Jews, Race, and Religion
A free online lecture series beginning January 2021 will focus on intersections of race and religion, drawing lessons from the history of antisemitism, examining the role of Jews in the racialized culture of the United States, and exploring the role of race in Jewish identity.
We are in the midst of what might be a major new chapter in the history of race relations in the United States, with untold numbers of protestors demanding that the country confront abiding race-based injustice. Among the consequences of this movement is a wider recognition of how race and racism are interwoven into all aspects of society, including government, education, health, and religion.
In an effort to deepen public understanding of race, this series uses the prism of Jewish experience to examine intersections of race and religion, drawing lessons from the history of antisemitism, examining the role of Jews in the racialized culture of the United States, and exploring the role of race in Jewish identity. Leading scholars in Jewish Studies, Critical Race Studies, and Religious Studies will share insights and research that deepens the conversation about race, racism and anti-racism in contemporary society, both American and Jewish.
All events in the series will take place on Thursdays, 1:30–2:30 pm ET. Audiences are invited to attend individual talks or the entire series. Register here to receive Zoom details.
Is the Talmud Racist? | Jan 28
Mira Wasserman, Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, & Steve Weitzman, University of Pennsylvania
Zakhor: Alex Haley’s Roots, Scriptures, and the Race for America | Feb 4
Richard Newton, University of Alabama
Jews and the Religion of Whiteness | Feb 11
J. Kameron Carter, Indiana University at Bloomington
Religion and White Supremacy in the United States | Feb 18
Sophie Bjork-James, Vanderbilt University
Black Power, Jewish Politics: Reinventing the Alliance in the 1960s | Feb 25
Marc Dollinger, San Francisco State University
Limpieza de Sangre and the “Clash of Civilizations”; Or, What Hath the Soul to Do with Racialized Bodies? | Mar 4
Sylvester A. Johnson, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Race, Class and Privilege: How Latino Jews Navigate Life in the United States | Mar 18
Laura Limonic, College of Old Westbury at the State University of New York
“We are the Ethiopian Hebrews, Brothers to the Fair White Jew”: Race, Religion, and Jewish Identity in Harlem | Mar 25
Judith Weisenfeld, Princeton University
Funny—You Don’t Look Jewish! | Apr 8
Helen Kim, Whitman College, & Noah Leavitt, Whitman College
The Diaspora Within: Mizrahi Jews from Minneapolis to Jerusalem | Apr 15
Claris Harbon, Al Akhawayn University
Purity Politics and the Problem of Jewish Solidarity | Apr 22
Shana Sippy, Centre College
This program is offered in conjunction with the Penn course Religious Studies/Jewish Studies 207 taught by Steven Weitzman, director of the Katz Center, but is meant to work as a stand-alone series, free and open to the public. It is being organized by the Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies at Penn and the Center for Jewish Ethics, an initiative of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College.
The organizers are grateful for the support of the University of Pennsylvania Campaign for Community and Penn’s SNF Paideia Program .