(CFP) Jewish Thought in Times of Crisis (Special Issue of Religions)

Special Issue Editors: Elias Sacks and Andrea Dara Cooper

This issue will examine encounters between Jewish thought and crisis (with both terms being broadly defined), exploring ways in which Jewish thinkers have generated, navigated, and overcome crises and ruptures. The issue will explore earlier encounters between crisis and Jewish thought in diverse historical contexts while also foregrounding interactions between Jewish thought and current states of crisis in public health, racial justice, democracy, contingent labor, academia, and beyond. By focusing on the concept and very real presence of crisis, we aim to expand the scope of traditional approaches in the field by bringing new projects, perspectives, and voices into conversation with one another. It is the goal of this special issue to address developments, breakdowns, and conflicts in Jewish thought—in how the field constructs itself, how its figures (both prominent and less well-known) have responded to past times of crisis, and how present researchers may reshape its contours by demanding that the canon speak to contemporary urgent concerns. In so doing, we hope to bring to the fore diverse voices not only from types of sources that have traditionally been included in the field (from philosophical works to biblical and rabbinic commentaries), but also from genres that have received far less attention as sites of Jewish thought (from novels to memoirs to poetry).

We welcome papers that deal with topics such as:

  • Public health. What are constructive ethical and theological responses to public health emergencies, and how might we re-examine concepts central to contemporary Jewish thought, such as dialogue, face-to-face relationality, and intersubjectivity, in times of contagion?
  • The climate crisis and interactions with the more-than-human world. How have Jewish thinkers employed strategies that model how to mend ruptures to multispecies communities, and contrastingly, how have they (or their interlocutors) failed to confront global catastrophes?
  • Race and racial justice. How might the field of Jewish thought need to be reimagined and transformed in conversation with movements for racial justice, and what resources (if any) does the field have to offer such movements?
  • Democracy and politics. How have Jewish thinkers responded to breakdowns in democratic values and practice, and how might such responses inform—and be challenged by—contemporary civic life?
  • Pedagogy and the academy. How can the field of Jewish thought speak to current pedagogical climates of disruption and risk, in which educators (and administrators) must navigate new types of teaching environments, pedagogical challenges, and institutional pressures? How can Jewish thought and Jewish studies survive in a time of crisis, in which the academic fields housing and closely linked to these areas of inquiry are often targeted for elimination?
  • Why turn to the tradition of Jewish thought in a time of crisis at all? To what extent does comparing historical responses to crisis with current approaches constitute a form of anachronism, and how can we employ anachronism productively in the face of contemporary challenges?

We will accept proposals of 150-300 words on a rolling basis until March 1, 2021.

Please submit proposals to Dr. Elias Sacks (elias.sacks@colorado.edu) and Dr. Andrea Dara Cooper (adcooper@email.unc.edu).

All manuscripts will undergo a blind peer review process.

Please note that the Article Processing Charge will be waived for invited submissions based on accepted manuscript proposals.

Deadline for manuscript submissions: August 31, 2021.


[[[Eva Hesse, no title, 1961 

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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