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  Call for Papers  

AJS 46th Annual Conference
December 14-16, 2014 • Baltimore, Maryland
Hilton Baltimore

  Deadline for submitting a proposal has passed.  
I. Message from the Program Chair
II. What's New This Year
III. Division Chairs and Suggested Themes
IV. Instructions for Submitting a Proposal
  A.   In a Nutshell
  B.  Do's and Don'ts
  C. Session Sponsorship
  D. Session Formats
  E.  Online Submission of Proposals
  F.  Graduate Student Presentations
  G.  Proposals from Scholars/Professionals Outside of Jewish Studies
  H. Session Chairs
  I. Sessions Seeking Participants/Papers Seeking Sessions
  J. The Evaluation Process
V. Special Events
  A.  Films
  B.  AJS Honors Its Authors
  C. Jewish Studies and Digital Humanities Workshop
VI. Pre-Registration, Badges, and Program Books
VII. Hotel, Meals, and Travel
VIII. Cancellation Policy
IX. Conference Standards
X. Travel Grants and Awards
XI. Program Committee
XII. Important Dates and Deadlines

I. Message from Program Chair

Dear Colleagues:

As Vice President for Program, I am delighted to issue the Call for Papers for the 46th Annual Conference of the Association for Jewish Studies, to be held December 14-16, 2014 at the Hilton Baltimore in Baltimore, Maryland. We welcome proposals for panels, seminars, roundtables, meetings, individual papers, digital humanities presentations, and lightning sessions. Responding to your feedback, we're excited to introduce several new features to this year's meeting. Please read about them below.

The deadline for submission of proposals is Wednesday, May 7, 2014. All proposals must be submitted electronically via the AJS website. This site will be available for submissions from Wednesday, March 26, 2014 through Wednesday, May 7, 2014. As part of the submission process, you will be asked to select the division, or subject area, in which you would like your proposal considered. Your proposal will then be forwarded to the appropriate Division Chair. You will find detailed instructions for submission below. You will also find more detailed information about the conference (FAQs, travel information, the proposal evaluation process) on the AJS website. If you have any questions about the program that are not covered in this Call for Papers, please feel free to be in touch with me. The AJS staff ( will be happy to respond to any questions regarding membership, payment, and other organizational matters.

The AJS has arranged for extraordinary rates at the Hilton Baltimore and is currently raising funds to offer an extensive Conference Travel Grant Program. Please check the AJS website regularly for up to date information to assist you in your travel plans.

I am looking forward to an exciting and intellectually stimulating conference in Baltimore.

Pamela S. Nadell (
Vice President for Program

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II. What's New This Year

We've read your feedback on conference surveys, and we've listened to your suggestions in emails and phone calls. And now we are very pleased to introduce new policies and formats to this year's meeting to make it an even better conference! Here are the changes; click on the links to read about them in detail:

  • AJS members may appear on the program no more than twice, and then only in two different roles in the conference (i.e. as chair and paper presenter OR as roundtable discussant and paper presenter OR as seminar participant and panel respondent, etc.). You may choose any combination of two roles (chair, discussant, paper presenter, respondent, moderator, lightning presenter, digital humanities presenter, seminar participant).
  • Lightning Sessions are now open to all AJS members (not just to graduate students).
  • We welcome "flipped" panels, in which papers are posted and read in advance, and the panel meeting at the conference is used for discussion rather than the first presentation of the research.
  • All sessions will be 90 minutes in length. In traditional panels, organizers should plan for three 20-minute papers and a chair, OR three 15-minute papers, a chair, and a respondent.  This will leave about 30 minutes for Q and A.
  • We are pleased to introduce two new divisions: a Pedagogy Division and a Wild-Card Division (this year's theme: Jews and Labor)

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III. Division Chairs and Suggested Themes

From those listed below, please identify the subject area in which you wish to have your proposal considered. Note: Several divisions include suggested themes for exploration. These suggestions do not preclude proposals on other topics.

1. Bible and the History of Biblical Interpretation

Literature of the Bible; world of the Bible; early post-Biblical literature (Apocrypha, Pseudepigrapha, Dead Sea Scrolls); interpretation of the Bible from antiquity to modern times; all areas of critical biblical scholarship and history of interpretation.

2014 Suggested Themes:

  1. The Documentary Hypotheses: Alive and Kicking, Moribund, or Dead?
  2. A Tribute to Baltimore: What is William Albright's Legacy in Biblical Studies?
  3. Canon: Is it a Useful Concept for Describing the Relationship Between Jewish Texts?

Division Chair: Jason Kalman (HUC-JIR)

2. Rabbinic Literature and Culture

We encourage the submission of papers in the following areas: Talmudic Law, Midrash, Aggadah as well as analyses of Rabbinic texts from the end of the Second Temple through the time of the Geonim. Please note: this division is historically delineated. It recognizes that some proposals may touch on aspects of the Second Temple period and/or medieval Jewry, but submissions that focus primarily on the Second Temple period or the medieval era or later should be submitted to other divisions. Please contact the Division Chairs for recommendations of appropriate placement.

2014 Suggested Formats:

  1. Roundtable discussion focused on one rabbinic text: We encourage the chair of a roundtable discussion to propose a text, encourage several others to present readings of that text for approximately ten minutes each and then to moderate a discussion that would involve the audience. The text should be circulated in advance by the chair.

  2. Lightning Sessions for Graduate Students: We encourage graduate students who are working on similar aspects of rabbinic literature and culture to join together and present their “work-in-progress” in ten-minute presentations. Graduate students can either choose a chair or panel of scholars to comment on their work, or turn to division chairs (see below) to aid in choosing an appropriate chair.

  3. Seminar: We are planning a seminar on reading rabbinic texts through the lens of gender, exploring the forms that gender takes. Papers will be ten minutes in length and should focus on a specific text. Participants will receive papers and texts in advance. If you have any interest in participating in this seminar or in organizing another one, please contact us in advance of the deadline for submission.

  4. Submitters are strongly encouraged to consider the full range of formats in preparing proposals. Proposals for roundtables, lightning sessions, and "flipped" panels are especially encouraged

2014 Suggested Themes:

  1. Masculinities
  2. Organizing Metaphors in Rabbinic Literature
  3. The Category of Religion in Rabbinic Literature
  4. Rabbinic Ritual
  5. Rabbis and Others: Boundaries and Influences

Division Co-chairs:

Marjorie Lehman (Jewish Theological Seminary)

Chaya Halberstam (King's University College at the University of Western Ontario)

3. Yiddish Studies

Yiddish literature and its history.

2014 Suggested Themes:

  1. Biography and autobiography in Yiddish and Yiddish Studies
  2. Spectacle in Yiddish drama, poetry, and prose
  3. Yiddish studies and the digital archive
  4. Hasidim as subject and object in Yiddish culture
Division Chair: Marc Caplan (The Johns Hopkins University)

4. Modern Jewish Literature and Culture

American Jewish literature; European Jewish literature; modern Sephardic literature; and their cultural contexts.

Division Chair: Julian Levinson (University of Michigan)

5. Modern Hebrew Literature

Hebrew literature from the Haskalah on, including contemporary Israeli literature.

Division Chair: Shachar Pinsker (University of Michigan)

6. Medieval Jewish Philosophy

Jewish philosophy and its history in medieval and late medieval times.

2014 Suggested Themes:

  1. Philosophers, Mystics, and Negative Theology
  2. Understudied Medieval Jewish Philosophers
  3. Philosophical Allegory and Biblical Exegesis
  4. Medieval Philosophy and Poetry

Division Chair: Aaron Hughes (University of Rochester)

7. Jewish Mysticism

Literature, history, and phenomenology of Jewish mysticism in all periods.

The Jewish Mysticism division is looking for proposals on a wide array of topics. It is especially interested in papers or panel proposals relating to the below themes.

2014 Suggested Themes:

  1. Sefer ha-Bahir: paper proposals on all aspects of Sefer ha-Bahir
  2. Manuscripts and Kabbalah Studies: paper proposals on the role of manuscripts in Kabbalah research
  3. Kabbalah and Theology: paper proposals considering the relationship between Kabbalah and theology
  4. Hasidic Kabbalah: paper proposals on the kabbalistic dimensions of Hasidic thought

Division Chair: Jonathan Dauber (Yeshiva University)

8. Modern Jewish Thought and Theology

Jewish philosophy and thought in modern times; modern Jewish religious movements

2014 Suggested Themes:

  1. Modern Intellectual Figures and History
  2. Jewish Theology
  3. Jewish Thought and Jewish Texts
  4. The Future of Reform and Conservative Judaism in Light of the 2014 Pew Report

Division Chair: Steven Kepnes (Colgate University)

9. Jewish History and Culture in Antiquity

History of the Jews and Judaism in the Persian, Greco-Roman, and Byzantine periods. This division particularly encourages submissions related to secular Jewish history in antiquity, encompassing such topics as agricultural or administrative histories, economics, including labor and trades, etc.

2014 Suggested Themes:

  1. Digital Media and Ancient Judaism: Recent years have seen the continued expansion of digital data sources for work on Judaism in late antiquity. For the most part, however, these have been limited to the publication of transcribed text or of images of manuscripts or objects. We invite proposals for a digital media workshop on innovative new approaches that utilize this data in significant ways or that build new research tools. Proposals might include digital critical editions and text analysis tools, network analysis (e.g. of named persons in a corpus), or data- and text-mining of large datasets.

  2. "Rabbinization": The tendency of recent scholarship to leave open the question of rabbinic authority, or even to minimize it altogether, has pushed off the question of rabbinization. Yet there is a consensus that by the Middle Ages, there was an established rabbanite culture. What do we mean by rabbinization, when did it happen, and how do we know identify it.

  3. Diasporas in Antiquity, East and West. Where did the populations of the Jewish diasporas in antiquity come from? How much endogamy or exogamy can we or must we assume? Were Jews well-integrated or marginalized in diaspora communities, and how did this vary between communities and over time? How much cultural interchange took place with the "host" societies? These and other topics on diasporas in antiquity are welcome.

Division Chair: Hayim Lapin (University of Maryland)

10. Medieval and Early Modern Jewish History, Literature, and Culture

Jewish history in Muslim and Christian realms; Jewish literatures including but not limited to belles lettres, piyyut, and exegesis; medieval and early modern Jewish art, artifacts, and architecture.

Division Chair: Adam Shear (University of Pittsburgh)

11. Sephardi/Mizrahi Studies

The Sephardi/Mizrahi Studies division seeks submissions that are area specific and interdisciplinary on the history and culture of Sephardi and Mizrahi Jewry. The division also encourages scholars to propose sessions that bring together junior and senior faculty.

