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Contemporary Jewry is soliciting papers for a special issue entitled
Jews of Color: The Nature, Boundaries, and Politics of Categorical Thinking about Diversity and Inclusion. The understanding of Jewish identity and debates about “who is a Jew” are characterized by a rich diversity of perspectives. These understandings have benefitted from passionate presentations about how Jewish identity can be conceptualized, defined, operationalized, and measured. Keenly aware of the synergy emanating from rigorous scholarly debate, we invite scholars of Jewry to turn their gaze to the subject of diversity among Jews, particularly as regards “Jews of Color.” Examples of possible topics include:
- How do analytical categories and self-identification differ or converge? How much do the personal beliefs of people labelled as “Jews of color” really matter? Do analytical categories shape the lived reality or reflect lived experiences?
- How do the categories of ethnicity, race, and racialized ethnicity carry different meanings to social actors in different contexts?
- How do we build concepts and categories to explain, understand and measure processes of inclusion and exclusion?
- How do the different ways that we define “Jews of color” affect how we count Jews? Is that important?
- Given the global nature of the Jewish people, is it important that the conceptualization of “Jews of color” translates beyond the borders of the United States? Do comparative perspectives carry weight for this topic?
- Does the concept of “Jews of color” vary by the specific context, group or sub-ethnicity? For example, do Latinx/Latin American Jewish immigrants to the United States see themselves as Hispanic? Do Ashkenazim and Sephardim fit into the concept of “Jews of color”?
- Is there a gendered perspective on this issue? A social-legal perspective? A halachic perspective? Are there other perspectives?
Given that Contemporary Jewry is a primary venue for research and theoretical advances in the social scientific study of contemporary Jewry, we see Contemporary Jewry bringing its own voice to the table in this special issue.
We envision this issue as a forum for a diversity of opinions to be heard in a safe scholarly space with respectful reactions. We welcome both professional and personal perspectives on this issue (and their intersections). Both longer and shorter pieces are welcome.
The target date for submission is September 1, 2022. Abstracts may be submitted earlier for feedback, but are not required.