Jews and Judaism in South Asia: cultural encounters and social transformations 
Heinz Werner Wessler (University of Uppsala, Dept for Linguistics and Philology)
Boaz Huss (Ben Gurion University)
Shimon Lev (The Hebrew University of Jerusalem)
Start time:
25 July, 2014 at 9:00 (UTC+0)
Session slots:

Short Abstract:

The panel examines transformations of Jewish Identities in South Asia and the dynamics of the encounters between Jews and Non-Jewish South Asia. We focus on the Jewish communities in South Asia, on the intellectual exchange between Jews and Hindus, and on questions of intercultural dynamics.

Long Abstract

The panel examines the diverse transformations of Jewish Identities in South Asia and the cultural dynamics of the encounters between Judaism and South Asian cultures in colonial and postcolonial contexts.

The migration of Jews into South Asia in the 19th and 20th century, as well as the mass migration of Jews to Israel in the mid-20th century had a significant impact on the identity of the Jewish South Asian communities. Old forms of Jewish identity were redefined and new forms constructed. At the same period, various forms of cultural interactions occurred between Jewish and South Asian cultures. In this context, the interactions between prominent Indian leaders and intellectuals such as Rabindranath Tagore, Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru with Martin Buber, Hugo Bergman and others play an important role in the intellectual history of the 20th century.

In the framework of the suggested panel, we would like to investigate diverse aspects of Jewish identities in South Asia, since the 19th century to our days and to explore their political, literary and religious expressions. We would also like to discuss the dynamics of the cultural exchanges between of Jews and non-Jews that took place in the colonial and postcolonial eras in the context of the parallel growth of their respective national movements. We invite scholars from different disciplines, who are interested in the social dynamics of South Asian Jewry and the cultural encounters between Jewish and South Asian cultures to propose lectures for the panel.

Accepted papers: