In recent years the regional perspective has gained more significance in historical research in early modern and modern periods. As a result of this shift regional studies have not only become a field for historians focusing on the description of “small homelands” but a tool for researching broad social and economic process.
The regional perspective is hardly ever used in early modern Jewish studies. It is obvious that traditional terms like “Ashkenaz”, “Sfarad” or “Polin” are not enough precise in order to adequately describe the complex social, religion division of the Jewish community in the early modern period. For this kind of research concepts of national states and national borders are not fitting as well.
In our conference we would like to focus on the functioning of different Jewish regions in the in the East Middle Europe in isolation from the traditional political borders. We understand Jewish region as a “area of action” created and performed by the Jews. Adopting this research perspective enables us speak about different issues of the Jewish historical experience. We are particularly interested in economic activity, religious movements, languages and literature, book production and book market, the relations between different Jewish social groups, family – ties as well as local autonomic Jewish government. In our reflections and discussions special emphasis will be given on the following subjects:
- The question of how Jewish regions are constituted
- Ties between different Jewish regions
- “Jewish” vs “Christian” regions
- The perception of Jewish regions by Jews and Christians
- Regional Identity vs Broader Identity
The chronological framework comprises the late Middle Ages and the Early Modern Period. The geographical framework is the Polish – Lithuanian Commonwealth and the Holy Roman Empire and the Habsburg Empire. We would like to look at Jewish regions form different perspectives. Thus we welcome abstracts from different scholarly disciplines, e. g. history, religious studies, anthropology, cultural studies, linguistics, economic studies.
The conference will be held at the German Historical Institute in Warsaw and at the University of Warsaw form 6 – 8 November 2018. The conference language is English.
Please send your abstract (250–350 words) via email to Maria Cieśla (firstname.lastname@example.org) by 15th June 2018. Participants will receive a notification concerning the acceptance of their application by the end of June.