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The Midwest Jewish Studies Association

In the Virtual World

Call for Papers

The thirty-third annual conference of the Midwest Jewish Studies Association (MJSA) will be held the October 3-5, 2021 in a webinar format. We will NOT be hosting an all-day webinar, rather we will have two-hour panels with no more than three per day.

The conference welcomes proposals in all areas of Jewish Studies: from any discipline (history, philosophy, literature, religion, sociology, music, etc.) and from any time period (ancient to contemporary).

All interested scholars and professionals of Jewish Studies, including advanced graduate students, are cordially invited to submit proposals for papers, presentations, and workshops. Proposals may be for complete panels or for individual papers. Proposals must include a 200-word abstract defining the primary themes, conclusions, and sources utilized in the research, as well as a one page CV. Panel proposals must include abstracts for 3 to 4 papers, CVs for all participants, a general explanation of how the papers are related and what the general significance of the panel is, as well as the name of the chair of the proposed session. Only one submission per participant, please. Individuals willing to chair a session are invited to submit a CV, with an indication of areas of expertise.

All graduate students (full or part-time) are eligible to compete for the Graduate Student Paper Award. Only publishable papers, some portion of which will be presented at the conference, are welcome. The winning paper will be recognized on our website and the winner awarded a check. Once the paper has been accepted to the conference, it needs to be submitted by August 15, 2021 to Professor Laura Wiseman ( for judging by the committee.

The deadline for the submission of proposals for individual papers or complete panels is July 30, 2021. Please direct all inquiries and submissions to: Dr. Mara W. Cohen Ioannides (


                       2020 Graduate Student Paper Award



Allison Davis is the author of Line Study of a Motel Clerk (Baobab Press, 2017), a finalist for the National Jewish Book Award in Poetry and the Ohioana Book Award. She holds fellowships from Stanford University's Wallace Stegner program, the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, and the Severinghaus Beck Fund for Study at Vilnius Yiddish Institute. Her research examines the implications of reading Objectivist poet Charles Reznikov in interminority frameworks. She is a PhD candidate in English and Creative Writing at the University of Tennessee



Going To and Fro and Walking Up and Down Meets “I Do This, I Do That”: Reconnecting Objectivism and the New York School


Keywords: poetry, Jewish studies, queer studies, urban studies

The poems of Objectivist Charles Reznikoff and the New York School’s Frank O’Hara insist that marginalized experiences—both their own and others’—belong in America’s public spaces and discourse. Reznikoff records New York’s streets as the Jewish child of immigrants in collections including Going To and Fro and Walking Up and Down (1941), while O’Hara records these streets from a queer experience in his famous “I do this, I do that” poems. There is no scholarship connecting these poets, however, because the categorization of Objectivists as second-wave Imagists—and the resulting erasure of their Jewish heritage—has inhibited their inclusion in postmodern discourse. By repositioning Objectivists as postmodern forerunners, my research reveals what’s concealed when poets are segregated too insentiently into different avant-garde “schools.” In this paper, I argue that the urban Judaism of Objectivist writers can be a useful liminal lens through which to explore New York School’s urban queerness and vice versa. I explore how both poets address their minority status (Fredman, 2001 and Lehman, 1998) and their privilege in relationship to other minorities (Nielsen, 1988 and Friedlander, 2001). This comparative examination of the walking poems of Reznikoff and O’Hara constructs new avenues for exploring the urban poetics of outsiders in experimental poetry by encouraging a reading across and not just through minority experiences. 


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MJSA 2020 Virtual Conference
October 18-21, 2020



Abbreviations: PDT (Pacific Daylight Time, GMT – 7); CDT (Central Daylight Time, GMT – 5), EDT (Eastern Daylight Time, GMT – 4); BST/IST (British Summer Time, GMT + 1), Israel DST (Daylight Savings Time, GMT + 3); IST (India Standard Time, GMT + 5:30)

Sunday October 18

The Other in Jewish Worlds

Chair: Rina Cohen Müller, Institut National des Langue et Civilisations Orientales

9am-11:30am PDT, 11am-12:30 pm CDT, 12pm-1:30pm EDT, 4pm-5:30pm GMT, 5pm-6:30 pm BST, 7pm-8:30pm Israel DST, 10:30pm-12:00am IST

“Excluded ‘Others:’ Arab Christians in Israel and Palestine”,

Charlyn Ingwerson, Drury University

“'Indian Motherland' to 'Jewish Fatherland': Indian-Jewishness and Indian-Israeliness in Israel,” Mansheetal Singh, Charles University


Jews in Film

Chair: Rachel Harris, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champagne

12:00pm-1:30pm PDT, 2pm-3:30pm CDT, 3pm-4:30pm EDT, 4pm-9:30pm GMT, 5pm-6:30pm BST, 7pm-8:30pm Israel DST, 9:30pm-11:00pm IST

“The Pioneering American Jewish Women Directors of the 1970s”,

Lawrence Baron, emeritus San Diego State University

“Tragic Love Stories in Israeli Cinema”,

Carrie Bettel, York University


Ancient Israel


3:00-4:30pm PDT, 5:00pm-6:30pm CDT, 6:00pm-7:30pm EDT, 10:00pm-11:30pm GMT, 11:00pm-12:30am BST, 1:00am-2:30am Mon. Oct. 19 Israel DST, 3:30am-5:00am Mon. Oct. 19 IST

“Re-examining King David through new Archaeology Finds”,

Mike Pytlik, Oakland University

“The Whispering Of Many” On The Demonization Of Jeremiah’s Opponents In Jer 20:10”,

Cristiana Conti-Easton, York University





Monday October 19


American Literature


9am-11:30am PDT, 11am-12:30 pm CDT, 12pm-1:30pm EDT, 4pm-5:30pm GMT, 5pm-6:30pm BST, 7pm-8:30pm Israel DST, 10:30pm-12:00am IST

“The Disappearance of Hebrew Women Writers in America”,

Michal Fram Cohen, Open University of Israel

“Onfang fun Khemye: The First Chemistry Book in Yiddish”,

Stephen M. Cohen, Independent Scholar

“The Jewish Woman Immigrants’ expression of Jewish Womanhood in America: Four Stories and their Women”,

Mara W. Cohen Ioannides, Missouri State University


Queer Studies


12:00pm-1:30pm PDT, 2pm-3:30pm CDT, 3pm-4:30pm EDT, 7pm-8:30pm GMT, 8pm-9:30pm BST, 10pm-11:30 pm Israel DST, 12:30am-2:00am Mon. Oct. 19 IST

“Jewish Texts and Queer Intimacies in Aciman’s Call Me by Your Name,”

Shlomo Gleibman, York University, Canada

“Going To and Fro and Walking Up and Down Meets ‘I Do This, I Do That’: Reconnecting Objectivism and the New York School”,

Allison Davis, University of Tennessee




Tuesday October 20


Jewish Theology

Chair: Peter Haas, emeritus Case Western Reserve University

9:15am-11:45am PDT, 11:15am-12:45 pm CDT, 12:15pm-1:45pm EDT, 4:15pm-5:45pm BST, 5:15pm-6:45pm GMT, 7:15pm-8:45pm Israel DST, 10:45pm-12:15am IST

“An Integrated Approach To The Role Of Tikkun Olam In Remix Judaism”,

Roberta Kwall, DePaul University College of Law

“Freedom and Creativity: a Bergsonian Reading of Rav Kook’s writings”,

Gila Amati, Oxford University



Feminist Theory

Chair: Charlyn Ingwerson, Drury University

Tuesday Oct. 20

1:00pm-2:30pm PDT, 2:00pm-3:30pm CDT, 3:00pm-4:30pm EDT, 7:00pm-8:30pm GMT, 8:00pm-9:30pm BST, 10:00pm-11:30pm Israel DST, 12:30am-2:00am Wed. Oct. 21 IST

“Revisioning the Christian Conservative Canon from a Jewish Feminist Perspective: Alicia Ostriker’s Appropriation of T.S. Eliot in ‘Dancing at the Devil’s Party’”,

Daniel Morris, Purdue University

“Dedication by Sivan Har-Shefi”,

Laura Wiseman, York University

European History

Chair: David Meola, University of South Alabama

9:00am-11:30am PDT, 11:00am-1:30 pm CDT, 12:00pm-2:30pm EDT, 4:00pm-6:30pm GMT, 5:00pm-7:30pm BST, 7:00pm-9:30pm Israel DST, 9:30pm-12:00am IST

“Irish Jewish Myths of Origin”,

Natalie Wynn, Trinity College

“Apostasy as a Bargaining Chip for Jewish Women in the Responsa of the Rishonim,”

Jacob Aaron Lackner, University of Oklahoma

“Empathy and Its Inadequacies: Instances of Poetry in Oral Holocaust Testimonies”,

Anna Veprinska, University of Toronto



Rewriting Jewish History Across the Ages


1:00pm-2:30pm PDT, 2:00pm-3:30pm CDT, 3:00pm-4:30pm EDT, 7:00pm-8:30pm GMT, 8:00pm-9:30pm BST, 10:00pm-11:30pm Israel DST, 12:30am-2:00am Wed. Oct. 21 IST

“‘The Text is Lacking’: Rewriting Early Rabbinic Traditions”

Matthew Goldstone, Academy for Jewish Religion

“Rewriting Tradition in Medieval Ashkenaz”

Jesse Abelman, Yeshiva University

“‘As Brutal as the Nazis’: Jewish Toughness, Historical Revisionism, and Rising Antisemitism”

 Miriam Eve Mora, City University of New York