The 7th Early Modern Workshop will take place from August 15-17, 2010 at Wesleyan University. The topic this year is “Jewish Community and Identity in the Early Modern Period.”

The traditional approach to “Jewish community” has been focused on the formal communal structures of Jewish self-government. This approach often traced the presence of “autonomous” Jewish self-government in the diaspora from antiquity till the modern times, when, it was stressed, these “autonomous” structures were shattered by the interference of modern states in Jewish communal affairs. Recent scholarship has challenged this prevalent narrative, suggesting that the relatively sophisticated forms of local administration within Jewish communal organizations seem to have been an early modern development and a result of the interplay between the structures of power of the states and a local Jewish community. But the early modern period brought about developments that went beyond the political transformations of the states. In the early modern period, conceptions of community and identity were challenged.

The 2010 Early Modern Workshop proposed to re-examine the concept of the Jewish community in the early modern period more broadly, not only as formal structures of the Jewish self-government. The workshop aimed to understand different ways, formal and informal, in which Jews understood what a community meant, how they identified as a community, or communities, and fashioned their own identities in the early modern period. In addition to political transformations of states and institutions of the state, we would like to examine how, for example, gender, family relations, or ethnic identity shaped Jews’ understanding of community, both individually and as a collective.

Our keynote speaker was Barbara Diefendorf. The program included presentations based on primary texts (in alphabetical order):

Connie Aust, “Price of Power: Financing a Jewish Community”
Shuki Ecker, “Layered Networks: Functioningn Across Communities”
Eli Faber, “Struggle to Transcend Differences and Conflicts among Early American Jewry”
Debra Kaplan, “Regulating Communal Space: Mikvaot in Seventeenth-Century Altona”
Stefan Litt, “Rabbinic Authority and Community in 18th-century Germany: Moses Brandeis Levi and the Jewish Community of Mainz”
Jerzy Mazur, “Merchants and Rabbis: The Family of Josko of Lwow and the Beginnings of a Jewish Community in Poland”
Evelyne Oliel-Grausz, “Communication and community : multiplex networks in the 18th Century Sephardi Diaspora”
Lucia Raspe, “Minhag and Migration: A Yiddish Custom Book from Venice, 1553”
Stefanie Siegmund, “Communities Developing in Association with Place”
Adam Teller, “The Early Modern Jewish Parliament: The Council of Four Lands in Poland”

The Keynote Address and individual presentation audio files are also available through iTunes U.

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2010
Sunday, August 15th
5:00 PM

Jewish Community and Identity in the Early Modern Period

EMW 2010

Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT

5:00 PM - 3:00 PM

6:00 PM

Entangled Communities: Religion and Identity in Early Modern Europe

Barbara Diefendorf, Boston University

Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT

6:00 PM

Monday, August 16th
9:00 AM

Communities Developing in Association with Place: Testament of Ginebra Blanis, 1574

Stefanie Siegmund, Jewish Theological Seminary

Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT

9:00 AM

10:00 AM

Minhag and Migration: A Yiddish Custom Book from Venice, 1553

Lucia Raspe, Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main, Germany

Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT

10:00 AM

11:00 AM

Regulating Communal Space: Mikvaot in Seventeenth-Century Altona

Debra Kaplan, Yeshiva University

Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT

11:00 AM

1:00 PM

The Struggle to Transcend Differences and Conflicts Among Early American Jewry

Eli Faber, John Jay College (CUNY)

Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT

1:00 PM

2:00 PM

Rabbinic Authority and Community in 18th Century Germany: Moses Brandeis Levi and the Jewish Community of Mainz

Stefan Litt, Jewish National Library, Israel

Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT

2:00 PM

3:00 PM

The Price of Power: Financing a Jewish Community

Cornelia Aust

Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT

3:00 PM

4:00 PM

The Early Modern Jewish Parliament: The Council of Four Lands in Poland

Adam Teller, Brown University

Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT

4:00 PM

Tuesday, August 17th
9:00 AM

Communication and community : multiplex networks in the 18th Century Sephardi Diaspora

Evelyne Oliel Grausz, Université Paris 1 Sorbonne, France

Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT

9:00 AM

10:00 AM

Layered Networks: Functioning Across Communities

Shuki Ecker, Tel Aviv University

Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT

10:00 AM

11:00 AM

Conjugal Disputes at the Jewish Court of 18th Century Altona

Noa Shashar, Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT

11:00 AM

1:00 PM

A Spiritual Community in the Social world: Lurianic Notions of Identity and Inter-subjectivity within the Community

Assaf Tamari, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT

1:00 PM

3:00 PM

Merchants and Rabbis - The Family of Josko of Lviv

Jerzy Mazur, Towson University

Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT

3:00 PM