Call for Papers: Conference on the Contemporary Russian-Speaking Jewish Diaspora, Deadline: May 14

Call for Paper Proposals

Conference on the Contemporary Russian-Speaking Jewish Diaspora
November 14–15, 2011, at Harvard University
Cambridge, Massachusetts

The Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard University, with the cooperation of the American Councils for International Education and the Russian Foundation for Humanities, invites submissions of paper proposals for an international conference on the Russian-speaking Jewish diaspora that has been formed over the past four decades.

The emigration of about 1.5 million Jews from the former Soviet Union (FSU) in several large waves since the mid-1970s—more than three times as many as those who remain—has affected Jewish life in its successor states and in the host countries. The post-1989 migration of Jews from the FSU, for example, constitutes the single largest immigration in the sixty-two-year history of Israel and the largest group of Jews to come to the United States and to Germany since the early twentieth century.

This conference will focus on how Russian-speaking Jews in the late 20th–early 21st centuries have affected the cultures, politics, and economies of Israel, the United States, and Germany, as well as the “sending” countries of the FSU. Conferees will consider whether Russian-speaking Jewry constitutes “a global community,” and how this recent migration challenges the larger concepts of “identity” and “diaspora” across geographic and national borders.

Suggested Themes

We are interested in papers from a range of disciplinary perspectives that address the history, evolution, and future of Russian-speaking Jewish communities, cultures, and identities. We encourage papers that move beyond the description of particular populations or institutions and introduce analyses of the problems, paradoxes, contradictions, and challenges involved in thinking about the Russian-speaking Jews.

The following themes are suggested as guides for the formulation of topics for paper proposals:

  • Globalization, Transnationalism, and Ethno-Cultural Diasporas in the 21st Century
  • Political Behavior, Social Mobility, Commercial Activities, and Cultural Endeavors
  • Definitions of Jewishness
  • Cultural Expressions of Russian-Speaking Jews
  • Media and Communications
  • Future of the Russian-Speaking Jewish Diaspora

For a fuller description of the suggested themes, please see our Web site at
Papers will also be considered on any other themes relevant to the contemporary Russian-speaking Jewish diaspora. Note that the working language of the conference is English: all papers must be submitted and presented in English.

Submitting a Proposal

Junior and senior scholars in the humanities and social sciences, as well as others working in relevant areas, are eligible to apply, irrespective of citizenship or country of residence. Proposals should be submitted via the conference Web site at

Submissions must include:

  • a completed online application form
  • a project abstract of approximately 250 words
  • a 2-page curriculum vitae (CV) listing education, publications, fellowships and awards, and recent work and teaching experience

The deadline for submitting proposals is May 14, 2010. All materials must be submitted in English. Decisions will be announced by July 1, 2010. Presenters must submit their final conference papers by September 1, 2011. Selected papers will be considered for publication in an edited volume.

Harvard University and cooperating funders will cover presenters’ expenses for travel, lodging, and meals. A modest honorarium will also be provided (contingent on presenter’s eligibility to receive payment).

Project Organizers

Zvi Gitelman, Professor of Political Science and Preston R. Tisch Professor of Judaic Studies, University of Michigan
Lisbeth L. Tarlow, Ph.D., Associate Director, Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies, Harvard University

More Information

For additional information about the conference, please see or contact

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