Intersections between Jewish Studies and Israel Studies in the 21st Century

Carsten Schapkow's picture
May 23, 2018 to May 24, 2018
Subject Fields: 
Jewish History / Studies

This conference reflects on the complex dynamic between Jewish Studies and Israel Studies, the growing academic discipline devoted to the study of the modern State of Israel. While Jewish Studies focuses on topics pertinent to Jewish cultures and relations between Jews and non-Jews, Israel Studies addresses a variety of questions dealing with Israel’s vibrant and diverse society, which encompasses many groups, both Jewish and non-Jewish, whose visions of the State of Israel are complex and multi-dimensional.

In particular, we ask whether we are witnessing a shift from Jewish Studies to Israel Studies. To what degree can Israel Studies replace or complement Jewish Studies? What are the chances and risks associated with this shift? This discussion has implications beyond researching and teaching about Israel for instance when some voices have also questioned the influence of foundations and think tanks on the field of Israel Studies. What does this criticism imply or reveal?


Intersections between Jewish Studies and Israel Studies in the 21st Century University of Graz, May 23-24, 2018

(Location: ReSoWi, SZ 15.22)

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

9:00-9:15: Welcome and Opening of the Conference
9:15-9:30: Introduction: Carsten Schapkow (Norman, Okla.), Klaus Hödl (Graz)

9:30 – 10:30: Defining the Field: Bible Studies and Beyond

Alan Levenson (Norman, Okla.): Bible Studies as a Meeting Ground between Jewish and Israel Studies

Yossi Ben Harush (Jerusalem): Using Jewish Thought Methodology in Solving Religion and State Issues in Contemporary Israel


10:30 –11:00: Coffee break:


11:00-12:00: Defining the Borders of Israel Studies

Dzimitry Shavialiou (Minsk): Observing Israel Studies in the Post-Soviet Territory: Views, Trends, and Prospects

Matthew Xiaofei Wei (Shanghai): On the Present Situation of Chinese Studies on Jewry and Israel


12:15 – 13.15: Lunch Discussion with Yaacov Yadgar (Oxford) and Yakov M. Rabkin (Montréal): Intersections between Jewish Studies and Israel Studies in the 21st Century


13:45 – 14:45: The Place of Israel Studies Contested?

Aharon Klieman (Tel Aviv): The Threatened Displacement of Israel Studies
Nathan P. Devir (Salt Lake City): Emerging Jewish Movements and the State of Israel: Interactions and Intersections


14:45 –15:15: Coffee Break:


15:15 – 16:15: The Middle Eastern Angle

Achim Rohde (Marburg): Jewish Studies as Transdisciplinary Scholarship
Johannes Becke (Heidelberg): Israel Studies as Middle East Studies: The Canaanite Case for a Rupture with Jewish Studies


18:30 Dinner


Thursday, May 24 2018

9:00 – 10:00: Fields of Educating about Israel

Yehuda Bitty (Jerusalem): Understanding the Israeli Public Religious Education: A Complex Dynamic between Jewish Studies and Israel Studies

Shlomit Attias (Tel Aviv): Intersecting or Branching out – Israel Education and Jewish Education in the Diaspora


10:00 – 10:30: Coffee Break


10:30 – 12:00: The Future of Israel Studies?

Dani Kranz (Wuppertal): Past, Present, Future: Jews, Israelis and the Study of Both/Either in Germany

Rona Yona (Tel Aviv): Israel Studies without Jewish Studies? The Case of Socialist Zionism

Rhona Seidelman (Norman, Okla.): Israel Studies: Introspection and Global Relevance


12:00 – 13:00: Lunch

13:00 – 13:30 Concluding Discussion

Contact Info: 

Carsten Schapkow, Ph.D.

L.R. Brammer, Jr. Presidential Professor in History

Department of History/Schusterman Center for Judaic and Israel Studies

Director, Center for the Study of Nationalism 

College of International Studies 

The University of Oklahoma



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