2014 Suggested Themes:

  1. Gender and Women in the Sephardi/Mizrahi World
  2. World War I in the Sephardi/Mizrahi World

Division Chair: Adriana Brodsky (St. Mary's College of Maryland)

To contact other scholars working on Sephardi/Mizrahi Studies, please see the website of the AJS Sephardi/Mizrahi Studies Caucus:

12. Modern Jewish History in Europe, Asia, Israel, and Other Communities

The Modern Jewish History in Europe, Asia, Israel, and Other Communities division welcomes papers and panels that present case studies of individual Jewish communities in these regions, or that adopt comparative approaches to shed new light on methodological or theoretical themes.

2014 Suggested Themes:

  1. Historicizing the short Jewish twentieth century, 1914–2000
  2. Religious traditionalism and political activism in the post-Holocaust era
  3. Jews, Israel and international civil society
  4. Jews and the new histories of capitalism

Division Co-chairs:

James Loeffler (University of Virginia)

Kenneth Moss (The Johns Hopkins University)

13. Modern Jewish History in the Americas

This division seeks proposals that deal with some aspect of Jewish history in the Americas.

2014 Suggested Themes:

  1. Patronage, Privilege, and Constructions of Jewish Power
  2. Global and Transnational Perspectives on American Jewish History
  3. Spirituality and Religious Experimentation

Division Chair: Lila Corwin Berman (Temple University)

14. Israel Studies

Multi- and interdisciplinary studies of Israeli society, culture, and politics.

2014 Suggested Themes:

  1. The growth of the field internationally and its implications for the nature of the Israel Studies
  2. Changing relationships between Israel and the Diaspora (always relevant, but also seemingly undergoing important transformations as we speak)
  3. New research—are we in a “post-post-Zionist” age in the historiography of Israel and Zionism?
  4. Jewish and democratic—is the discourse within Israel changing?

Division Chair: Arieh Saposnik (Ben Gurion University)

15. Holocaust Studies

This year, the Holocaust Studies division encourages topics that examine new sources for research on Jewish responses to persecution during the Holocaust, particularly those that suggest a broader spectrum of Jewish perceptions and actions under Nazi domination. Topics which seek to integrate the study of the Holocaust into the broader spectrum of modern Jewish history by focusing on the continuities and discontinuities of Jewish life and culture before, during, and after the Holocaust are especially encouraged.

2014 Suggested Themes:

  1. New research on defiance and resistance
  2. Jewish life in the camps, ghettos, and forests
  3. Jewish life in the aftermath of the Holocaust in postwar Europe and Israel
  4. Representations of the Holocaust in contemporary culture
  5. Memory and postmemory of the Holocaust

Division Chair: Avinoam Patt (University of Hartford)

16. Jews, Film, and the Arts

Representation of Judaism and Jews in visual art, music, theater, and dance; the role of the arts in Jewish history and civilization. The following themes serve as suggestions and are to be interpreted broadly. Submissions need not be limited to these themes.

2014 Suggested Themes:

  1. State(s) of the Field(s)
  2. Innovation: New Ideas, New Topics, New Approaches
  3. Performance/Analysis: Artist/Scholar Collaboration

Division Chair: Judah Cohen (Indiana University) | (812) 855-0141

17. Social Science

Sociology, anthropology, folklore, political science, and social psychology as applied to Jewish communities.

Division Chair: Shelly Tenenbaum (Clark University)

18. Jewish Languages and Linguistics from Antiquity to the Present

Linguistic, semiotic, or philological studies of Hebrew, Yiddish, and other Jewish languages; language instruction in Hebrew, Yiddish, other Jewish languages.

Division Chair: Norman Stillman (University of Oklahoma) | (404) 727-7942

19. Interdisciplinary, Theoretical, and New Approaches

This division welcomes proposals that cross geographical, chronological, and disciplinary boundaries; considers theoretical approaches; and new methodologies in Jewish Studies.

Division Co-chairs:

Ari Kelman (Stanford University)

Vanessa Ochs (University of Virginia)

20. New! Pedagogy

The pedagogy division seeks individual papers, panels, or roundtable sessions on issues or themes relevant to the theory and practice of teaching Jewish Studies. The pedagogy division is broad in conception and hopes to generate scholarly conversation about teaching both as it relates to the classroom and to questions of curriculum development in the field of Jewish Studies. For example, we welcome proposals about such issues as: identity in the Jewish Studies classroom, both that of teachers and as students; the "flipped classroom"; "hevruta study" and other teaching technologies in a Jewish Studies classroom; language requirements and the Jewish Studies program; teaching autobiography; teaching Israel, etc.

Division Co-chairs:

Lori Lefkovitz (Northeastern University)

David Shneer (University of Colorado Boulder)

21. New! Wild Card Division: Jews and Labor

In January 2014, AJS issued an open call for proposals for its inaugural Wild Card Division. The Wild Card Division, the topic of which will change yearly, is meant to help advance nascent sub-fields within Jewish Studies and to provide a forum for interdisciplinary discussion. This year the Program Committee received a number of excellent proposals.  The AJS congratulates and thanks Dr. Susan Roth Breitzer for designing this year’s successful Wild Card Division on Jews and Labor.

Jews and Labor

Focusing on Jewish labor and working-class studies, this Wild Card Division goes
beyond the already growing sub-field of Jewish labor history in the modern era.  The Jews and Labor Division reflects the growing interest in multiple dimensions of Jewish labor, already evidenced by the recent “Labor Issue” of AJS Perspectives.  This Wild Card Division is especially timely given the heightened awareness, in recent years, of economic inequalities.

