This fall the Center treated Charleston to Jenna Weissman Joselit’s eloquent meditation on the Ten Commandments in the American South and to Jeffrey Rosen’s stimulating interpretation of the legacy of Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis, including verbatim quotations from the great jurist without a note in sight!
In October, as part of the Jewish Historical Society of South Carolina’s fall meeting, the Center’s associate director Dale Rosengarten presented an intensely moving slide lecture about Georgetown’s Jews, and the next week offered a workshop at Addlestone Library on her sabbatical research, “First Person Singular: Memoirs from the Jewish South.” In early November we both attended the Southern Jewish Historical Society annual meeting in Cincinnati, for which I served as program co-chair. Looking ahead, we are composing an application for a National Endowment for the Humanities grant to underwrite an innovative 2019 summer course for college teachers on the intersection of southern Jewish history and the history of the South.
On January 18 we will inaugurate the spring semester with a celebration of Jews on the Frontier: Religion and Mobility in Nineteenth-Century America—my first book, published in December 2017—and a new study of black Catholics by our colleague Matt Cressler. Please mark your calendars!
Work on our digital exhibitions continues apace. Mapping Jewish Charleston will offer a digital “stroll” through sites that shaped the city’s Jewish past, and project, through new photography by Jack Alterman, places and faces that will shape its future. Synagogues of the South, based on postcards from the William A. Rosenthall Judaica Collection, will showcase the architecture and congregational history of Jewish houses of worship across the region.
The community will have an opportunity to hear from both of our spring research fellows: Journalist Sue Eisenfeld will describe her current project, “A Yankee’s Journey Through the Jewish South,” on Sunday, January 21, and University of Virginia graduate student Brian Neumann will talk about his research on the Nullification Crisis of the 1830s at a brown bag lunch on Wednesday, March 7. The following week, on March 14, Professor Michael R. Cohen, chair of Jewish Studies at Tulane University and author of the new book Cotton Capitalists: American Jewish Entrepreneurship in the Reconstruction Era, will give a talk that sets the stage for a major conference titled “Freedoms Gained and Lost: Reinterpreting Reconstruction in the Atlantic World,” hosted by the College’s Carolina Lowcountry and Atlantic World (CLAW) program.
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