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Balka, C. & Rose, A. (Eds.) (1991). Twice Blessed: On Being Lesbian or Gay and Jewish. Beacon Press.
Boyarin, D. (1997). Unheroic Conduct: The Rise of Heterosexuality and the Invention of the Jewish Man. University of California Press.
Boyarin, D. Itzkovitz, D. & Pellegrini, A. (Eds) (2003). Queer Theory and the Jewish Question. Columbia University Press.
Cooper, A. (1989). No longer invisible: gay and lesbian Jews build a movement. Journal of Homosexuality, 18 (3-4), 83-94. DOI: 10.1300/J082v18n03_04
Coyle, A. & Rafalin, D. (2001). Jewish gay men's accounts of negotiating cultural, religious, and sexual identity: A qualitative study. Journal of Psychology & Human Sexuality, 12 (4): 21-48. DOI: 10.1300/J056v12n04_02
Dalsace, Y. (2012). La loi sur le mariage homosexuel et le judaïsme. Available online: https://www.massorti.com/IMG/pdf/la_loi_sur_le_mariage_homosexuel_et_le_judaisme-2.pdf
Dean, J. J. (2018). Verzwickte Verbindungen: Eine postkoloniale Perspektive auf Bündnispolitik nach 1989 und heute. In: Mendel M. & Messerschmidt A. (Hrsg.). Fragiler Konsens. Antisemitismuskritische Bildung in der Migrationsgesellschaft (pp. 101-129). Campus Verlag.
Drinkwater, G., Lesser, G. & Shneer, D. (2009). Torah Queeries: Weekly Commentaries on the Hebrew Bible. NYU Press.
Faulkner, S. L. & Hecht, M.L. (2011). The Negotiation of Closetable Identities: A Narrative Analysis of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered Queer Jewish Identity. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 28 (6), 829–47. DOI: 10.1177/0265407510391338
Fishman, S.B. (Ed.) (2015). Love, Marriage, and Jewish Families: Paradoxes of a Social Revolution. Brandeis University Press.
Friedman, J.C. (2007). Rainbow Jews: Jewish and Gay Identity in the Performing Arts. Rowman & Littlefield.
Hammer, J. (2017). La Torah queer : l’appropriation de la Révélation par les midrashim LGBTQ. [Queering the Torah: The Role of Contemporary Midrash In Claiming Revelation for GLBTQ Jews.] In: Bethmont R. & Gross M. (Eds.). Homosexualité et traditions monothéistes: vers la fin d’un antagonisme? ( pp. 197-218). Labor et Fides. [NB: The English version of this text is available on myStudy in the "Material" subfolder "literature"!]
Hoffman, W. (2009), The Passing Game: Queering Jewish American Culture. Syracuse University Press.
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Ilany, O. (2017). Homo-Semitism: Jewish Men, Greek Love and the Rise of Homosexual Identity. In: Brunotte U., Mohn J. & Späti C. (Eds.). Internal Outsiders – Imagined Orientals? Antisemitism, Colonialism and Modern Constructions of Jewish Identity (pp. 131-142). Ergon Verlag.
Ladin, J. (2018). The Soul of the Stranger: Reading God and Torah from a Transgender Perspective. Brandeis University Press.
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Ramer, A. (2020). Queering the Text: Biblical, Medieval, and Modern Jewish Stories. Wipf and Stock.
Romain, J. & Mitchell, D. (2020). Inclusive Judaism: The Changing Face of an Ancient Faith. Jessica Kingsley Publishers.
Schnoor, R.F. (2006). Being gay and Jewish: Negotiating intersecting identities. Sociology of Religion, 67 (1), 43–60. DOI: 10.1093/socrel/67.1.43
Shandler, J. (2005). Adventures in Yiddishland: Postvernacular language & culture. University of California Press.
Shandler, J. (2006). Queer Yiddishkeit: Practice and Theory. Shofar, 25 (1), 90-113.
Shneer, D. (2002). Out at school: A queer Jewish education. In: Shneer D. & Aviv C. (Eds.). Queer Jews (pp. 135‐147). Routledge.
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Sienna, N. (2019). A Rainbow Thread: An Anthology of Queer Jewish Texts from the First Century to 1969. Print-O-Craft Press.
Stögner, K. (2017). Intersektionalität von Ideologien – Antisemitismus, Sexismus und das Verhältnis von Gesellschaft und Natur. Psychologie & Gesellschaftskritik, 41(2), 25-45.
Stögner, K. (2019). Wie inklusiv ist Intersektionalität? Neue Soziale Bewegungen, Identitätspolitik und Antisemitismus, in: Salzborn S. (Ed.). Antisemitismus seit 9/11 (pp. 385-402). Nomos.
Stögner, K. (2020). Intersectionality and Antisemitism - A New Approach. Fathom Journal, May 2020.
Svigals, A. (2021). Whither Queer Yiddishkayt? In geveb: a journal of Yiddish Studies. https://ingeveb.org/blog/whither-queer-yiddishkayt.
Waßmer, J. (2018). All for Love. Sexual Diversity in the Collection of the Jewish Museum Berlin. Available Online: www.jmberlin.de/en/node/7603
The seminar aims to gain an overview of the specific intersection of Jewish and Queer cultures, covering aspects of gender, sexualities, identities and various cultural practices (in religion, education, language, the arts), as well as issues of intersectional discriminations in the specific case of Jewish identities. The seminar allows students to combine theoretical and empirical insights from interdisciplinary sources from the humanities, social sciences, Jewish studies and queer studies. The themes and issues will be approached both in historical and contemporary contexts.
In contemporary Jewish culture, queer approaches to gender, sexuality, identity, family and communal life have grown in recognition. Gay & lesbian Jewish interests groups long grew internationally (Cooper 1989). In North-America, while the late 20th century was marked by an “ambivalent tension” of “queer aesthetics and Jewish morality” in artistic productions (Shneer 2007: 58), more recent decades have seen explicit articulations of the intersection of Jewish and queer. Notwithstanding these queering developments, some empirical research (in psychological and sociological qualitative studies) documents the ongoing difficulties and tensions of conflicted LGBTQ + Jewish double-identities, as well as coping mechanisms and negotiations of identities, e.g. in the UK (Coyle & Rafalin 2001), the USA (Faulkner & Hecht 2011), or Canada (Schnoor 2006).
This seminar explores the intersections of Jewish and Queer cutures. In academia, theoretical advances were initiated at the intersection of Jewish identity and queer theory, exploring potential correlations between the inventions of the modern notions of “the Jew” and “the homosexual”, links between homophobia and antisemitism, contradicting models of masculinities and further intersectional concerns (Boyarin 1997; Boyarin, Itzkovitz & Pellegrini 2003). Jewish Studies scholars (e.g. Sienna 2019), have retraced queer dimensions over the past two millennia, initiating a reversal of the “writing out” of queers from Jewish history. Meanwhile, LGBTQ Jews in North America have developed specific cultural and/or religious practices (Balka & Rose 1991, Shneer & Aviv 2002). Liberal branches of Judaism have witnessed queering developments (Hoffman & Steinberg-Egeth 2022), while a variety of discourses on queer issues exists in conservative Judaism (e.g. Dalsace 2012). Some have proclaimed a queer “revolution” in liberal Judaism (Romain & Mitchell 2020). Gay synagogues (Shokheid 1995) and a Lesbian rabbinic discourse (Alpert, Elwell & Idelson 2001) have emerged in North-America in the late 20th Century. Queer interpretations of religion have been combined with transformative ambitions for communities (Drinkwater, Lesser & Shneer 2009). This involves "midrash" (i.e. narrative interpretations of the underlying significance of a biblical text) created by contemporary queer-oriented artists/authors (e.g. Ladin 2018, Ramer 2020) and poets (Hammer 2017). The queering of Jewish cultures has affected various areas of communal life, such as e.g. families (Fishman 2015), education (Shneer 2002) and the Yiddish language (Shandler 2006).
The seminar will explore Queer+Jewish cultural production. Historical research has been conducted on the roles gay Jewish theater and film-makers played since the 1960s in exploring the intersections of Jewish + gay identities and on integrating LGBTQ communities into a wider Jewish historical narrative (Friedman 2007). Literary studies have contributed insights on how 20th century Jewish American literature and theatre was inhabited by queer sensibilities (though often in stealth-mode, “passing” as heterosexual, implicit or denied), which may have prepared the ground for the wider acceptance of queerness in contemporary Jewish American culture (Hoffman 2009).
