Research Goals

By bringing into existence a forum for scholars devoted to a variety of disciplines and regional specializations, “Da’at Hamakom”: The Center for the Study of Cultures of Place in Jewish Modernity aims to create a new benchmark in Jewish cultural inquiry. The interests of our group of scholars include musicology, history, literature, cultural studies, communication studies, Jewish law (halakha), Jewish thought, theology, art history, material and popular culture; specialized foci on francophone, Hispanic, English, German, Hebrew, Yiddish, and Arabic cultures; and a comparative approach to cultures considered to be “Western” and “Eastern.” Members of the core group have interacted extensively over the years with major academic and cultural institutions abroad and in Israel, and are therefore well-positioned to draw in collaborative associates of distinction.

Because the term “culture” is so broad, we aim to create a viable body of knowledge about modern Jewish culture through the deployment of a strategic “key” metaphor: place. The ramifications of place open us to a wide array of theological, linguistic, semiotic, artistic, and socio-demographic considerations, but the idea of “place” also anchor our project in a feasible, structured research agenda, relating to the overall question: how do the realia of particular places influence behavior, consciousness, beliefs, and creativity?