Call for Papers: Sholem Aleichem, 1916- 2016: Writing Place

International Conference, Jerusalem and Tel-Aviv, 16-18 May 2016

“Da’at Hamakom”– Center for the Study of Cultures of Place in the Modern Jewish World funded by I-CORE/ Israel Centers of Excellence; co-sponsored by the Yiddish program at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem; The Goldreich Family Institute for Yiddish Language, Literature, and Culture at Tel Aviv University; The Rena Costa Center for Yiddish Studies at Bar-Ilan University and Beth Shalom Aleichem, Tel-Aviv.

The centennial of the death of Sholem Aleichem, the most well-known and celebrated Yiddish author, affords us an opportunity to revisit his life and work. His direct and indirect influence permeates literary, theatrical, and cinematic representations of East European Jewish life and, in his late work, America. Straddling the fine line between empathy and irony, Sholem Aleichem’s writing is a sensitive guide to the vicissitudes of cultural modernization, secularization, migration, and revolution.

As a research consortium based in four Israeli universities, the “Da’at Hamakom”/ ICORE Center for the Study of Cultures of Place in the Modern Jewish World invites interested scholars and senior graduate students to submit proposals (for individual papers or for panel sessions), which will aim to illuminate the various facets of “place” in Sholem Aleichem’s oeuvre or in cultural representations derived from his work.

The following list is a suggestive, but not exclusive, indication of what we have in mind:

  • The shtetl/village/city and their image in the wake of Sholem Aleichem;
  • Eastern Europe/America/the Land of Israel in light of Sholem Aleichem’s works;
  • Wanderings and migration(s) as themes in Sholem Aleichem’s fiction;
  • Imagined and imaginary spaces and places;
  • Borderlines and transit: trains, roads, and border crossings;
  • Sites of art and performance: the domestic sphere, periodicals, the stage, the silver screen;
  • Stations along Sholem Aleichem’s life journey;
  • Politics, ideologies, and revolutions in terms of “place”.

Individual proposals should aim at a 20-minute presentation format, and may be prepared for delivery in Hebrew, Yiddish, or English. Proposals should be approximately 300 words in length, should specifically indicate the connection to the conference theme, should be accompanied by a curriculum vitae, and should be sent no later than 1 June 2015 to our e-mail address: sholemaleichem2016conference@gmail.com

Scholars from outside Israel wishing to participate, and who have no independent travel funds at their home institutions, will be eligible for funding assistance for their travel and accommodations (for three nights). Young scholars will enjoy a priority for such assistance.

The Organizing Committee: Prof. Israel Bartal; Prof. Nathan Cohen; Prof. Jeremy Dauber; Prof. Eli Lederhendler; Prof. Avraham Novershtern; Prof. David Roskies; Prof. Chava Turniansky; Prof. Hana Wirth-Nesher.

For any further queries please contact the project coordinator, Dr. Gali Drucker Bar-Am at gali.druckerbar@mail.huji.ac.il

*Photo courtesy of Beit Shalom Aleichem.

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Click here to download call for papers in Yiddish