A new Centre for Global Jewish Studies has been created at the University of Warwick.
Co-directors Dr Anna HŠjkovŠ and Professor Stephen Shapiro say that the Centre’s goal is to increase awareness, promote conversation, and lead research into the richness and variety of Jewish heritage and experience across time and place.
Its founding directors aim to look beyond academia and engage the local community and the public at large with Global Jewish Studies in creative and innovative ways.
Professor Shapiro said: -We believe this will be one of the first centres in the UK which explicitly dedicates itself to an open horizon.-
-We want to welcome the diversity that is the Jewish life and history and hope to place the Centre at the heart of a welcoming community of established and emerging researchers, non-academic university personnel, and the wider public.-
The Centre is committed to presenting the full ethnic and racial diversity of the Jewish community in its work, foregrounding diverse Jewish voices and points of view, as Dr HŠjkovŠ stated: -We also plan to undertake comparative studies and engagement with other groups sharing or studying related histories of marginalization and discrimination.-
Dr HŠjkovŠ said: -The Centre will focus on researching Jewish history and culture in its richness and heterogeneity. We plan to showcase research that demonstrate how Jewish history can cast light on current political events, whether it is a Russian attack on Ukraine or the abolishment of Roe vs Wade. A significant amount of British research on Jewish studies has a focus on either catastrophes or on Europe, but in 2022, we want to present and celebrate Judaism in its global context.-
Now that the Centre has been given formal approval the co-Directors have begun the work of planning a busy slate of activities.
The centre’s initial themes will be on the -seen/unseen- and -heard/unheard- of Jewish community and culture. This includes looks on the historic invisibility of British Jews and Jews of Color and revival of Yiddish and new Holocaust/Shoah studies. Early plans include a programme of symposia, conferences, day schools, and seminar series, and curated televisual, visual, dramatic, and sonic performances, podcasts, and exhibitions.
In the longer term Professor Shapiro and Dr HŠjkovŠ plan to:
¬∑ foster collaborative research programmes with research groups and centres in the field in other parts of Europe, in North and South America, Africa, and Asia, as well as other parts of the world where such research centres or groups may now exist or emerge.
¬∑ form networks with other groups and centres in museums, galleries, libraries and other centres for research in aspects of global Jewish history and culture outside the University sector.
¬∑ facilitate the dissemination of research findings by staff, students and visiting speakers and make Warwick a significant hub in Jewish studies.
¬∑ encourage postgraduate and undergraduate research in Global Jewish Studies.
¬∑ promote the study of Warwick’s own historical relationship with Jewish people and cultures, from its founding to the present.