Katz Center Fellowship Program in Advanced Judaic Studies
2020-21: America’s Jewish Questions
The fellowship program brings roughly twenty scholars each year for stays of varying length to conduct research on a shared annual theme within the field of Judaic studies. During the course of the year fellows work on their individual projects and meet in weekly seminars to discuss their ongoing research in the company of their colleagues. Fellows have ample opportunity to be involved in academic life on Penn's campus, and to interact with students; a very few fellowships are teaching fellowships, which allow their recipients to work closely with students in small classes. Fellows conceive and speak in colloquia open to wider academic audiences at the close of each semester, to present their research and open new avenues of inquiry. Selected work from the year is collected into a volume that we publish in partnership with the University of Pennsylvania Press as part of our Jewish Culture and Contexts series.
2020-2021 Call for Applications
The Herbert D. Katz Center at The University of Pennsylvania is now accepting applications for the 2020–2021 academic year on the theme of America’s Jewish Questions.
Over the past four decades, the methods, questions, and sources guiding the study of Jews in the United States have changed vastly even as the central narrative of American Jewish history has shifted only gradually. In particular, the story that "America is different"—that American Jewish experience has been marked by success and progress in contrast to the narrative sweep of European Jewish history—has remained entrenched in scholarship about American Jews.
New attention to the diversity of Jewish practices, politics, and peoples, at home and abroad, compels us to reconsider many of the basic assumptions and concepts that have shaped the study of American Jews. This fellowship year promises multiple entry points into some of the most pressing debates within US history and Jewish history, and intersects with vital questions shaping Jewish cultural studies, literary theory, and social scientific inquiry. Even as the recent rise of anti-Semitism and the emerging challenges to Zionism in the United States have been sources for contemporary Jewish debate, broader trends in Jewish scholarship over the last two decades also suggest the need for critical reinterpretations of American Jewish culture and community.
In an effort to make the most of this moment, the Katz Center invites applications from scholars pursuing research that revises, reframes, or expands our understanding of American Jews, their history, religious life, politics, culture, and experience. Possible topics may include but are not limited to: nationalism and sovereignty in globalizing contexts; religious experimentation and innovation; civil society and the state; constructions of gender, sexuality, and race; systems of jurisprudence and economics; aesthetic and cultural expression; linguistics; mobility, migrations, urbanism, and Jewish life in unexpected places. The fellowship year aims to be in conversation with developments beyond Jewish studies, and applications are welcome from scholars whose work crosses national or religious boundaries and who explore the complex connections that American Jews created throughout Europe, Latin America, Palestine/Israel, and other parts of the world. The Center also welcomes projects that engage in public scholarship or that seek to communicate to new audiences in new ways.
The Katz Center’s goal is to support individual projects, but it aims as well to encourage intellectual community, which means the ideal applicant will be one willing to learn from and work with scholars from other disciplines or focused on other periods, or animated by different approaches.
Additional Opportunity: Israel Institute Fellowship
With funding from the Israel Institute and in partnership with Penn’s Jewish Studies Program, the Katz Center is offering an additional opportunity for a teaching fellowship in 2020–2021 for Israeli scholars. The recipient will be a full participant in the Center’s fellowship program, and will teach one undergraduate course per semester on an Israel-related subject. Scholars doing work that explores American-Israeli relations, Jewish American responses to Israel, the role of Americans in Israel or other related topics are particularly welcome to apply.
To be eligible for the Israel Institute/Katz Center fellowship applicants must be Israeli citizens with a PhD in a field or subject related to modern Israel and/or who is currently employed at an Israeli institution of higher learning or research center. Applicants to this fellowship are required to submit a sample syllabus along with a statement of past teaching experience and teaching style.
The Katz Center invites applications from scholars in the humanities, social sciences, and the arts at all levels.
- Applicants must hold a PhD or expect to receive their degree no later than the start date of the fellowship.
- The fellowship is open to all scholars, national and international, who meet application terms.
- International scholars are appointed under a J-1 visa only (Research Scholar status).
No exceptions can be made, and the Katz Center reserves the right to cancel awards if the recipient is unable to meet this condition. Applicants should consult the international programs office at their current university to confirm eligibility before applying for this fellowship.
Fellows are required to spend the term of the fellowship in residence in Philadelphia at the Katz Center and are expected to pursue their proposed research projects while at the Center.
The Center’s requirements are:
- residency in Philadelphia,
- attendance of weekly lunches on Mondays and weekly seminars on Wednesdays,
- one seminar presentation,
- full participation in fellow-conceived colloquia and symposiums, among other special events.
Fellows are provided with an office, computing and printing access, as well as administrative assistance and full library privileges to the University of Pennsylvania library system, including book delivery.
Application deadline: September 23, 2019
Fellowship recipients will be notified in March 2020