Katz Center Fellowship Program in Advanced Judaic Studies

2020-21: America’s Jewish Questions

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During the 2022–2023 fellowship year, the Katz Center turns its attention to the study of law between the 18th and 21st centuries, an age of transition from a world of empires to the modern age of the nation-state and international law. This year’s fellowship aims to encourage new research in the study of Jews and the law across disciplinary perspectives, a focus that includes Jewish law as it has developed in modern contexts as well as the role of Jews within other legal cultures.

The Katz Center invites applications from scholars working on projects related to this focus, including legal scholars alongside scholars approaching the study of law from other fields and disciplines. The Center seeks to draw from a wide range of methodological and disciplinary approaches, including but not limited to social, legal, and intellectual history, anthropology, literature, religious studies, jurisprudence, political science, the social sciences, and philosophy.

Relevant research might address one or more of the following questions:

  • What is the place of law in modern Jewish religious life, thought, and culture?
  • How has modernity impacted Jewish law as it developed since the 18th century, and how in turn has Jewish legal culture shaped Jews’ experience of modernity?
  • What role have Jews played in the development of other legal systems and cultures, imperial, national, and international?
  • What role have Jews played as legal actors—as lawyers, judges, scholars of laws, criminals, and witnesses?
  • What are the legal consequences of the creation of the state of Israel and its subsequent history? What is the place of Jewish law in a democratic state? In a state that involves or rules over large non-Jewish populations, citizens, and non-citizens?
  • What is the legal legacy of the Holocaust?
  • What does a focus on gender reveal about the workings of law and/or how has law impacted the construction and expression of gender?
  • What can the field of Jewish studies contribute to broader discussions about human rights, religious freedom, and other legal concepts relevant for understanding the political status and lived experience of religious and ethnic minorities?
  • How does law intersect with other domains of culture within Jewish experience such as ethics, economics, the military, philosophy, architecture, literary and artistic expression?

Katz Center fellows are provided with the time and resources needed to pursue their individual projects but are also expected to actively engage in an interdisciplinary intellectual community drawn together by seminars, conferences, collaborative activities, and on-going conversations. Applications from scholars worldwide are encouraged. All applicants must hold a doctoral degree or expect to receive it by the start date of the fellowship. Fellows will be expected to take residence in Philadelphia where they will be provided with an office and full library privileges.

Fellowship Eligibility

The Katz Center invites applications from scholars in the humanities, social sciences, and the arts at all levels. Applicants must hold a doctorate degree or expect to receive it 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 or the Katz Center 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.

As a scholarly institution striving for diversity and inclusivity, the Katz Center is committed to creating an intellectual space welcoming to all scholars regardless of nationality, religious orientation, racial or ethnic identity, gender identity and expression, professional rank, or institutional affiliation.

Fellowship Requirements

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. The Center’s requirements are residency in Philadelphia, attendance of weekly lunches on Mondays and weekly seminars on Wednesdays, one seminar presentation, as well as 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.

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 2022–2023 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. To be eligible for the Israel Institute/Katz Center fellowship the applicant must be an Israeli citizen with a doctorate degree in a field or subject related to Israel and/or 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. Details are included in the fellowship application at the link below.

For additional questions, please visit the Frequently Asked Questions page.

New Opportunity for Penn Faculty

The Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies, a part of the University of Pennsylvania, announces a new opportunity aimed at Penn faculty who want to become involved in the Center's annual fellowship program but cannot commit to the full-time participation that the regular fellowship requires.

Penn faculty may now apply for a course release from the Katz Center, made possible with support from the Office of the Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences. Recipients of the course release will be expected to participate in the Center's weekly seminars on Wednesday afternoons and weekly lunches on Mondays from 12:00–1:00 pm, and to make a presentation of their research during the year. Participation in other fellowship activities is strongly encouraged but not required.

Faculty may apply for a single course release per semester for one or both semesters during the year (one course per semester). Please note that those seeking a full release from teaching for the year or a semester should apply to the Center's regular fellowship program. The fellowship runs from September to the end of April. Please note that the Katz Center is off-campus, at 420 Walnut Street.


Any Penn faculty member with regular teaching responsibilities within or beyond the tenure track is eligible to apply. Applicants’ proposed research should be related to the fellowship’s annual theme.

Interested applicants should secure the support of their department chair and are advised to consult well ahead of time with their departments to avoid conflicts in scheduling classes and other obligations. In partnership with SAS, the course release will be paid to the faculty’s department and used solely for course replacement.

How to Apply

Before applying, please review the Katz Center’s fellowship details to confirm your research is relevant to the annual theme.

To submit an application, send an email directly to fellowship coordinator Carrie Love at carrielo@upenn.edu, with the following information in Word or PDF format:

  1. A 1–2-page (max. 1000 words) project proposal that briefly explains how your research relates to the theme for the upcoming fellowship year, details relevant academic background that prepares you to work on this subject, and envisions what you intend to accomplish by participating in the program. Please also specify whether you seek a course release in the fall, the spring, or for both semesters.
  2. A recent CV.
  3. A brief letter from your chair indicating support for your application.

We will confirm receipt of your application and reserve the right to seek additional information if needed.

Applications for the 2022–23 fellowship year will be accepted through February 1, 2022 and recipients will be notified by March 31, 2022.

Date de candidature
1 année académique
Humanités : Anthropologie & Ethnologie, Architecture et urbanisme, Art et histoire de l'art, Etudes classiques, Histoire, Littérature, Numérique, Big Data, Philosophie, théologie et religion
Sciences sociales : Démographie, Economie, Géographie, Identités, genre et sexualités, Science politique, Sciences de l'information et de la communication, Sciences environnementales, Sociologie