel literatures themselves circulate?

-- How is the journey depicted in visual media such as photography, sketches, and film? How is travel imagined in postcards or touristic advertising?

-- To what extent does Jewish travel map onto the movement made possible by the expanding frontiers of empires, both ancient and modern? How, for example, do Jewish authors interact with European models of expansion and discovery?

-- While relatively few pre-modern travel narratives were written by women, travel accounts do raise important issues of gender agency and representation. How does gender influence both what is seen and how it is interpreted in the various modes of travel writing?

The Katz Center invites applications from scholars at all levels in the humanities and social sciences and outstanding graduate students writing dissertations. Stipends are based on academic standing and financial need.

For more information or questions, contact Sheila Allen.

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