Annual report 2010-11
Abbreviations: Philip Alexander (PSA), Moshe Behar (MB), Jean-Marc Dreyfus (JMD), Francesca Frazer (FF), Cathy Gelbin (CG), Bernard Jackson (BSJ), Daniel Langton (DL), Katharina Keim (KK), Alex Samely (AS), Renate Smithuis (RS), Bill Williams (BW). Middle Eastern Studies (MES), Religions & Theology (R&T).
a. Staffing: Core staff and co-administrators, and Jewish Studies-related staff DL and AS are co-directors of the Centre for Jewish Studies (CJS), with JMD acting as co-ordinator of the seminar programme, and with FF and KK as co-administrators. The planning committee also includes MB, and RS as co-editor of Melilah. Philip Alexander, Bernard Jackson and Sharman Kadish have retired or left the Centre. Other JS-related staff include George Brooke, Adrian Curtis, Sophie Garside, Cathy Gelbin and John Healey. It should be noted that Prof. Healey has recently joined the ranks of the Fellows of the British Academy, becoming the second current member of the centre to have gained this honour, in addition to Philip Alexander.
b. Post-doctorate positions: Dr Sagit Butbul from Israel, who was sponsored by the British Academy to work on the Arabic manuscripts in the our Genizah collection; Dr Ariel Feldman, also from Israel, who was awarded a prestigious Newton Fellowship by the British Academy and the Royal Society to work on the Dead Sea Scrolls with Prof. George Brooke; and Dr Rocco Bernasconi, from Bologna and Paris, who is the researcher on Alex Samely’s AHRC-funded Typology project.
c. Honorary Fellows: PSA and BSJ are both Emeritus Professors. In 2010-11 Michael Hilton, Bill Williams and Les Lancaster were approved as Honorary Fellows.
d. Vision: Taking the long perspective, we have a clear vision of where we want to go in the next ten years: we have defined the major theme of our Centre in this period as being the exploration in both our teaching and our research of Jewish/non-Jewish relations. This theme embraces, for example, anti-Semitism and the Holocaust (Dreyfus, Gelbin, Langton, Williams); Jewish-Christian relations (Langton and Brooke); Jewish-Muslim relations (Smithuis); Jewish-Arab relations (Behar); Jewish/non-Jewish philosophy (Samely). These emphases not only give our Centre intellectual coherence, and embed Jewish Studies firmly in the wider horizon of teaching and research of the University. They also help us to bring our skills as academics to bear on one of the great issues of our time, and thus to introduce calm, reflective, informed, balanced, rational debate into an area where it is conspicuously lacking. This is also the context in which we want to continue to strengthen our links with colleagues in Israel in terms of us participating in their conferences and research projects, and them participating in ours, in hosting visiting Israeli academics, and in the exchange of students: the University’s recent signing of a formal agreement on student exchange with the Hebrew University is one concrete example of what we want to achieve.
e. Resources: Office, Library and Website
Office A keycode has been installed in the CJS office (WLG11) to make it more accessible to staff. Library The shelving of the Lionel Kochan collection of books has now been completed in the office/library and adequate space made for our co-administrators to work. Website A radical revision of the website has been completed. See www.manchesterjewishstudies.org
f. Research: Grants past, present and future
When the CJS 5 year plan was formulated in 2008, there were 5 major projects linked to the CJS, 4 of which have now been completed: Jewish Built Heritage, Rylands Cairo Genizah, Agunah Research Unit, German Jewish Refugees.
AS’s project (‘Typology of Pseudepigraphic and Anonymous Jewish Literature of Antiquity, c. 200 BCE to c. 700 CE’) is ongoing but is due to be completed in late 2011. This has included an international workshop this year during which established and younger scholars from the UK, the US, Israel and Europe came to Manchester to acquaint themselves with and discuss the key result of the Project, a new framework for the literary analysis of ancient Jewish texts. (See: www.manchester.ac.uk/ancientjewishliterature/ ).
JMD has been successful with a €1 million research bid to the European Research Council for a new 3 year project entitled ‘Corpses of Mass Violence and Genocide’, with 2 or 3 post-docs attached. (JMD would be a co-investigator for this project; the principal investigator is in Paris).
DL and PSA have been successful with a £25k bid to the RFE for a post-doctoral position (0.65 position for 1 year) for Maria Haralambakis on a study of the scholar of Moses Gaster.
MB’s six-year funding from the Pear’s Foundation has been underwritten by the University so that his tenure is guaranteed and Israel Studies at the University of Manchester is secure.
There have been several post-doctorates in Jewish Studies-related work: see under b. above.
