CFP International Conference "The Avant-Garde and the Jews", February 2-4 2015 (abstract submission deadline: March 31st 2014)

full name / name of organization: 
Institute of Jewish Studies

The Avant-Garde and the Jews

February 2-4, 2015, Institute of Jewish Studies, University of Antwerp, Belgium

Abstract submission deadline: March 31 2014

Keynote speaker(s) of the conference include: TBA


In the last decade, a number of studies in various disciplines have addressed the role of Jewish topics and motifs taken from the Judaic tradition, as well as Jewish avant-garde movements and Jewish artists belonging to the avant-garde. However, today the phenomenon as such still remains largely uncharted even though the level of participation by Jewish avant-garde artists in the fields of literature, visual arts, theatre and film has been strikingly high. (According to some accounts, over half of the Expressionist poets were of Jewish origin). In literature, Jewish involvement in the avant-garde covers not only avant-garde texts produced in Jewish languages (Yiddish, Hebrew) but also works in other languages by artists of Jewish descent. The reasons for the considerable impact of Jewish artists within avant-garde movements were varied, as were the ways in which the Jewish origin of these artists manifests in their works. In addition to diverse case studies, more general questions regarding the analysis of the phenomena can be addressed: how can Jewish Studies and avant-garde studies benefit from each other as interdisciplinary fields that complement each other's methodological repertoire? What kind of new historical and theoretical perspectives does this approach open in regard to the Jewish avant-garde?

The conference The Avant-Garde and the Jews welcomes contributions on the significance of the avant-garde(s) for modern Jewish culture and the impact of the Jewish tradition on the artistic production of the avant-garde, be they reinterpretations of literary, artistic, philosophical or theological texts/traditions, or novel theoretical openings linked to elements from Judaism or Jewish culture, thought or history.

Proposals may address themes such as the following:

° How did the presence and impact of Jewish artists differ among the various avant-garde movements and periods, and how have Jewish artists been regarded by their fellow artists in the various movements?
° How does the Jewish input in the avant-garde renegotiate the relation between religion and secularity?
° How was the contact between tradition and the ideas of novelty and 'modern' manifested in the avant-garde by Jewish artists?
° In what ways does Judaism figure in the avant-gardist works of Jewish artists? How have motifs from different strands in the Jewish tradition found their way into the avant-garde?
° (How) do the texts by Jews involved in the avant-garde document and comment on the state of Judaism when they were produced and/or at the current time?
° How do Yiddish and Hebrew avant-garde movements relate to each other and to other avant-garde movements in which Jewish participation was significant?

The organisers welcome proposals for contributions (max. 300 words, for a 20 minute paper + 10 minute discussion time). The abstract and a short bio-bibliography should be e-mailed to BEFORE MARCH 31ST 2014.