“Community, Family, and State as Home in Jewish Cinema” Panel Area of the Film and History Conference

Lawrence Baron's picture
Call for Papers
March 20, 2017 to July 1, 2017
Wisconsin, United States
Subject Fields: 
Jewish History / Studies, Communication, Film and Film History

For most of their history, Jews have been defined by their communal religious observance, kinship, and the status accorded them by the states where they resided.  They were born into the first two, but the latter varied depending on whether they belonged to a Jewish state in the Biblical era or Israel after 1948 or in Diasporic societies where they either were subject to discrimination or equal citizens. 


How have belonging or dispossession been depicted in documentary and feature films about Jews?  In what ways have these narratives shifted with generation or geography? This area invites 20-minute papers (inclusive of film clips) and panels examining how the bonds of belonging are tested by conflicts within Jewish communities or families, how Jews have been accepted or ostracized by Christian, Muslim, and secular states, and how they have treated the ethnic, gender, and religious minorities within Israel.


Topics include, but are not limited to:


Biblical stories about familial and dynastic rivalries or the consequences of exogamy, such as: Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, The Story of Ruth, Samson and Delilah, Solomon and Sheba.


Films about Jewish immigrants and their assimilation or formation of enclaves in predominantly Gentile countries where they have settled, such as: Hungry Hearts, The Jazz Singer, Street Scene, Hester Street, Avalon, Little Jerusalem, Solomon and Gaenor, Sofie.


Documentaries about Jewish belonging, expulsion, or persecution in the Diaspora, such as: Germans and Jews, Being Jewish in France, Tinghir-Jersusalem, We Were So Beloved, Expulsion and Memory, Aliyah Dada, Image before My Eyes, On the Banks of the Tigris.


Films about the “absorption” of Jews from non-Askenazi cultures into Israeli society or their efforts to preserve their ethnic identities, such as: Sallah, Kazablan, Sc’Chur, Live and Become, Turn Left at the End of the World, Baba Joon.


Films about female and LGBTQ Jews struggling to make Israeli society and Jewish communities more inclusive, such as Trembling Before God, Yossi and Jagger, Out of the Dark, The Secrets, Kadosh, Arranged, Gett. Felix and Meira, The Governess, Zero Motivation.


Films about the struggle for equality among Arabs and other non-Jewish minorities in Israel society, such as: Ajami, Hamsin, The Other Brother, Jaffa, The Attack, A Borrowed Identity, Sandstorm, Lemon Tree.


Proposals for complete panels (three related presentations) are also welcome, but must include an abstract and contact information, including an e-mail address, for each presenter. For updates and registration information about the upcoming meeting, see the Film & History website (www.filmandhistory.org).


Please e-mail your 200-word proposal to the area chair:


Laurie Baron

San Diego State University




Contact Info: 

Lawrence Baron


Contact Email: