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The University of Southampton
The Parkes Institute

World in Crisis: Reflections and Responses from Antiquity to the Present Event

BAJS logo
5 - 7 July 2021
University of Southampton, Southampton, SO17 1BJ

For more information regarding this event, please email Parkes Institute at .

Event details

The annual conference of the British Association for Jewish Studies (BAJS) will be held at the University of Southampton from 13 to 15 July 2020.

The British Association for Jewish Studies was founded in 1975 as a learned society and professional organisation. Its aims are to nurture, cultivate and advance teaching and research in Jewish culture and history in all its aspects within Higher Education in the UK and Ireland. This year’s annual conference will focus on a 'world in crisis' in different times and spaces, and aims to bring together scholars from diverse academic disciplines to assess Jewish responses to times of change and crisis throughout history. The theme this year is designed to raise questions about global challenges through time and assess Jewish perspectives and responses.

The University of Southampton is home to the Parkes Institute for the Study of Jewish/non-Jewish Relations. The Parkes Institute is a major centre for the study of Jewish/non-Jewish relations across the ages, based on the library and associated archives of Revd James Parkes, which came to the university in 1964. Its research covers antiquity to the twenty-first century and is wide-ranging in geographical scope. Amongst the specialised interests of its members are study of the Ancient World, Migration, Maritime Studies, Eastern Europe, Holocaust Studies, Heritage and History of Ideas, and the work of the Parkes Institute is underpinned by examining questions of the relations between Jews and non-Jews and Jewish identity and culture more broadly. The Parkes Institute currently has academic members working in a variety of disciplines including History, Religious Studies, English, Film, Ancient and Modern Languages, and Cultural Studies, and an interdisciplinary approach is key.

Many thanks to the following institutions for their support of the conference: European Association for Jewish Studies (EAJS), the Parkes Institute, and the History Department of the University of Southampton.

Call for papers

University of Southampton and the Parkes Institute for the Study of Jewish/non-Jewish Relations

The annual conference of the British Association for Jewish Studies 2020 will explore Jewish perspectives on a world in crisis, whether real or imagined, in different spaces from antiquity to the present. Crisis can be found or understood in a variety of arenas of life from the political to the existential, and can be traumatic and yet, in some instances, lead to innovation. The conference aims to bring together scholars from diverse academic disciplines to explore Jewish perspectives of dramatic or perceived social, political, historical, ideological or religious change, originating from within Jewish worlds and without. The conference will assess Jewish engagement with change and crisis throughout history from the local to the transnational, including within the context of relationships with non-Jews. Analysis of the varied spectrum of reactions to and representation of times of crisis can do much to shed light on diversity within the Jewish experience in different contexts, whether impacting an individual or a community. Furthermore, challenges to the significance of the concept of crisis in Jewish history and culture, and emphasis on long-term trends are an important facet of this discussion. Papers will highlight the multiplicity of Jewish approaches to a world in crisis from resistance to rationalisation, whether literary or visual, and with an interdisciplinary perspective that characterises Jewish Studies. The conference is intended to provide a forum for reflection and critical contributions to significant, long-standing or contemporary issues of crisis and response, and the place of Jews, Judaism and Jewish Studies within this.

We welcome papers that explore Jewish traditions in different parts of the world and in different historical periods. Topics can include, but will not be limited to the following:

·         Jews and theological, religious, philosophical or ideological crisis

·         Jews and political engagement or activism

·         Cultural or social crisis and responses

·         Jewish literary explorations of crisis whether real or imagined

·         Visual representation of crisis: museums, art, film and television

·         Antisemitism

·         Nationalism and populism

·         Reception, legacy and re-imagining of crisis

·         Challenges to concepts of crisis in Jewish history and culture

As usual with BAJS conferences, papers on topics unrelated to the conference theme are also very welcome, including proposals by graduate students wishing to present on their doctoral research.

