Reminder: CfP, Early Modern Workshop (August 17-18, 2021)

Francesca Bregoli's picture

Call for Participants

The 18th Early Modern Workshop 

“Health and Wellbeing in the Jewish Experience”


August 17-18, 2021


The Early Modern Workshop invites proposals to participate in this summer’s meeting on the theme of “Health and Wellbeing in the Jewish Experience” to be held via Zoom. Now in its eighteenth year, the Early Modern Workshop (EMW) brings together scholars from every level of their academic careers, from advanced graduate students to senior scholars, to examine pertinent historical questions based on the analysis of primary sources from the early modern period (approx. 1450-1800). The workshop is marked by its unique format in which presenters pre-circulate primary sources from their areas of interest, in both the original language and the English translation, that have not previously been published. Presenters do not deliver lectures or conference papers, but rather introduce a new text and raise questions for collaborative, seminar-like discussion. The texts are subsequently made available online for wider reading, scholarship, and teaching use. This year, we will be joined by Prof. Sharon Strocchia (Emory) as our keynote speaker.

This year’s theme is “Health and Wellbeing.” While science and medicine have been a prominent feature of examinations of early modern Jewish culture, this workshop theme aims to expand an inquiry into Jewish approaches to applied health and wellbeing. How did early modern Jews think about health and what actions did they take to promote it? Illness, both “routine” and epidemic, was an endemic feature of early modern life, and its impact can be discerned in many aspects of daily, social, communal, and intellectual lifeThe capacious category of “wellbeing” also invites examinations of the ordinary acquisition of the material dimensions of nourishment--through farming and foodways--and of cleanliness and housekeeping. How did Jews understand the relationship between mental and spiritual wellbeing alongside and integral to bodily wellbeing? These themes permeate sources from the period, from state and Jewish administrative decrees and notarial records through rabbinic responsa, medical treatises, and individual egodocuments, and invite an exploration of the technical, practical, and communal dimensions of the maintenance of the body within the body politic. 

Applicants should email a brief CV and 250-word abstract that briefly summarizes the primary source document they propose to present, including both a description of the document and what questions it raises to with the subject line “EMW 2021.”  Graduate students and early career scholars are particularly encouraged to apply. For examples of presentations from previous workshops, see

Proposals are due on Friday, February 19, 2021. 

Applicants will be notified by late March and will be expected to submit a transcribed primary source document (not previously published), a translation of the primary source document, and an introduction with a short bibliography for further reading by June 18, 2021.


Francesca Bregoli, Queens College and The Graduate Center, CUNY (

Joshua Teplitsky, SUNY Stony Brook (


On behalf of the NYC EMW organizing committee:

Elisheva Carlebach, Columbia University

Debra Glasberg, Columbia University

David Sclar, The Frisch School 

Magda Teter, Fordham University