North Carolina Jewish Studies Consortium

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Annual Meetings

2019-20 Meeting of the NC Jewish Studies Consortium


DATE:  Sunday, Sept. 8

TIME:  11:30 am – 4:30 pm

PLACE:  NC Museum of Art

2110 Blue Ridge Road
Raleigh, NC 27607-6494
(919) 839-NCMA


11:30 - 12:30   Lunch, Iris Restaurant at NCMA 

The restaurant limits us to reserving 25 seats as a group.  Please rsvp by Wed., Aug. 28 to to reserve a place.

12:30 - 1:15     Tour of Judaica collection in NC Museum led by curator John Coffey, East Bldg.

1:15 - 2:00       Panel discussion led by Prof. Gabrielle Berlinger (UNC) and Prof. Verena Kasper-Marienberg (NC State) on incorporating material objects & art, museum field trips, and virtual field trips & integration of digital media (visualization studios, 3d printing, web-based student projects)

 2:00 -2:30        Coffee break, West Bldg.

 2:30 - 4:30       NC Jewish Studies Seminar in seminar room of West Bldg. 

imgProf. Marc Epstein, Vassar College

"Method and/or Madness: How to ‘do’ ‘Jewish Art History’”
from his forthcoming book People of the Image: Jews & Art

(Seminar paper will be distributed on 8/26 through the NC Jewish St. Seminar list.  If you are not on the list and would like a paper, please contact Jamie Hardy <>.)


You may recall, as I do, a certain resistance at having to slog through math problems in elementary school. For me, it was torture enough to have to solve the equations in the first place. But the clincher—the straw that broke the proverbial math-hating camel’s back—was the injunction to “show your work.” I’d done my work after all, and not without quite a bit of pain. Why must I show it? Scholarship on art made for Jews more often shows than tells. But I think that scholars, colleagues, scholars and lovers of art of all sorts are owed a precise demonstration of how it should be read and how to arrive at compelling conclusions about it. What do we mean when we talk about “Jewish Art”? And how do we “do” scholarship in this tricky, interstitial field, so deceptively visually cognate with the art of surrounding societies? What should move us to concentrate on particular images and themes— to what ideas should we be strongly drawn, and why? In this seminar I aim both to “show my work" and to transmit my enthusiasm about this fascinating and often frustrating area of investigation in the hope that other scholars can take up the (hopefully) conscientious methods I advocate.


Marc  Michael Epstein, Professor on the Mattie M. Paschall (1899) & Norman Davis Chair in Religion and Visual Culture at Vassar College was Vassar’s  first Director of Jewish Studies. He is a graduate of  Oberlin College, received the PhD at Yale University, and did much of  his  graduate research at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. He has written on various topics in visual and material culture produced by, for, and about Jews.  His 2011 book, The Medieval Haggadah: Art, Narrative, and Religious Imagination (Yale University Press) was selected by the London Times Literary Supplement as one of the best books of the year. His 2015 Skies of Parchment, Seas of Ink: Jewish Manuscript Illumination (Princeton University Press)—a large-format survey of the genre—was the winner of the National Jewish Book Award. During  the 80s, Epstein was  Director of the Hebrew Books and Manuscripts division  of Sotheby's Judaica department, and continues to serve as consultant to various  libraries, auction houses, museums and private collectors throughout the world.

Hotel Room reimbursement available for those traveling from a distance. 

Babysitting available on site.  RSVP for babysitting by Wed. 8/28 to Julie  Please include ages and number of kids.  Thanks!