The Jews and Labor Division welcomes proposals for sessions and papers exploring Jews and work, labor organizations, and religious perspectives on work.  It calls for submissions exploring historical, literary, religious, and/or social scientific perspectives on work, and the working class in various chronological eras and diverse geographical settings.

Division Chairs: Tony Michels (University of Wisconsin-Madison)

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IV. Instructions for Submitting a Proposal

A. In a Nutshell

We invite proposals for critical analyses of themes, topics, problems, or issues arising from original scholarly research. There are two ways to submit a proposal:

1) as part of a pre-formed session (panel, roundtable, lightning session, seminar);

2) individually (if accepted, to be placed in a panel by the Division Chair or, if a digital media presentation, in the Jewish Studies and Digital Humanities Workshop)

AJS members who are interested in organizing a session, or joining a session that others are forming, may post announcements to the Sessions Seeking Participants/Papers Seeking Sessions.

A list of suggested themes and topics for selected subject areas appears in Part III, under the heading “Division Chairs and Suggested Themes.” Prospective presenters and session organizers are encouraged to consider these suggestions in crafting their proposals.

B. Do's and Don'ts

You may participate up to two times in the conference in two different roles (e.g., present a paper in one panel, serve as respondent on another). We have made this policy in order to ensure the widest amount of participation in the conference; please do not agree to participate in more than two sessions. You may not chair a session in which you are presenting a paper, nor may you submit more than one paper proposal. If you submit more than one paper proposal, AJS will automatically delete the additional proposal(s).

Paper and session proposals that will not be considered for presentation include: papers that have been published or presented in whole or in part elsewhere and sessions that summarize the proceedings of another conference. Sessions may not be organized around recently published books, although they may be structured around arguments and/or methods found in recent scholarly publications. Members interested in promoting their books published in 2014 are encouraged to participate in AJS Honors Its Authors, a special event to celebrate AJS members' publications.

The Program Committee strongly encourages session organizers to create panels with diverse institutional, gender, and professional representation (i.e. no more than two participants from the same institution, mix of junior and senior scholars whenever possible, no all student panels).  Graduate students organizing sessions must invite at least one senior scholar—defined as a tenured professor, an independent scholar with equivalent accomplishments in the field, or an academic professional, i.e. curator, archivist, librarian—to participate, either as a paper presenter, discussant, or respondent. Please be aware, though, that senior scholars may not sit on a panel with more than two of her/his current or recent students. For further information, see section ''Graduate Student Presentations."

C. Session Sponsorship

Session organizers may request to have an academic institution, research center/archive, learned society, or AJS caucus or working group listed in the program book as the sponsor of their session (e.g., if the institution has provided funding for the research being presented, is subsidizing the participation of presenters, etc.). Magazines, journals, websites, foundations, and other non-academic organizations/publications will not be listed as sponsors in the conference program book.

D. Session Formats

Seminars (Submission Checklist)

The seminar format brings together eight to twelve scholars for two to three meetings over the course of the conference. The goal of this format is to allow for sustained discussion of a question or problem, and to take advantage of the presence of a diverse range of scholars at the meeting. Participants WILL NOT read papers in the seminars; rather, the AJS will post papers on its website in advance, for discussion in Baltimore. Each meeting will be 1.5 hours long. Seminars will have the option to meet two or three times over the course of the conference. Seminar organizers may invite individuals personally to participate in the seminar, as well as issue a call for participants on the Session Seeking Participants page of the AJS website. The call for participants should state the issue to be explored in the seminar, and examples of questions that seminar papers may address. The seminar proposal should include a 350-word session abstract that describes the question or problem to be explored, as well as a brief, one-sentence description of the topic each participant will address. All seminar proposals must also include a chairperson. Seminar paper(s) must be available for posting on the AJS website by December 1, 2014.

Performance/Analysis: Artist/Scholar Collaboration (Submission Checklist)

AJS welcomes proposals of dramatic and musical performances, readings, and artistic presentations, to be followed by scholarly discussion with the performer/artist. The purpose of these sessions is to integrate the arts into the AJS conference daytime program, and build connections between performers and the scholars studying their work. The AJS will waive all registration and membership fee requirements for the performers/authors/artists. Scholars in dialogue with the artists will need to pay dues and registration fees, and follow the same procedure as for other session proposals. Session organizers should submit a roundtable proposal; the first part of the abstract should describe the performance, and include a brief bio of the artist(s). The second part of the abstract should detail the commentators, and the perspective they will bring to the discussion. We welcome musical or theatrical performances, poetry readings, and the like. The performance/reading should last no longer than 40 minutes, with the remainder of the time dedicated to discussion. Please note that the AJS can provide basic audio-visual equipment for these sessions (microphone, LCD projector, etc.) but cannot provide lighting, extra sound systems, or exhibit space.

Panels (Submission Checklist)

Traditional panels may consist of either three 20-minute papers and a chair, OR three 15-minute papers, a chair, and a respondent. The chair's role is to introduce the papers, while the respondent's role is to provide about ten-minutes of commentary on the papers. A 30-minute question-and-answer period generally will follow all of the papers. Panels may also choose instead to have short Q and A's after each paper. All panel proposals must include a chairperson (who may also serve as respondent); paper presenters may not chair the session in which they are presenting.

