New Jewish Studies Space Studies (AJS 2013) (Ben Schachter, 16 Eruvim)

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For those of you who didn’t notice, that was Ben Schachter’s very handsome Sixteen Eruvim I’ve Walked Through (2008) gracing the front cover of the Association for Jewish Studies conference program book. It’s nice to see such careful attention to good design at the AJS. It’s been noted inside the organization, but it’s worth mentioning here in a more public forum, that Jewish Studies and the AJS are not what they once used to be. It used to be not too long ago that the discipline was dominated by historians and text-scholars. Now the entire field looks like something else. More art and open culture. The study of its history and texts at the AJS are situated in different ways, not just historically and temporally, as once was, but geographically and spatially oriented, now. Acrylic and thread on canvas, Ben’s picture is deceptively simple. For the life of me, I can’t identify or count out the 16 separate eruvim. It seems to me that they are more fundamentally mixed up to allow for any easy identification My favorite spaces in Ben’s picture and at the AJS are the ones I keep going back to look at, the negative white spaces in between the main spatial blocks. Germany, Israel, France, America, Iran –New Jewish Studies is Space Study.

About zjb

Zachary Braiterman is Professor of Religion in the Department of Religion at Syracuse University. His specialization is modern Jewish thought and philosophical aesthetics. http://religion.syr.edu
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2 Responses to New Jewish Studies Space Studies (AJS 2013) (Ben Schachter, 16 Eruvim)

  1. Interesting to hear about the spatiality of Jewish Studies. I was hoping to attend the conference, but couldn’t. Will next year. I’m a geography now re-tooling and examining Jewish spaces,, places and environments. Seems like environment should also be on the Jewish studies agenda some day.

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