Twenty First Century Perspectives
International Conference, 20th and 21st June 2012
School of Religion, Philosophy and Classics
University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa
The International Society for the Study of African Jewry (ISSAJ www.issaj.com) invites papers for its second international conference, which is dedicated to a discussion of the evolving state of Black Judaism in the Twenty First Century.
Over the last hundred years, through a variety of religious encounters, some Black African societies adopted or perhaps rediscovered a Judaic religious identity and emerged for a variety of reasons as members of a world-wide Black Jewish/Israelite fraternity.
The religious identity of the Black Jews has been forged through the upheavals of history; from colonialism to independence, from slavery to freedom, from nationalism to the postcolonial present. Issues about Black Judaism in the twenty first century engage with broader narratives of political and social history: Interactions between colonialism and missions, development of nationalism, and rivalry between ethnic and religious identities in the post colonial context. This is also happening at a time of rapid change in technology, and communications. While globalization facilitates a transnational and transcultural diffusion of information, crucial social and technological developments have given Black Jews new ways of connecting with Jews of all sorts throughout the world.
With the development of research on Black Judaism in Europe, Africa and the United States, we seek to encourage debate, and help understand the multiple ways in which Black Judaism―perceived in its broadest sense ― through research in theology, religion, politics and science ― engages with the evolution of the concept of Judaism. Reflecting the international and interdisciplinary nature of ISSAJ we encourage a pluralist approach and aim to provide a platform for mutual exchange between academics and practitioners.
Papers addressing African as well as American and Caribbean contexts are welcome.
Topics at the conference will include (but are not limited to):
¤ Being a Jew in Africa: what does it mean to be a Black Jew in the twenty first century?
¤ The motivation and impetus that have led to the construction of Black Jewish groups in Africa and other countries
¤ Why is it that this period of history witnesses the rise of Black Jewish movements?
¤ Which factors must be taken into account to understand these new dynamics?
¤ What is the convergence of catalysts that have led African religious traditions mingled with Christianity, or sometimes Islam, to be superseded by a new Jewish cultural identity?
¤ Can we begin to define the spiritual content of these varied expressions of Judaism?
¤ To what extent is African and Black Judaism in general being integrated or not into mainstream Judaism?
¤ Is mainstream Judaism indeed a useful concept?
¤ Should these developments be perceived through the prism of religious and ethnic change or continuity?
¤ The impact of interrelations and contacts between Black Jewish communities in Africa and the United States.
¤ The connection between the various expressions of Black Judaism and the development of the Rastafarians and Israelite churches.
¤ The extent to which Jewish support or resistance in Israel and the United States feed into the evolution of Black Jewish communities.
¤ Relations between Black Jews and Black Muslims
¤ Relations with the State of Israel
¤ Relations within Africa between the different African Jewish communities
¤ Genetic population research and its impact upon identity issues
¤ Judaism as a resource of black identity
¤ The role of the Internet in the formation of ethnic and religious identities
¤ Anti-Semitism in the context of Black Jewish communities
Date: Wednesday, June 20 and Thursday, June 21, 2012
Venue: School of Religion, Philosophy and Classics, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa
Deadline for paper proposals: March 10, 2012; full papers May 1 2012
Proposals: proposals should be presented in no more than 200 words
Proposals will be reviewed by ISSAJ Scientific Committee
Send paper proposals to firstname.lastname@example.org
Registration: Presenters will be expected to pay conference fees and ISSAJ membership to the association as well.
¤ ISSAJ Membership
The dues are to be paid for 2 years ( 2012 and 2013)
€ 80 Ordinary Members
€ 80 Associate Members
Application form and payment by Paypal on ISSAJ website www.issaj.com
¤ Conference fees
Early Bird Registration before April 30, 2012: 950 Rand (approximately 93€ or 122$)
Late Registration up to May 31, 2012: 1100 Rand (approximately 107€ or 141$)
Fulltime Students: 750 Rand ( approximately 73€ or 96$ )
Registration and Payment: To open soon on the conference general website http://www.jcrt2012.ukzn.ac.za/ More information on the conference organization (hotel booking etc.) will follow on the conference general website.
Organizers: ISSAJ President: Dr Edith Bruder email@example.com; ISSAJ Honorary President: Prof. Tudor Parfitt; South Africa Coordinator: Prof. Magdel Le Roux.
The ISSAJ Conference will take place within the ‘Joint Conference of Southern African Academic Societies in the Field of Religion and Theology’ (June 18 th to June 22th) which theme will be: Knowing, Believing, Living in Africa: Perspectives from Religion, Theology and Science. It will be hosted by the School of Religion, Philosophy and Classics at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. Participants to the ISSAJ Conference will be free to attend any sessions of the Joint Conference.