The seminar will pay attention to another layer of difficulties that comes from the possibility of antisemitic tendencies within some interpretations of intersectionality (Stögner 2019). We will also consider how, in this fast-evolving context, Heritage professionals in Europe have been especially inert, with rare and small-scale efforts to thematize the intersection of Jewish and Queer cultures, e.g. the Jewish Museum in Berlin with a critical self-evaluation of the lack of queer perspectives in its own collections (Waßmer 2018), some elements in its exhibitions (e.g. 2013: “Are there Gay Jews?” within the exhibition “The Whole Truth”), and through online media (https://www.jmberlin.de/en/topic-lgbtqi); and in the UK the oral history project “Rainbow Jews” since 2012, initiated by the organization “Liberal Judaism”, focusing on the lives of LGBTQ people in the UK since the 1950s, which started exhibiting its collection in 2014.
The Intersection of Jewish and Queer
Session 1a (presentation by Sonja Meusel - Leuphana student): The Intersection of Jewish and Queer: the Jewish man and Jewish gender identities (Boyarin 1997, Ilany 2017; eventually the chapter by Boyarin in Boyarin, Itzkovitz & Pellegrini 2003)
Session 1b (presentation by: Coco Rufer - Leuphana student): The Intersection of Jewish and Queer: modern Jewish and homosexual identities (intro + chapters by Garber, Sedgwick, Jakobsen, Solomon, Rosenstock, Butler in Boyarin, Itzkovitz & Pellegrini 2003)
Queers in Jewish History and in modern North-America
Session 2a (presentation by Kana Bandoh - Leuphana student): Queer in Jewish History: histories of gender and sexuality over two millennia of Jewish life around the world (Sienna 2019)
Session 2b (presentation by Reinhild Böckmann - Leuphana student): Cultural and religious practices of LGBTQ Jews in North-America (intro + chapters by Rose & Balka, Nestle, Greenberg, Kanegson, Nagle, Michels & Cannon, Anonymous, Krasner, Dubowski, Kadish, Hirschmann & Wilson, in Shneer & Aviv 2002)
Queering developments in liberal branches of Judaism (and in conservative Judaism)
Session 3a (presentation by: [tbc]): Queering developments in liberal branches of Judaism (Romain & Mitchell 2020, Hoffman & Steinberg-Egeth 2022; Alpert, Elwell & Idelson 2001, Shokeid 1995)
Session 3b (presentation by: [tbc]): Queering developments in liberal branches of Judaism (continued: see the literature listed in the line above) ; + optionally: various discourses in conservative Judaism (e.g. Dalsace 2012)
Queering religious and everyday cultures
Session 4a (presentation by Hannah Uhlich - Leuphana student): Queer interpretations of religion (Drinkwater, Lesser & Shneer 2009; Ladin 2018, Ramer 2020, Hammer 2017)
Session 4b (presentation by Marie Lynn Jessen - Leuphana student): Queering of Jewish cultures: e.g. families (Fishman 2015, chapters by Dubowsky, Litman, Kashtan, wolfman, Cohen, Brettschneider in Shneer & Aviv 2002), education (chapter by Shneer in Shneer & Aviv 2002), Yiddish (Shandler 2006, Svigals 2021 [see also Shandler 2005 as further reading])
Queer + Jewish cultural production
Session 5a (presentation by: [tbc]): Queer + Jewish cultural production: Literature and Theatre (Hoffman 2009; chapter by Newman in Shneer & Aviv 2002; chapters by Seidman, Moon, Freedman in Boyarin, Itzkovitz & Pellegrini 2003)
Session 5b (presentation by: [tbc]): Queer + Jewish cultural production: Theatre and Film (Friedman 2007; chapters by Felman, Sicular in Shneer & Aviv 2002; chapter by Wolf in Boyarin, Itzkovitz & Pellegrini 2003)
(1) Antisemitic Intersectionality? - (2) Rainbow Jews and Heritage - (3) Conclusion
Session 6a [two shorter topics; may overflow partly onto session 6b the same day]: (1) Antisemitic tendencies in some interpretations of intersectionality (Stögner 2017, 2019, 2020, Dean 2018, Ott 2020) ; (2) Exhibiting “Rainbow Jews” (cases of Jewish Museum Berlin, and of Rainbow Jews archive & exhibition in the UK)
Session 6b: Conclusion discussion