Constructing and Negotiating Belonging: A Colloquium on Nationalism in the Hebrew Bible and its Afterlives

Chloe Blackshear's picture
Type: 
Call for Papers
Date: 
January 31, 2020
Location: 
Illinois, United States
Subject Fields: 
Literature, Jewish History / Studies, Religious Studies and Theology, Languages, Popular Culture Studies

 

Constructing and Negotiating Belonging: A Colloquium on Nationalism in the Hebrew Bible and its Afterlives

The University of Chicago, March 1–2, 2020

Keynote Speaker: Rachel Havrelock, University of Illinois at Chicago

 

Call for Papers:

 

        Definitions of nationalism have frequently pivoted around a stark binary that distinguishes between nationalism as a force for the development of an exclusionary identity, and nationalism as providing a voice to groups within polities that seek recognition and even independence from an authoritative center. Given the resurgence of nationalist discourse invoking the Hebrew Bible (Trump’s endorsement of Christian nationalist groups like Project Blitz; Yoram Hazony’s The Virtue of Nationalism, winner of the 2019 Conservative Book of the Year award; Kentucky’s recently passed law to place “In God We Trust,” signs in public schools), the call to reassess pervasive narratives of biblical supremacy seems more appropriate than ever. 

        This colloquium-style conference will focus on the expression of nationalism in ancient biblical literature as well as in modern literary expression. Rather than simply re-identifying the many problems with anachronistic language (“nation,” “nationalism”) or once and for all severing any tidy link between ancient, contemporary, or other historical iterations of ‘the nation,’ we will dwell instead on the ideological configurations of modern and ancient texts as well as the ways in which the links between the biblical text and contemporary notions are reasserted. We will address these themes by exploring: 

 

  1. how ancient authors negotiate and construct nationalism; how the Hebrew Bible may be taken to understand or narrate “nationalism,” “nations,” and attendant associations of conquest and belonging. 
  2. the ways authors of modern and contemporary literature have taken up biblical notions of “nation,” (or community, tribe, etc.) in relation to modern concepts and histories of nationalism, whether to reify or subvert such notions or their reuse. 

 

We invite proposals for 25-minute presentations and welcome participation from scholars in fields such as Hebrew Bible, Jewish Studies, Religious Studies, and Comparative Literature. 

 

Possible themes for papers include: 

 

  • Meta-critical biblical scholarship (e.g. links between German history-writing, nationalism and Bible research)
  • Borders/conquest (Joshua; biblical templates for modern and post-modern land divisions; maps; archaeology) 
  • Nation, empire, citizenship (who counts, who decides who counts) 
  • Nationalism and Gender (geographical places figured as women's bodies; maps; women as carriers of statehood, e.g. Ruth, Esther, Rahab)
  • Biblical texts and far-right nationalism, (e.g. Samuel, prophecy) 
  • Subaltern, anticolonial, and anti-imperialist reuse (e.g. Exodus, Samuel, Rahab)
  • Biblical genres and nationalism (e.g. history, narrative, propaganda, poetry, philology) 
  • Memory and the construction of authoritative, collective narratives of the nation 
  • New theorization/terminology drawn from biblical texts 

 

Please send 300-word abstracts to Chloe Blackshear and Cathleen Chopra-McGowan at negotiatingbelonging@gmail.com by January 31, 2020. 

Funding available for travel and lodging 

Contact Info: 

Chloe Blackshear and Cathleen Chopra-McGowan 

Contact Email: 

negotiatingbelonging@gmail.com

Contact Info: 

Chloe Blackshear and Cathleen Chopra-McGowan 

Contact Email: