Academic Gatherings

In tandem with the theme of its fellowship year, the Katz Center organizes conferences, symposia, and other gatherings to promote scholarly exchange and intellectual collaborations. Highlights of each year include:

The Joseph and Rebecca Meyerhoff Lecture series

Established in 1996, the annual Joseph and Rebecca Meyerhoff Lecture honors the memory of Joseph and Rebecca Meyerhoff, parents of Eleanor Meyerhoff Katz, wife of Herbert D. Katz, and important philanthropists who supported numerous and enduring civic and Jewish causes. The series brings to Penn preeminent scholars for a campus talk meant to enrich the experience of Katz Center fellows and open up the fellowship theme to the broader university community.

Past Meyerhoff Lectures

  • 2019–20  Microhistory and Global History
  • 2018–19  Jews, Muslims, and Modernity
  • 2017–18  Jewish Thought and Scientific Discovery in Early Modern Europe
  • 2016–17  Is Man a 'Sabbatical Animal'? Giorgio Agamben, Franz Rosenzweig, and AJ Heschel
  • 2014–15  Regaining Jerusalem: Eschatology and Slavery in Jewish Colonization in 17th-Century Suriname
  • 201314  Cristobal Mendes alias Abraham Franco Silveira: The Puzzling Saga of a 17th-Century Converso
  • 2012–13  Jews, Friars, and Beguines: Narrating the History of Thirteenth-Century Europe
  • 2011–12  "Jetzt Judenfrei" ("Now Free of Jews"): Being a Tourist in Nazi-Occupied Poland
  • 2010–11  Converting Canvas: Christian Art's Struggle with Judaism from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance
  • 2009–10  Old Worlds, New Mirrors: On Jewish Mysticism and Twentieth-Century Thought
  • 2008–09  The Military as a Jewish Career in Modern Europe
  • 2007–08  Saint Stephen's Bones: A Chapter in the History of Jewish-Christian Relations in Late Antiquity
  • 2006–07  Defining the Karaites: Between Self-Perception and Scholarly Evaluation
  • 2005–06  Exile, History, and the Nationalization of Jewish Memory
  • 2004–05  People of the Land, People of the Book: The Bible and Israeli Identity
  • 2003–04  Fences and Neighbors: Jews and Muslims at the Last Millennium
  • 2002–03  A Medieval Accusation Made Modern: Reassessing 'Ritual Murder' in Jewish History
  • 2001–02  The Dark Forward of Time: the Holocaust, History, and Fiction
  • 2000–01  Jewish Art and Jewish History: The Universalist Tradition
  • 1999–2000  Born Under Saturn: Astrology, Magic, and the Construction of Jewish and Christian Identities in Early Modern Europe
  • 1998–99  Did German Jews Assimilate? Revisiting German Jewish History
  • 1997–98  Writing the History of the Shoah: Some Old/New Dilemmas
Penn Museum Bull Head

The Martin Gruss Colloquium

Planned by the fellows themselves for the end of the academic year, the Martin Gruss Colloquium is a capstone moment for every fellowship year,  sharing the research of the fellows and expanding their conversation to include other perspectives and voices from within and beyond the field of Jewish Studies.

The Katz Center also host various other conferences and symposia, usually open to the university community and often in partnership with other academic units at Penn or elsewhere.

Past Gruss Colloquia

  • 2019–20  The Jewish Home: Boundaries, Disorder, and Power
  • 2018–19  Order, Reorder, and Disorder: Jews and Muslims Encountering the Modern Era
  • 2017–18  Jewish Thought and Scientific Discovery in Early Modern Europe
  • 2016–17  Expanding Jewish Political Thought: Beneath, Between, and Beyond the State
  • 2015–16  Reason and Its Discontents: Exploring Affect in the Imagination in Jewish Culture and Beyond
  • 2014–15  Doing Wissenschaft: The Academic Study of Judaism as a Practice, 1818–2018
  • 201314  Transformations of Jewish Culture in Early Modern Europe
  • 2012–13  Patterns of Relations: Jews, Christians, and Muslims in the 13th Century
  • 2011–12  Jews and Journeys: Travel and the Performance of Jewish Identity
  • 2010–11  Taking Turns: New Perspectives on Jews and Conversion
  • 2009–10  Secularism and Its Discontents: The View from Jewish Studies
  • 2008–09  Jews, Commerce, and Culture
  • 2007–08  Jewish and Other Imperial Cultures in Late Antiquity
  • 2006–07  Religious Communities in Islamic Empires
  • 2005–06  The Jewish Book: Material Texts and Comparative Contexts
  • 2004–05  Modern Jewish Literatures: Language, Identity, Writing
  • 2003–04  Challenging Boundaries: Histories and Anthropology in Jewish Studies
  • 2002–03  Jewish History and Culture in Eastern Europe
  • 2001–02  Jewish Biblical Interpretation in Comparative Context
  • 2000–01  Modern Jewry and the Arts
  • 1999–2000  Hebraica Veritas? Christian Hebraists, Jews, and the Study of Judaism in Early Modern Europe
  • 1998–99  Dialogues with the Past and Present: Jewish Cultural Formation from the Middle Ages to the Enlightenment
  • 1997–98  Text, Artifact, and Image: Revealing Ancient Israelite Religion
  • 1996–97  Divergent Centers: Shaping Jewish Cultures in Israel and America
  • 1995–96  Learning and Literacy in the Judaic Tradition: A Comparative and Interdisciplinary Inquiry
  • 1994–95  History—Remembered, Recovered, Invented: Historical Memory and the Construction of Tradition
Penn Museum Ram in the Thicket