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The Middle Eastern Turn in Jewish Studies

When:We 02-11-2022
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The Dutch Association of Jewish Studies (Nederlands Genootschap voor Joodse Studiën, NGJS) is pleased to announce its annual conference on 2 November 2022, devoted to the theme ‘The Middle Eastern Turn in Jewish Studies’.

The NGJS annual conference brings together researchers in the Netherlands in the field of Jewish Studies to share current research and to jointly reflect on current trends and issues in the field. It further aims to facilitate collaboration between researchers and to connect junior and senior scholars.

In recent years, research on Jews and Judaism in the context of the Middle East has been flourishing. While this ‘Middle Eastern turn’ is commonly applied to scholarship on modern Jewish communities in the Middle East in a narrow sense, the aim of this conference is to broadly reflect on the implications of this ‘turn’ for the field of Jewish Studies.

Is it possible to speak of a ‘Middle Eastern turn’ in Jewish Studies, and if so, what does this turn imply for researchers working in the field of Jewish Studies in the Netherlands? More fundamentally: is the Middle East inextricably tied to Jews and Judaism? How can the Middle East be understood and applied as a framework of reference, be it as a geographical, imperialist, or literary construct, and what rivalling or alternative frameworks can be used?

Researchers are invited to reflect on the implications of a ‘Middle Eastern turn’ for their own field of inquiry, as well as for the diverse field of Jewish Studies in the Netherlands.


The one-day conference includes a keynote lecture by Dr Yair Wallach (SOAS), short presentations by participants in parallel panel sessions, and a closing panel discussion on the theme of the conference and the implications of the papers presentations. The conference will be held in English.