University of Pennsylvania Post-Doctoral Fellowship 2012–2013

University of Pennsylvania
Post-Doctoral Fellowship 2012–2013
Application Deadline: November 10, 2011

Institutionalization, Innovation, and Conflict in 13th-Century Judaism:
A Comparative View

The proposed fellowship year will bring together scholars of Jewish, Christian, and Islamic social and intellectual history. The aim of this interdisciplinary enterprise will be to develop a more fully integrated account of Europe and the Mediterranean basin in the 13th century. Major attention will be paid to the way that material and social changes contribute to the creation of new kinds of political and religious institutions and also to the formation of new intellectual horizons and religious concepts. We will also consider the era’s intellectual ferment and criticism of established norms, both within the framework of traditional religious boundaries and beyond. Diverse phenomena such as the appearance of Kabbalah and the institutionalization of Sufi brotherhoods, the creation of new philosophic and scientific cultures, the rise of universities, the establishment of new mendicant orders, the evolution of medieval Halakhah, and the creation of the Inquisition shall be considered, not only as isolated phenomena but in their mutual interrelations.

Potential questions and topics of investigation:

  • What can be learned from a comparative study of the development of institutions of learning—the university, yeshiva, and madrasa—both of their curricula and of their social environment?
  • What can we learn about the cultural intersection of Jews, Christians, and Muslims in this period by charting the physical migrations of merchants, intellectuals, preachers, and others?
  • How might one explain dynamic trends in European Jewish culture such as the Maimonidean controversy and the public emergence of Kabbalah against the backdrop of Jewish political decline, public assaults on the Talmud, blood libels and other forms of Christian aggressiveness against Jews and other minorities?
  • What does the study of financial institutions and markets contribute to our understanding of Christian attitudes to the Jewish presence in the Christian world as well as to changing notions of Christian identity?
  • How does urbanization relate to new forms of religiosity, in the East and the West?
  • What were various strategies of resistance—to hegemony, heresy, and counter traditions? Under what circumstances do diverse groups ally? Diverge?

The Center invites applications from scholars in the humanities and social sciences at all levels, as well as outstanding graduate students in the final stages of writing their dissertations. Stipend amounts are based on a fellow’s academic standing and financial need with a maximum of $45,000 for the academic year. A contribution also may be made toward travel expenses. The application deadline is November 10, 2011. Fellowship recipients will be notified by February 1, 2012.

Applications are available on our website:
For questions contact: Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies
420 Walnut Street     Philadelphia, PA 19106
Tel: 215-238-1290; fax: 215-238-1540;

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