AJS also welcomes "flipped" panels; these are panels in which the papers are posted online by December 1, 2014 and audience members read the papers in advance. Panelists' presentations at the conference focus on highlighting key questions or problems in their papers, and engaging in back-and-forth discussion with audience members and other panelists about their work. "Flipped" panel organizers should clearly state in their panel abstract that they are proposing this format.

All panel organizers must submit a 350-word session abstract that describes the overall questions and goals of the session, as well as abstracts for each paper in the session. The paper abstracts, written by the individual scholars but submitted by the session organizer, should explain the presentation’s purpose, methodology, sources, argument and specific contribution to scholarship in the field. Sample abstracts and tips for writing abstracts can be found on the AJS website.

The Program Committee reserves the right to make adjustments to pre-arranged sessions (i.e., add or remove a paper, change the chair, discussant, or respondent) in response to program needs. The Committee will make every effort to notify the session organizer regarding such changes.

Roundtables (Submission Checklist)

Roundtables are structured discussions revolving around pre-circulated questions; the session consists of three to five discussants and a moderator, who takes a more active role in the session than a traditional panel chair. The roundtable is not a forum for the presentation of short papers; discussants may not read papers and may prepare no more than 3-5 minute responses to the questions being discussed.  The purpose of this format is discussion and interchange among a group of scholars about a debate, question, or issue in the field.  Participants will speak to each other rather than from a podium.  The moderator will pose the questions and control the time given to each discussant to respond.

Those submitting a roundtable proposal must submit a session abstract that describes the overall goals of the session; the questions (usually three or four) that the discussants will address; and the perspective that each discussant will represent  (i.e., a two-three sentence description of each participant’s role, including that of the moderator). Sample abstracts and tips for writing abstracts can be found on the AJS website. Roundtable proposals that do not adequately detail the session’s guiding questions, and each participant’s role/contribution will not be accepted. All roundtable proposals must include a moderator.

Lightning Sessions

Lightning Sessions are an opportunity for five to seven scholars to present short presentations of their work (about five-to-ten minutes each in length). This format is ideal if a group wants to explore a range of perspectives on an issue, get a broad sense of the state of the field on a topic, or offer several different answers to a question or problem. Lightning session organizers must submit a 350-word session abstract that describes the overall questions and goals of the session, as well as abstracts for each paper in the session. The paper abstracts, written by the individual scholars but submitted by the session organizer, should explain the presentation's purpose, methodology, sources, argument and specific contribution to scholarship in the field. Sample abstracts and tips for writing abstracts can be found on the AJS website.

Graduate students also have the special opportunity to submit individual lightning session proposals (i.e. for one five-to-ten minute paper), to be grouped by the Program Committee into an interdisciplinary lightning session. Graduate students should submit a short abstract (150 word max.) describing their proposed presentation, and identifying the rubric in which it fits. Graduate students should also email a CV to the AJS office (, with "Graduate Student CV – Lightning Session" in the subject line. Please also include the following information in the email text: your name, institution, and proposal title. Please note that lightning session proposals cannot be accepted from graduate students who are also submitting a proposal for a traditional session panel.

Jewish Studies and Digital Humanities Workshop (Submission Checklist)

The Jewish Studies and Digital Humanities Workshop is a hands-on, interactive session in which individual scholars or teams of scholars can demonstrate their digital Jewish Studies projects and interact informally with conference attendees. Projects may include research and teaching tools, or born-digital scholarly works of particular interest to Jewish studies professors and students. This workshop will take place during a regular conference time slot. Presenters will be provided a monitor to display their work, and conference attendees will circulate from presentation to presentation. Proposals follow the same format as for other individual presentations, i.e.: a 350-word abstract describing the purpose of the presentation, its use of the digital medium, and its specific contribution to Jewish Studies scholarship, research, or pedagogy. Please note that only open-access and non-profit digital research projects and tools will be considered for the Jewish Studies and Digital Humanities Workshop. Click here for samples of the 2012 workshop presentations.


A limited number of meetings or workshops grouped around a variety of purposes—for example, exploring issues in the field or discussing an ongoing project—are meant to provide a more informal setting for conversations. Such meetings, which usually take place during a breakfast or lunch, might feature a short opening presentation, followed by attendee discussion. Members may contact Conference Manager Natasha Perlis ( to discuss ideas for such gatherings.

E. Online Submission of Proposals


All proposals must be submitted online via the AJS website no later than Wednesday, May 7, 2014 at 5:00 p.m. EST. There are no exceptions to this procedure, and it applies to individual paper proposals, full session proposals, and proposals for other formats. You must use the self-contained, complete, and secure process directly linked to the AJS website. Proposals submitted by any other means or emailed directly to Division Chairs will not be evaluated.

Required Payments

The first step in the submission process is payment of dues for the 2014–2015 membership year (September 1, 2014 to August 31, 2015) together with the appropriate conference registration fee via our online secure server. The AJS is unable to consider individual or session proposals submitted without these fees, and you will not be able to access the submission site, nor have your name added to a session proposal, if you have not completed payment for these items. Pre-payment of both membership and conference registration fees is meant to ensure the highest level of commitment to presenting at the conference if your proposal is accepted. If your proposal is accepted and you then cancel your participation, you eliminate a spot in the program that could have been taken by another scholar. If your proposal is not accepted and you do not plan to attend the conference, please notify the AJS office by November 14, 2014 and your conference registration fee will be refunded in full; membership dues are not refundable. See Section VII, Cancellation and Refund Policy for further information.


