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Jewish Folklore and Ethnology Section
The Jewish Folklore and Ethnology Section of the American Folklore Society promotes studies of Jewish folklore, folklife, and ethnology. The section meets annually at American Folklore Society (AFS) conferences. It also sponsors panels, forums, and special events at the conferences.

It cooperates with the Committee on the Anthropology of Jews and Judaism of the American Anthropological Association, and the two organizations jointly sponsor the Jewish Cultural Studies Book Series published by Littman  and Jewish Folklore and Ethnology Listserv (jfe).

Section dues make it possible for the Jewish Folklore and Ethnology Section to produce an annual publication, which all members who pay section dues receive as a benefit of membership, and to sponsor a prize for outstanding student work.

For information, contact the convener:

Simon J. Bronner
Penn State Harrisburg
777 West Harrisburg Pike
Middletown PA 17057-4898 USA
717/948-6039 phone; 717/948-6724 fax
sbronner@psu.edu

Current dues are 25 USD per year for a regular membership and 12 USD for under-waged membership (for students, retired members, low-income members, etc.). For information on joining the section, contact the American Folklore Society or click on the link for joining the section at the bottom of this page.

Sephardic Bar Mitzvah ceremony, Brooklyn, NY (photo: Simon Bronner)


Publications

The section sponsors a book series, Jewish Cultural Studies, published for the AFS by the Littman Library of Jewish Civilization, and edited by Simon J. Bronner. Dues-paying members of the section receive a copy of the books as a benefit of membership. The cost of membership is priced below the retail cost of individual volumes.

The purpose of the series is to present thematic volumes interpreting Jewish cultures ethnographically and historically around the globe, and exploring the idea of Jewish culture as it has been constructed, symbolized, produced, communicated, and consumed in diverse contexts. Themes of volumes will be interdisciplinary, drawing particularly on research in folklore studies, anthropology, cultural history, and sociology.

The series has an international editorial board, including:

Haya Bar-Itzhak, Haifa University, Israel
Dan Ben-Amos, University of Pennsylvania, United States
Jonathan Boyarin, Cornell University, United States
Michael Brenner, University of Munich, Germany
Matti Bunzl, University of Illinois, United States
Mikhail Chlenov, State Jewish Maimonides Academy, Russia
Fernando Fischman, University of Buenos Aries, Argentina
Sander Gilman, Emory University, United States
Harvey E. Goldberg, Hebrew University, Israel
Karl Grözinger, University of Potsdam, Germany
Ruth Ellen Gruber, Independent Scholar, Italy
Felicitas Heimann-Jellinek, Independent Scholar, Vienna, Austria
Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, New York University, United States
Andras Kovacs, Central European University, Hungary
Mikel Koven, University of Worcester, United Kingdom
Suzanne D. Rutland, University of Sydney, Australia
Joachim Schlör, University of Southampton, United Kingdom
Jeffrey Shandler, Rutgers University, United States

Laurence Sigal, Independent Scholar, Paris, France
Steven Siporin, Utah State University, United States
Edward van Voolen, Jewish Historical Museum, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Jonathan Webber, Jagiellonian University, Krakow, Poland
Jenna Weissman Joselit, George Washington University, United States
Marcin Wodzinski, University of Wroclaw, Poland

Previous volumes have included:

Jewish Cultural Studies, Vol. 3Jewishness: Expression, Identity, and Representation (2008)

Jews at Home: The Domestication of Identity (2010)

Revisioning Ritual: Jewish Traditions in Transition (2011)

For more information contact:

Jewish Cultural Studies
Editor Professor Simon J. Bronner
The Pennsylvania State University
777 West Harrisburg Pike
Middletown, PA 17057-4898 USA, sbronner@psu.edu

Until 2000, the section previously published a journal Jewish Folklore and Ethnology Review and newsletter Jewish Folklore and Ethnology Newsletter. These publications are available online in full-text through the HathiTrust Digital Library.

Requests for permission to reprint work from the publications of the Jewish Folklore and Ethnology Section should be directed to Simon Bronner. Please provide specifics about which material would be used, a description of the proposed outlet, and the place of the reprinted material in that outlet.

