Fifth Junior Scholars Conference in Jewish History

Rich and Poor, Jews and Gentiles: Wealth, Poverty and Class in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries


March 30–31, 2017
Fifth Junior Scholars Conference in Jewish History in Bloomington, IN
Conveners: Co-organized by Miriam Rürup (Institute for the History of the German Jews, Hamburg), Anne Schenderlein (German Historical Institute Washington DC), and Mirjam Zadoff (Indiana University, Bloomington), with additional support by the Wissenschaftliche Arbeitsgemeinschaft des Leo Baeck Instituts

We invite proposals for papers to be presented at the Fifth Junior Scholars Conference in Jewish History, to take place at Indiana University Bloomington in March 2017. We seek proposals specifically from post-doctoral scholars, recent PhDs, as well as those in the final stages of their dissertations. The aim of the conference is to bring together a small transatlantic group of junior scholars to explore new research and questions in 19th- and 20th-century Jewish history, contextualized with work on people belonging to other milieus. In the course of two days, the participants will give short presentations (20 min.) of their individual research projects and engage in discussions on sources, methodology, and theory in order to assess current and future trends in the modern history of Jews in Germany, Europe, the Americas, and beyond. 

This year’s conference will focus on the themes of wealth, poverty, and class. We are specifically interested in creating a dialogue between scholars of Jewish history and historians working on other ethnic, religious, social, and cultural groups. In bringing together a cross-field group of historians, we hope to broaden our understanding of different approaches and sharpen our eye for particularities and commonalities in how wealth and poverty in particular and class more generally manifest themselves in historical research today. Whereas the recent economic turn in Jewish history has inspired numerous works on questions such as production, consumption, commerce, and capitalism, social class has received surprisingly little attention, whether as an analytical category or as lived reality or self-identification. We invite papers that address this shortcoming and that focus on issues of class in history, in particular as manifested in practices and experiences, but also at the level of ideas. We would like to explore when, how, and why social inequality, wealth, poverty, and class mattered in Jewish and non-Jewish history of the 19th and 20th centuries. We wish to examine how individuals and communities across different religious orientations as well as national and transnational contexts dealt with social inequality.

We especially welcome submissions that address wealth, poverty or class in relation to one or more of the following themes, but will entertain other suggestions too: 

  • gender and age; 
  • family and kinship (e.g., family networks, inheritance practices);
  • transfer of or protection of knowledge about wealth and poverty;
  • representations and perceptions of wealth, poverty, and class by Jews and non-Jews;
  • circumstances of migration and other forms of mobility;
  • socialism, communism, labor and trade organizations;
  • philanthropy.

The workshop language will be English. The organizers will cover basic expenses for travel and accommodation. 

Please send short proposals (750 words max.) and a one-page CV to Anne Schenderlein (schenderlein@ghi-dc.org) by December 31, 2016. For questions, please also contact Anne Schenderlein. Successful applicants will be notified by mid-January 2017.