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Dartmouth to host conference on gender, Islam and Judaism

From August 7-10, Dartmouth will host scholars from around the world in an exploration of feminist scholarship in Islamic and Judaic studies. Organized by Dartmouth professor Susannah Heschel of the Jewish Studies department, the conference, "Gendered Intersections," welcomes 38 academics from America, Europe and the Middle East and will include three plenary sessions which are free and open to the public.

Susannah Heschel
Susannah Heschel (photo by Joseph Mehling '69)

According to Heschel, addressing Islamic and Judaic studies through the lens of feminism is a novel approach and, in the current political climate, a necessity. "This is the first time that scholars in the fields of Judaic Studies and Islamic Studies have held a joint conference to discuss the state of their fields. By focusing on gender issues, we are calling attention to one of the most vibrant areas of both fields, and to a topic that has become increasingly fraught with political significance."

The conference received funding from the Ford Foundation and brings together a community of scholars who work on gender and feminist theory within the fields of Islamic or Judaic studies. In addition to presentations on existing scholarship, the conference was designed to promote dialogue on current political developments that affect the academy.

The three public sessions will be held in Filene Auditorium in Moore Hall and will focus on "The State of the Fields: The Gender Question," "Gender Studies at Middle East Universities" and "Feminism, Judaic and Islamic Studies in the Politicized American University." Concurrent sessions, which are open only to conferees, will focus on a variety of topics, including Muslim-Jewish dialogue, orientalism, gender and sexuality and feminist views of Zionism and Diaspora.

Kenneth Yalowitz, Director of the Dickey Center, who will serve as a host for the conference's reception, said the importance of the conference is that it will "promote dialog and better understanding between Judaism and Islam at a critical time.  It also features voices, issues and concerns that do not always receive sufficient attention."

By GENEVIEVE HAAS

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Last Updated: 12/17/08