Jewish Life in Modern Islamic Contexts 


In 2018–2019, the Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies at the University of Pennsylvania devotes its fellowship to the study of Jews in modern Islamic contexts. 

The fellowship will support scholarship on Jewish life, culture and thought as these have developed in modern times across North Africa, the Levant, the Arabian Peninsula, and Central and South Asia. We will question the meaning of modernity beyond the more familiar European, American, and Israeli contexts and welcome research projects that address topics from the sixteenth century and later.  

The goals for the year are to bridge linguistic, geographic, social, and methodological boundaries, to connect the study of the intellectual with the study of the everyday, and to encourage attention to new sources and approaches. We seek applications from a range of disciplinary orientations: history, textual study, anthropology, art history, media studies, and other fields that expand or redefine the parameters of the topic.

Eligible projects may focus on the complex relationships between Jews and their Muslims neighbors, or with members of various other non-Muslim or minority communities in the Islamic world. Also relevant is research that explores Jews’ participation in various forms of local, regional, national, colonial, and imperial forms of governance in modern North Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia, as well as projects focused on gender relations, economic behavior, cultural expression, and religious life as these developed across diverse Islamic contexts.

A New Opportunity for 2018-2019:

With funding from the Israel Institute and in partnership with Penn’s Jewish Studies program, the Katz Center is offering a special teaching fellowship for the academic year 2018-19 meant to coincide with its regular fellows program. The recipient of the Israel Institute/Katz Center fellowship will be a full participant in the Center’s fellowship program, but will also be expected to offer one undergraduate course per semester on an Israel related subject. Stipend amounts are based on academic standing and reflect additional compensation for extra teaching responsibilities. 

To be eligible for the Israel Institute/Katz Center fellowship applicants must be Israeli citizens with a Ph.D. in a field or subject related to modern Israel and/or who is currently employed at an Israeli institution of higher learning or a research center. In addition to fulfilling the requirements of the Katz Center’s regular fellowship program, the successful candidate will offer two undergraduate courses about modern Israel over the course of the academic year.

Applicants seeking to be present at the Katz Center for only one semester are also eligible to apply. In that case, they would only be expected to offer a single course.