When submitting your online proposal, you will need to identify the subject area division (see part III, “Division Chairs and Suggested Themes”) in which you choose to have your proposal considered. You may submit your proposal to one division only. However, Division Chairs will work to place worthy proposals in appropriate divisions if such proposals cannot be placed in the division to which they were submitted. Please contact Division Chairs or the Vice President for Program with any preliminary questions regarding the best placement of your proposal.


The core of the proposal is a 350-word abstract, which is to be entered directly on the web. Please exercise great care in formulating and editing your abstract, following the University of Chicago Manual of Style or MLA Style Sheet guidelines. Sample abstracts are available on the AJS website. All abstracts of accepted proposals will be made available online. Submitters may not change the paper title or abstract after the submission deadline.

Individual Paper Proposal (Submission Checklist)

Those who are submitting a paper individually (not as part of pre-formed sessions) are required to submit a 350-word abstract, in addition to their contact information, division, and A.V. request. The abstract for an individual paper must explain the presentation’s purpose, methodology, sources, argument and specific contribution to scholarship in the field. In composing your abstract please bear in mind the time allotted for your presentation (15 minutes for a paper in a standard panel). The Division Chairs and the Program Committee will assign accepted proposals to a session.

Jewish Studies and Digital Humanities Workshop Proposal (Submission Checklist)

Those who are submitting a proposal for inclusion in this workshop are required to submit a 350-word abstract, in addition to their contact information. The abstract should describe the purpose of the presentation, its use of the digital medium, and its specific contribution to Jewish Studies scholarship, research, or pedagogy. Presenters will automatically be assigned a digital monitor. Click here for samples of the 2012 Digital Media Workshop presentations.

Graduate Student Lightning Session Proposal (Submission Checklist)

Graduate students who are submitting a proposal for inclusion in a Graduate Student Lightning Session should submit a 150-word abstract describing their proposed five-minute presentation (a summary of research, a specific case-study, or a methodological problem). Please note that proposals cannot be accepted from graduate students who are submitting a proposal for a traditional panel session.

Session Proposal (Submission Checklist)

For those proposing full panels, roundtables, seminars, and meetings, the organizer must create a session proposal with a 350-word abstract that explains the session's rationale and scholarly significance, and also lists the names and, in brief, contributions of each participant. Session organizers are responsible for submitting all other relevant information—paper titles, abstracts, AV requests, etc.—for each session participant. The abstract for each paper in a session, written by the individual scholar but submitted by the session organizer, should explain the presentation's purpose, methodology, sources, argument and specific contribution to scholarship in the field. Session organizers must make sure that each participant has paid his/her respective membership dues and conference registration fee, or else they will not be able to add that person to their session. Please be aware that AJS now offers the option for session organizers to apply for fee waivers for participants outside the field of Jewish Studies. Session organizers should also direct graduate student participants to submit their CV to the AJS office (, with "Graduate Student CV" in the subject line. Graduate students should include the following information in the email text: name, institution, proposal title, session title, and division to which it was submitted. Session organizers should be aware that the Program Committee reserves the right to make adjustments to pre-arranged sessions (i.e., add or remove a paper, change the chair, discussant, or respondent) in response to program needs. The Committee will make every effort to notify the session organizer regarding such changes.

Audio-Visual Equipment

The AJS is able to provide one of the following pieces of equipment per presenter: CD player, TV/DVD player, and a limited number of LCD projectors. A maximum of two pieces of equipment will be provided to pre-formed sessions. The online proposal form will ask you to specify your audio-visual needs and to explain how the requested equipment will be used in your presentation or session. Given the high cost of audio-visual equipment rental (e.g., $800 for a LCD projector; $400 for a DVD player/monitor), the AJS cannot guarantee that all audio-visual requests will be accommodated. The best way to ensure accommodation of your request is to provide a detailed and compelling need for its use (e.g., why the material cannot be shared by handout). Using digital projectors to present outlines of talks or simple text displays does not constitute a compelling need. Those using LCD projectors must provide their own laptops. The AJS cannot accept audio-visual requests after May 7, 2014. Do not request a piece of equipment unless it is essential for your presentation; unnecessary equipment adds significantly to the cost of the conference and registration fees, and limits the resources the AJS can allocate to other conference programs (i.e., travel grants ).


You must complete the entire online sequence in order for the AJS office to receive your proposal. Confirmation of your proposal’s receipt will be sent to your email address (this is different from the email confirming online payment). If you do not receive the submission confirmation, your proposal may not have reached the AJS office. In this case, please follow up with the AJS office to confirm receipt. Please submit your proposal in a timely fashion as the website for submitting proposals will close at 5:00 p.m. EST, on Wednesday, May 7, 2014.


The AJS office will notify you of decisions by email in August. Other than the email acknowledgment at the end of the online proposal process, there will be no other acknowledgment of receipt before August. If your proposal is not accepted and you do not plan to attend the conference, the AJS will refund your conference registration fee upon request until November 14, 2014. Membership dues are not refundable.

F. Graduate Student Presentations

The AJS welcomes graduate students at all stages of their training to submit proposals for all conference formats.

Graduate students are required to submit a CV as part of the application process, and are strongly encouraged to consult with their advisor about the best time in the course of their studies to submit a proposal (e.g., after a certain amount of coursework, while engaged in dissertation research, or when on the job market), and which format would be most appropriate (e.g., a fifteen-minute paper or a five-minute lightning session presentation). Graduate students submitting proposals must email their CV to the AJS office (, with "Graduate Student CV" in the subject line. Please also include the following information in the email text: your name, institution, proposal title, session title, and division to which it was submitted.

