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A “nuanced understanding” of Israel

International conference to highlight the Azrieli Institute’s interdisciplinary approach
November 6, 2013
By Tom Peacock

The Knesset Menorah in Jerusalem, Israel
The Knesset Menorah in Jerusalem, Israel. | Photo courtesy of the Azrieli Institute

Messianic religious Zionism? Labour divisions? Law-breaking women? It’ll all be covered at Israel at 65 Years: Dimensions of National Identity, the inaugural conference of Concordia’s Azrieli Institute of Israel Studies on November 12.

“For us, it was especially important to bring a diversity of understandings of the different aspects of Israel,” says Norma Joseph, a professor in the Department of Religion and the Azrieli Institute’s co-director.

The one-day conference will feature 14 presentations from top international scholars, including social historian and gender specialist Tamar El-Or, from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and Amal Jamal, a professor of political science at Tel Aviv University who studies the Arab minority living in Israel.

The Azrieli Institute officially opened in June 2011. Co-director Csaba Nikolenyi sees the conference as a chance to showcase its interdisciplinary approach to research.

Csaba Nikolenyi and Norma Joseph
Csaba Nikolenyi and Norma Joseph, co-director of Concordia’s Azrieli Institute of Israel Studies. | Photo by Concordia University

“We selected the papers so they would be able to give us a nuanced understanding,” he says. “That really defines our approach here at Concordia. We’re not focusing on politics, or religion. We are bringing together scholars and students from different disciplinary backgrounds.”

At 7 p.m. on Monday, November 11 — the night before the conference — the institute is hosting “Israel Studies in Israel, North America and Beyond” by Ilan Troen, director of the Schusterman Center at Brandeis University.

“He is an iconic figure in the field,” Nikolenyi says. “We’re very happy that he accepted the invitation, because his stature and his authority lends great recognition to our institute.”

In a bid to raise awareness about the Azrieli Institute in Montreal’s Jewish community, Troen’s talk is being held off campus at the Gelber Conference Centre on Côte-Ste-Catherine Street.

The November 12 conference is taking place in the Henry F. Hall Building, in Room H-762, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission is free for all the events, and no registration is necessary.

For more information about Israel at 65 Years: Dimensions of National Identity, please see the event listing.

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