Survey: FF has produced a survey of all Jewish-Studies related teaching activities throughout the University, including undergraduate courses (38) and postgraduate courses (20) (see www.manchesterjewishstudies.org/ug-course-descriptions/ and www.manchesterjewishstudies.org/pg-course-descriptions/ ) and 17 PhD students (see www.manchesterjewishstudies.org/phd-study-opportunities/#CURRENT ).
In 2010-11 there were 4 students on the MA in Jewish Studies (R&T). Due to Faculty-level strategic planning which has terminated many degree programmes, there is no longer an undergraduate Jewish Studies pathway (R&T), an MA in Hebrew Studies (MES) or an MA Holocaust Studies, although most of the relevant course units were still available. The additional loss of the Combined Studies programme means that we can no longer offer ‘Hebrew and X’ or ‘Jewish Studies and X’ undergraduate degrees. At present it is still possible to offer Hebrew and Jewish Studies as a BA (MES) and an MA in Jewish Studies (R&T).
Initiative with Liverpool Hope: BSJ is setting up a new MA Jewish Studies/ Jewish-Christian Relations evening course from semester two (2011-12), to which JMD and DL (and possibly PSA and BW) will contribute. The CJS fully supports this initiative as a pilot project; if successful we may consider the possibility of becoming an institutional partner and/or establishing a similar programme in Manchester.
h. Melilah: Manchester Journal for Jewish Studies:
Editorial changes: DL and RS are co-editors with FF providing editorial assistance. In consultation with the university solicitor, DL has agreed a contract with Gorgias Press, which will publish hard copies of Melilah (both past and future). Volume 7 (2010) has now been published. See www.mucjs.org/MELILAH/
i. Knowledge Transfer / outreach:
Sherman Lectures 2011: The annual series of 4 public lectures in the area of Jewish Studies were given by Martin Goodman, FBA, Professor of Jewish Studies and Fellow of Wolfson College, University of Oxford, on ‘Toleration within Judaism’. Abstract: Varied forms of Judaism have coexisted throughout most of Jewish history. Religious differences have sometimes led to conflict, but at other times Jews have tolerated different practices and beliefs within their communities. The lectures seek to trace and explain some cases of toleration within Judaism from the period of the Second Temple to the present.
BBC Radio Manchester: CJS members have been featured twice this year on the Jewish Hour programme (7-8pm) on BBC Radio Manchester (95.1 FM & DAB digital radio): CG on the Golem, FF on the Council of Christians and Jews. DL has recently been recorded on Jewish Views on Paul.
External Liaison Committee: This advisory group did not meet this year, but will be organized for the next academic year.
ICCJ Manchester conference: The International Council of Christians and Jews’ annual conference will be held in Manchester in 2012, with the theme: ‘Social Responsibility and Multiculturalism’. The CJS will be very involved in this; DL is chair of the Planning Committee and FF is the Co-ordinator.
Medical Ethics conference: JMD is heavily involved in a conference on ‘Medical Ethics and the Holocaust’ in January 2012 at the Ministry of Health, Paris.
j. Fundraising: PSA has kindly donated his annual income as editor of the Journal of Semitic Studies to the CJS. DL and FF have been preparing applications from local trusts and Jewish-related charities.
k. Constitution: This needs some revision.
l. AGM: There was no AGM this year, since the Centre was in a period of transition.
a. Discussion of how the CJS can facilitate research
Previously the CJS has been very successful in winning large research grants. Centre-related research activities attracted some £3 million of external funding over 10 years, achieved without seed funding from Faculty or School. We plan to continue applying for funding. Funding currently appears to be geared towards interdisciplinary research. In our discussions we have agreed that feedback on applications could be sought from other CJS staff and AS has agreed to take primary responsibility for this. This support will continue to foster an environment where individuals can flourish and which constitutes an important advantage in the competition for funding. The CJS will not attempt to create projects that artificially combine the research interests of individuals.
b. Discussion of possible research proposals
AS’s current project, ‘Typology of Pseudepigraphic and Anonymous Jewish Literature of Antiquity, c. 200 BCE to c. 700 CE’, is due to be completed in November 2011. He is considering putting forward a research application to use the ‘Inventory of Structurally Important Literary Features’ created during this project to investigate the coherence of texts in two new corpora of literature: the canonical books of the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament.
c. EAJS funders’ database
DL has recently become secretary to the European Association for Jewish Studies (EAJS) and has arranged that the current SAHC Research Manager Jonathan Starbrook act as consultant for the EAJS Funders’ Database. JS will undoubtedly become one of the most knowledgeable experts in JS research funding in Europe and is willing to advise the CJS.
3. Research / Outreach Seminars: A programme of fortnightly seminars has been established by JMD for semester 1.