Please note that the Program Committee will not accept panel sessions in which all presenters are students; graduate students organizing sessions must invite at least one senior scholar—defined as a tenured professor, an independent scholar with equivalent accomplishments in the field, or an academic professional, i.e. curator, archivist, librarian—to participate, either as a paper presenter, discussant, or respondent. Please note that senior scholars may not sit on a panel with more than two of her/his current or former students. Several special travel grants are available to graduate students on a competitive basis (see part X, “Travel Grants”).

G. Proposals from Scholars/Professionals Outside of Jewish Studies

The AJS welcomes scholars whose primary research is not within Jewish Studies but whose work has a direct impact on Jewish Studies and whose participation would enhance the annual meeting. A reminder: in order to submit a proposal and present at the conference, scholars outside the field must be or become AJS members.

New! The AJS will waive the membership fee requirement for a limited number of session participants who are not academics or who would not otherwise become members of the AJS (e.g., journalists, authors, filmmakers, etc.), and whose participation is considered essential for the integrity of the session to which s/he was invited. Requests for fee waiver should be submitted by the session organizer to the AJS  at no later than April 25, 2014. Please put “Fee Waiver Request” in the subject line. In the text of your message, please explain the session that you are organizing, the role of the proposed participant, and why her/his role is so important to the session. Anyone receiving a membership-dues waiver will still be expected to pay the conference registration fee (at the member rate).

H. Session Chairs

The AJS seeks volunteers to serve as chairs of panels in their fields. If you are interested in serving as a session chair, please register yourself as a chair volunteer in the online conference submission site. You will be contacted if an appropriate spot becomes available. If you require a chair position for institutional funding, make sure to identify yourself as a volunteer by the submission deadline. Graduate students may not serve as session chairs. Further chair guidelines are available on the AJS website.

I. Sessions Seeking Participants / Papers Seeking Sessions

Session organizers seeking participants for their proposed panels, roundtables, meetings, or seminars may list their proposed session topics on the AJS website, along with their contact information. Those interested in joining one of the sessions may contact the organizer directly about submitting a proposal. Likewise, papers seeking sessions may list their proposed topic and contact information. Those interested in organizing a session around one of the paper proposals may contact the author. For more information, go to The page includes instructions on how to submit a proposed topic and contact a session organizer/paper author.

J. The Evaluation Process

Proposals will first be sent for review to the Division Chair or Division Co-chairs. The Division Chairs, who are experts in the field, are appointed by the Vice-President for Program. Division Chairs evaluate proposals, for both individual presentations and pre-formed panels, on the basis of several criteria, including contribution to the field, originality, methodology, and clarity of expression. When evaluating an individual proposal, chairs will recommend either acceptance or rejection. If recommending acceptance, they will then try to place the proposal in a session with other individual submissions. Division Chairs also evaluate session proposals and make recommendations for acceptance or rejection.

Division Chairs then rank order the sessions they have recommended accepting. This includes both pre-formed sessions and sessions the chairs formed out of individual papers submitted. The Program Committee, a multi-disciplinary panel of experts in Jewish Studies, meets in late May/early June to review these recommendations and make final decisions. Other senior scholars in the field may also assist in this final review process. Their names will be posted online once they have been selected. The Program Committee takes into consideration topics covered by all the divisions, as well as the limitations of time and space. Taking into account the entire gamut of proposed papers and sessions across divisions, the Program Committee attempts to find a place for individual papers that the Division Chairs accepted but could not place into sessions.

Please Note: The AJS office staff does not make acceptance/rejection decisions regarding proposals but serves as the liaison between the Program Committee and applicants regarding the status of their proposals, and ensures that all application requirements (e.g. payment of dues and fees) have been met.

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V. Special Events

A. Films

The AJS will screen a select number of short and feature-length films at the conference. If you would like to suggest a film for screening or submit a film for consideration, please contact Professor Olga Gershenson (University of Massachusetts Amherst), chair of the Conference Film Committee, at

B. AJS Honors Its Authors

The AJS invites its members who have published books in Jewish Studies and related fields in 2014 to submit their book information for listing in a special brochure, to be shared with conference attendees at a coffee reception in honor of AJS authors on Monday, December 15, 2014. Authors, who must be AJS members, should submit information about their book into the online submission form (available soon!).

C. Jewish Studies and Digital Humanities Workshop

The AJS will host a workshop at the conference, where scholars may present research projects, research tools, teaching tools, and other digital projects. The workshop will be informal and interactive, with several digital monitors stationed in one room, allowing presenters to share their projects with small groups as people circulate from station to station. This workshop is intended to share innovative work in the digital humanities conducted by AJS members, as well as to encourage Jewish Studies scholars to mentor eachother in the incorporation of digital media into their teaching and research. Members interested in participating in the Jewish Studies and Digital Humanities Workshop should submit a proposal through the online submission form. Please note that only open-access and non-profit digital research projects and tools will be considered for the workshop.

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VI. Pre-Registration, Badges, and Program Books

For presenters, chairs, moderators, discussants, and respondents, full payment of both membership dues and the advance conference registration fee is part of the submission process. This requirement is to ensure the highest level of commitment to presenting at the conference if your proposal is accepted. Click here for the AJS Refund policy. Other attendees may pre-register until 5:00 p.m., November 14, 2014 via the AJS website. Thereafter registration will take place on-site at the Baltimore Hilton. Attendees must display badges at all times for admission to conference sessions and the book exhibit. Program books will be distributed on site at the conference hotel to all participants. A downloadable pdf of the program book will be available on the AJS website in early November. Those wishing to have the program book mailed to them first-class in advance of the conference may order one for $10.00 on the AJS website.

