Over the last several decades scholars working in Jewish Studies have expanded the field beyond its traditional foundations in history, religion, philosophy, and literature to include work in gender and sexuality studies, migration studies, translation studies, film studies, critical theory, critical race studies, and digital humanities.

The idea of Jewish culture has grown broader and richer as it has come to encompass works beyond those that are explicitly religious, those written in a Jewish language such as Hebrew or Yiddish, or those produced by Jewish artists and writers for a Jewish audience. Moreover, scholars have introduced a host of theoretical approaches, from deconstruction to postcolonialism and beyond, to their explorations of Jewish cultural artifacts and phenomena. Yet despite the fact that Jewish Studies has intersected with virtually every other humanities discipline, it is often ignored in research and teaching on global ethnic studies.

The goal of this lab is to explore and expand the role of modern Jewish culture in the humanities today. “Global Jewish Modernism” will focus on the particularly rich terrains of Jewish literature, film, and art in relation to other humanities disciplines, approaches, and theories. We are also committed to exploring the global significance of Jewish Studies. One way to do this is to expand research beyond the typical sites of Jewish life and culture in Europe, North America, and Israel/Palestine. Rather than assume that a given work belongs in the category “Jewish” or “modernist,” we are interested in exploring these designations as fluid, malleable, aspirational, and ideological.

A major aim of the Lab is to build on existing connections and forge new ones–between undergraduates and graduate students, between departments, and among disciplines and approaches. We have identified several concepts and themes that will guide our projects and events: identity and belonging, new narratives and structures, the idea of the modern, and translation.