New Frontiers in Contemporary Jewish Life: 

Cultural Expansions, Encounters, and Experiments

 

Applications are due November 11, 2024 

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Contemporary Jewish life constitutes an ever-expanding cultural landscape, teeming with multiple possibilities for doing and being Jewish. Individuals, groups, and institutions are imagining and pushing forward new Jewish formations to create and inhabit previously uncharted territories. It is to these new frontiers of Jewish life that the Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies devotes its fellowship program in 2025–26.

What does it mean to live, worship, and affiliate Jewishly in this diversified landscape? How is Jewishness expressed and contested across media and geographies of the contemporary moment? What can we learn about the present and future of Jewishness by looking at forms of community and creativity in marginal, interstitial, and expected spaces, including those in the frontier zones between the religious and the secular, the center and the periphery, the Jewish and the non-Jewish, or that exist in the virtual realms of the imagined and the digital? The Katz Center invites applications from scholars pursuing research projects animated by these and related questions.  

The Center supports individual research projects while encouraging conversation and collaboration through seminars, conferences, and other forms of intellectual exchange. The fellowship is open to scholars from across the globe and at all career levels from newly minted Ph.D.s to senior scholars. The Katz Center welcomes proposals coming from any disciplinary perspective, including anthropology, sociology, the study of Jewish literature, art, or film, history, education studies, ethics, religious studies, political science, and digital humanities-based research. In light of events in the last year, the fellowship is also open to applications focused on the study of experiences and new realities in Israel and for Jews globally in light of October 7 and its aftermath.

Selected fellows are provided with a stipend for a year or a semester, the time and resources needed to pursue their individual projects (including an office, computer, and library privileges at the University of Pennsylvania), and are expected to actively engage in the intellectual life of the fellowship community. All applicants must have a doctoral degree in hand by the start of the fellowship. Fellows are expected to live in Philadelphia for the term of their fellowship which can run for the entire academic year (September–April) or for a single semester.

More information is included in the Katz Center application

Find answers to frequently asked questions here. For other inquiries please contact Marci Seder at sederm@upenn.edu.

 

Special Opportunity for Early Career Scholars

In an effort to create the possibility of a second year of support for early career scholars, the Katz has partnered with Ben-Gurion University of the Negev to offer early career scholars without a tenure track position an opportunity to use the Katz Center application process to also apply for a second-year fellowship in 2026–27 at BGU in Beersheva, Israel. This second-year fellowship, offered by BGU’s Center for the Study of Conversion and Inter-Religious Encounters (CSoC), will be in the context of a different cohort, on the wider theme of New Frontiers in Contemporary Religious Life.

More information is included in the Katz Center application and will soon be available on the website of CSoC.

Opportunity for University of Pennsylvania Faculty

The Katz Center offers course relief aimed at Penn faculty in the School of Arts and Sciences who want to become involved in the Centers annual fellowship program but cannot commit to the full-time participation that the regular fellowship requires. Applications are due on February 10, 2025. Find the details on how to apply here

For additional questions about the Penn Faculty Fellowship, contact Steve Weitzman at wsteve@upenn.edu.