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VII. Hotel, Meals, and Travel

The Baltimore Hilton has extended the AJS an extraordinary rate of $119.00 per room, single and double occupancy, not including taxes, with a limited number of rooms for students at $109.00. Reservations can be made by calling the Hilton reservations line at 1-800-HILTONS; it is very important for your reservation to be included in the AJS room block, so please make sure to ask for the Association for Jewish Studies rate.

To make reservations online, please click here for the AJS rate. Students only: please click here for the student room rate. Please do not use the regular website or other hotel booking sites to make your reservation; the only way to access the special AJS reduced rate is through our group's special reservations links.

Kosher meals will be catered by Catering by Alan Weiss, under the supervision of Star K of Baltimore. We look forward to having many attendees dining together throughout the conference, and especially at the Gala Banquet on Sunday, December 14, 2014. All meal reservations must be made by November 14, 2014.

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VIII. Cancellation and Refund Policy

Once a paper or session is submitted, it is expected that the author(s) will present their paper at the conference if the proposal is accepted. Participation in the conference is highly competitive, and a cancelled presentation eliminates a spot that could have accommodated another scholar. As a courtesy to AJS members, conference presenters, and attendees, the AJS strongly discourages presenters from canceling their participation in the conference. Please notify the AJS directly by September 19, 2014 if you are scheduled to participate in the conference program in any capacity and have a compelling need to cancel. No-shows (those who cancel without prior notification) will not be allowed to submit a proposal for the 2015 conference.

The refund policy is as follows: For program participants (chairs, presenters, discussants, etc.): requests for refunds of conference registration fees and meal payments must be received by September 19, 2014. No refunds will be issued after that date. For non-participants, requests for refunds of conference registration fees and meal payments must be received by November 14, 2014. No refunds will be issued after that date. All refunds will be charged a $20.00 processing fee ($10.00 for students), with the exception of refunds requested by those whose papers were not accepted. Membership dues are not refundable.

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IX. Conference Standards

In order to maintain a professional and comfortable environment for its members, conference registrants, and staff, the Association requires certain standards of behavior. These standards include, without limitation, courtesy of discourse, respect for the diversity of AJS members and conference attendees, and the ability to conduct business and participate in the AJS conference in a non-threatening, collegial atmosphere. AJS members and conference participants who do not uphold these standards may jeopardize their membership or conference participation.

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X. Travel Grants and Awards

Since 2009, the AJS has awarded more than $110,000 in travel grant funding to its members. The AJS remains committed to supporting wide participation in the conference. In particular, the AJS seeks to support untenured faculty, graduate students, unemployed scholars, and international scholars who receive little to no institutional support for conference travel. The AJS will be posting Travel Grant opportunities and deadlines by August 2014. Please check back for further information. If you wish to contribute to the AJS Conference Travel Grant Fund, please click here.

1. AJS Women's Caucus Prize for Innovative Scholarship in Gender and Jewish Studies. What is the next step for Jewish feminist and gender studies? In what ways can recent theoretical trends in feminist, gender, queer, and trans-theory impact the various disciplines within Jewish studies? In recognition of the importance of these questions, the AJS Women's Caucus invites submissions for its Prize for Innovative Scholarship in Gender and Jewish Studies. The prize will be given in recognition of a paper presented at the 2013 AJS annual meeting within any discipline of Jewish studies that opens up new areas of inquiry or advances Jewish feminist or gender studies. The prize carries a cash award of $500. To be considered, papers must have been prepared especially for presentation at the 2013 AJS annual meeting. Papers should be submitted electronically in publishable form (with full citations and bibliography) by April 14, 2014. Submissions should be sent to the Women's Caucus at

2. Cashmere Subvention Grant in Jewish Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies. The AJS Women's Caucus announces a grant of $1000 to support scholarly publication in the area of Jewish Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies. Book proposals to be considered for the grant must make a clear argument for the ways in which the work represents a contribution to any of these fields and a subfield of Jewish Studies. Grant is open to scholars at all stages of their careers. While a contract for publication is not required at the time of application, funds can only be disbursed once a contract with a publisher is executed. In the hope that the subvention grant might help a scholar to secure a contract, the expectation is that the contract will be in hand within 12 months of receiving the award. To apply, send ONE file (PDF or DOC) which includes your book proposal, sample chapter, and CV to, by April 30, 2014.

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XI. Program Committee

Pamela Nadell (American University), chair
Sarah Benor (HUC-JIR)
Jay Berkovitz (UMass, Amherst)
Lisa Leff (American University)
Laurence Roth (Susquehanna University)
Adam Teller (Brown University)

Sonia Beth Gollance (University of Pennsylvania), student representative
Jonathan Sarna (Brandeis University), ex officio
Rona Sheramy (AJS), ex officio

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XII. Important Dates and Deadlines

March 26, 2014:

Proposal submission site available

May 7, 2014:

Deadline for submission of conference proposals

August 2014:

E-mail notification of conference proposal status

November 14, 2014:

Deadline for meal requests and pre-conference registration

November 14, 2014:   

Deadline for securing hotel room at Baltimore Hilton at reduced conference rate

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