Confirmed keynote speakers

·         Prof Hindy Najman (University of Oxford and Director of the Centre for the Study of the Bible in the Humanities)

·         Prof Stefanie Schüler-Springorum (Technische Universität Berlin and Director of the Zentrum für Antisemitismusforschung)

·         In addition, there will be a plenary panel session discussing how work in Jewish Studies can contribute to understanding and addressing questions of crisis – whether longstanding or contemporary – around the world today

Paper proposals should include an abstract of no more than 250 words and a speaker biography of maximum 100 words.

Panel proposals are welcomed. Proposals should include a brief rationale for the panel of no more than 100 words, abstracts of maximum 250 words for each paper proposed as part of the panel, and speaker biographies of no more than 100 words each. Panels should be mixed in terms of gender, and, where possible, reflect a range of career stages.

Speakers will be allocated 30 minutes for their presentation and questions. Papers should be a maximum of 20 minutes in length followed by 10 minutes for questions and discussion.

We have a limited number of bursaries available for postgraduate students and early career researchers. If you would like to be considered, please state this as part of your proposal and send your CV (maximum 2 pages).

Please send paper and panel proposals and all conference-related correspondence to The deadline for proposals is Wednesday 15th January 2020. Registration will open in April 2020.


Registration will open in April 2020.


The programme will be announced once speakers are confirmed in Spring 2020.

Keynote speakers

We are delighted to announce the keynote speakers for this event are:

Prof Hindy Najman (University of Oxford and Director of the Centre for the Study of the Bible in the Humanities)

Prof Stefanie Schüler-Springorum (Technische Universität Berlin and Director of the Zentrum für Antisemitismusforschung)


Below you will find information on how to get to Southampton.  You can also obtain downloadable maps and sat nav code from the Getting to our campuses page.

By air from Southampton

Southampton has its own international airport with connecting routes to several European destinations. From Southampton Airport, the University's Avenue Campus is only a short taxi ride away or you can catch the University's Unilink service. Further details about the service are available on the Unilink website.

By air from London Heathrow Airport

By train: 

Heathrow Airport has no direct rail connection to Southampton. You may, however, travel to Central London by train or London Underground (Tube) and from there to Southampton following the directions provided on this page. Transfer information for Central London is easily accessible at Heathrow.

By coach:

There is a regular National Express coach service from the Central Bus Station at Heathrow Airport, which is located close to Terminals 1, 2 and 3, direct to Southampton. Some coaches stop at the University of Southampton's Highfield campus; otherwise you can take a bus or taxi from Southampton Coach Station. The journey takes approximately 75-90 minutes from London: there is no need to change buses. Further details can be found on the National Express website.

By air from London Gatwick Airport

By train:

Gatwick Airport is connected to Southampton by direct train. Trains for Southampton Central Station depart every hour during the day. Train timetables and fares are available online at the National Rail website.

Ticket offices and vending machines are available at the Gatwick train stations.

By train from Central London

Frequent and convenient services are available from London to Southampton. Trains depart from London Waterloo every 30 minutes during the day, and take approximately 75 minutes to reach Southampton. There are two train stations in Southampton, both convenient for the University. Coming from London, the first station is Southampton Airport Parkway, located directly opposite Southampton Airport. This station is slightly closer to the University than Southampton Central Station. There is a taxi rank outside both railway stations.

Train timetables and fares are available online at the National Rail website.

A more affordable option is to use one of the trains bookable online at Megabus. A few trains are available on this site; however once booked, your tickets cannot be modified or reimbursed.

From other parts of the UK

By train:

When travelling to Southampton via national rail services, please go to either Southampton Airport Parkway or Southampton Central Station.  You will be able to obtain a bus or taxi to bring you to Highfield from both stations.

By coach:

Another affordable and convenient option is the coach service provided by National Express. Timetables and reservations are available online at the National Express website.

Coaches depart from Victoria Coach Station and arrive at the University's Highfield Campus. To obtain information and book tickets on those coaches, please make sure to enter ‘Southampton University' in the ‘To' field on the National Express website. There are also coaches that come to the centre of Southampton but only stop at Southampton Coach Station. You will need to take a bus or taxi to the University. 

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