CfP Deadline Extended to Feb. 7, 2022

Jacob Labendz's picture

CONTACT: Meetings and Movements of Jewish People and Artifacts across Cold-War Boundaries (symposium)

We are seeking participants for a three-day symposium in Youngstown, Ohio to deliver papers exploring the meetings and movements of Jewish people and artifacts across Cold-War boundaries. We intend for the proceedings to form the basis of an edited volume and are already in discussion with a university press.

Date: Sunday, May 22 - Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Location: Youngstown State University, Youngstown, OH

Organizers: Rebekah Klein-Pejšová (Purdue) and Jacob Ari Labendz (YSU)

Sponsors: The Center for Judaic and Holocaust Studies at YSU & The Jewish Studies Program at Purdue University

More Info: Webpage (

Questions and Submission:  


We will cover the cost of accommodations, airport transfer to and from Youngstown, breakfasts and two dinners. There is no conference fee. Six travel grants of up to $500 are available. Priority will be given to graduate students, overseas scholars, and precariously employed instructors/researchers (i.e., non-tenure-track or tenured).


The political discourses of the Cold War, and of the first decades of reflection following the regime changes in Central Europe in 1989 and the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, portrayed a world divided by ideology and bifurcated by militarized borders. We seek to explore areas and moments of contact between Jews and Jewish communities across Cold-War boundaries, with the goal of deepening our understanding of the Cold War as a global phenomenon, and of shared cultural patterns across its divides. We aim to include works which cover a broad geographical scope, including the USSR, but without centering experiences with that state. Proposals pertaining to southeastern and central Europe, as well as to capitalist regions beyond the USA are desired.

Topics may include the meetings, frameworks, and strategies of individuals and organizations, as well as the circulation of artifacts and capital. We are interested in how local, national, and bloc politics conditioned the varied initiatives and experiences of stakeholders, while also widening our focus to appreciate what so many instances of cross-boundary “contact” may teach us about the Cold War, in this case, with specific attention to Jewish politics, culture, and life in the postwar world.

Scholars working on questions outside the fields of statecraft and community organization are encouraged to apply, including those researching areas where Jewish cultures and politics intersected with the concerns of other communities and family life. 

We seek to include scholars at all career stages, including advanced graduate students (ABD only). We are committed to achieving diversity among participants. Minoritized scholars are encouraged to apply.

Finally, we would like to draw your attention to a roundtable scheduled for the December 2021 meeting of the Association for Jewish Studies, which will introduce and explore some of these themes. (Attendance will not affect acceptance into the symposium.)

TO APPLY, please send a proposal of no more than 250 words to by February 7, 2022. Please also attach a CV of no more than two pages. We will send invitations to participate by February 25, 2021.