                    Jewish Cultural Studies Volume 4 cover              

 

The current volume is Framing Jewish Culture: Boundaries and Representations (Jewish Cultural Studies, Volume 4, 420 pages ISBN: 978-1-906764-08-1 £21.95 / $34.95).  This volume considers issues of boundaries and borders between Jews and non-Jews on a global scale, examining both the thinking behind the rhetoric of boundaries and the manifestation of difference in social life. Collectively, the contributors to this volume expand our understanding of the social dynamics of framing Jewish identity. For more information, including the table of contents, see http://littman.co.uk/cat/jewishculturalstudies-4.html.

Prizes

The Section sponsors the Raphael Patai Prize in Jewish Folklore and Ethnology through an endowed fund to honor an outstanding unpublished essay in Jewish folklore and ethnology by a student. The prize has an annual deadline of July 1. For more information contact the section convener Simon J. Bronner at sbronner@psu.edu. The criteria for the award are:

  1. Approaches to the subject cover folkloristic and ethnological perspectives and Jewish content.
  2. The length of papers are of publishable essay length–usually 8-12,000 words. The preferable citation style is in in-text citation style with a reference list at the end.
  3. The transmitted unpublished paper was written by a student in the present or previous year, and not submitted for publication.
  4. Papers can be submitted electronically (in Word) in English by July 1 to to sbronner@psu.edu.
  5. Submitters should identify the university and department where the paper was prepared, course and professor/supervisor information, and give their contact information, including postal and email address.                                            

The winner in 2013 was Kate A. Reyes for her essay, "Demonology and Magic Ritual Texts in the Dead Sea Scrolls,” completed at the University of St. Andrews, Scotland.  The paper was part of her Honours dissertation under the supervision of Professor James R. Davila. Ms. Reyes graduated with an MA in Biblical Studies and Hebrew. Honorable mentions are awarded to Matthew Singer, doctoral candidate in American Studies at the Pennsylvania State University, Harrisburg, for his essay "Folk Art from the Peddler’s Bed: The Creative Legacy and Historic Context of Jewish Fraktur Scriveners Justus Epstein and Martin Wetzler,” under the supervision of Professor Simon J. Bronner and Tsila Zan-Bar Tsur, who recently received her Ph.D. in folklore and traditional Jewish culture at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, for her essay "The Bathhouse and the Mikveh: Transformative Spaces in the Life of Jewish Women in Afghanistan,” under the supervision of Professor Hagar Salamon.

The winners for 2011 were Magdalena Luszczynska (University College London) for "Father-Son Relationships in Medieval Ashkenaz" and Amy Milligan (Penn State Harrisburg) for "Wearing Many Hats: Head Covering Practices of Orthodox Jewish Women." (see vol. 4 of the Jewish Cultural Studies Series).
 
The winner for 2009 was Jillian Gould (folklore, Memorial University of Newfoundland) for "Shiva as a Creative Ritual in an Institutional Home” (see vol. 3 of the Jewish Cultural Studies Series).
 
The winners for 2007 were Gabrielle Berlinger (folklore, Indiana University) for "770 Eastern Parkway: Brooklyn Brownstone, Sacred Space" (see vol. 2 of the Jewish Cultural Studies Series) and Irit Koren (gender studies, Bar-Ilan University) for "The Power of Discourse: Issues of Gender and Social Control Regarding Changing the Jewish Wedding Ritual" (see vol. 3 of theJewish Cultural Studies Series).
 
The 2005 winner was Eve Jochnowitz of New York University for "Dining Out in Russian-Jewish New York." (see The Restaurant Book: Ethnographies of Where We Eat [2007])
 
The 2004 winners were Elly Teman (cultural anthropology, Hebrew University, Jerusalem) for "The Red String," a study of the visual symbolism of red strings worn by contemporary Jewish Israelis (see vol. 1 of the Jewish Cultural Studies Series), and Roni Weinstein (Jewish history, Hebrew University, Jerusalem) for "Marriage Rituals Italian Style: A Historical Anthropological Perspective on Early Modern Italian Jews," a study of the distinctive Italian Jewish formation of a rite of passage in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries (see Marriage Rituals Italian Style, 2004).

Honorable Mentions were awarded in 2004 to Erica Lehrer (anthropology, University of Michigan) for "Repopulating Jewish Poland--In Wood," and Nina Spiegel (Jewish history and dance history, Stanford University) for "Cultural Formulation in Eretz Israel: The National Dance Competition of 1937."

For information on contributing to the endowment fund for the Raphael Patai Prize, please contact AFS Executive Director Timothy Lloyd.

Click here to join the Jewish Folklore and Ethnology Section. Click here to pay section dues.

 




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American Folklore Society
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