CfP Leo Baeck Institute Yearbook

posted by Katalin Teller on 2009/07/13 11:11

[ Call for Papers ]

Historical scholarship has in recent years placed new emphasis on leisure activities as a research subject with tremendous potential to teach us a great deal about values, social connections, and everyday life. The Leo Baeck Institute Yearbook will devote a section of the 2011 volume to essays on Jewish Leisure Activities in German-Speaking Europe from early modern times to the Nazi period. Deadline for submissions: October 1, 2009.

Although Jewish historians have long understood that Jews engaged in a broad spectrum of free-time activities, there has been remarkably little research to explore this subject for a more precise description and analysis. We hope to examine in detail what Jews did in their leisure time and where they spent that time in order to better understand the dynamics of Jewish life in German-speaking lands.

Our understanding of Jewish life and behavior can hardly be complete without a full examination of what outlets Jews pursued beyond their basic pursuits and commitments. How did Jews cope with the pressures and opportunities of daily life? Analysis of class distinctions will enhance a more nuanced view of Jewish life. A detailed study of leisure will also increase our understanding of the overlapping relations between Jews and the surrounding societies.

Even in early modern times, the notion that Jews had no leisure time is readily contradicted by numerous reports in the primary sources. Jews engaged in a rich variety of activities such as study, membership in voluntary associations, chess, dancing, playing cards and drinking, at times with Jewish companions and at other times with Christian partners.

Questions raised in the essays might include some of the following:

  • Which population sector engaged in the activities being discussed?
  • How much time was spent in their pursuit?
  • Which kinds of activities generally went with others?
  • Where were different activities pursued?
  • What kind of camaraderie was established through these activities?
  • To what extent did leisure activities contribute to closer bonds with non-Jewish society?

Potential contributors are invited to submit a 1-page proposal that will indicate subject, sources, and major themes. The proposal should be sent by October 1, 2009 to Robert Liberles, Contributing Editor, The deadline for completed articles will be August 1, 2010. Proposals should be in English, but submissions may be in English, German, or Hebrew.


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