Shofar Special Issue: The Feminist Art of Religious Women

In 2012, American-Israeli Rama Burshtein’s film Fill the Void was nominated for the Grand Jury award at the Venice Film Festival. This story of Orthodox Jewish life, acquired by Sony and aired widely in the U.S. and beyond, painted a sympathetic portrait that attempted to showcase women’s subjectivity within what has often been depicted on screen as an oppressive patriarchal society. Working with a rabbi’s supervision, Burshtein made a film that was not only acceptable within community standards but that was publicly acclaimed, nominated for numerous international awards and found widespread success. In a feature article on Middle Eastern women filmmakers in Variety, Haaifa Al-Mansour, Saudi Arabia’s first woman filmmaker expressed her admiration for Burshtein’s shared experience of negotiating religious feminist artistic expression within sanctioned limitations. Her own films, such as Women Without Shadows (2005), which examines the hidden lives of women in Arab States of the Persian Gulf, have balanced the sanctions of religious Muslim society with a need to consider women’s positions within those societies from a critical perspective. Her films have won awards in the UAE, the Netherlands and been nominated for awards at Cannes, and her feature debut Wadjda made its world appearance at the 2012 Venice Film festival.

In this collection, we are seeking papers that consider Jewish women’s feminist religious art in film, as well as a variety of other genres, including, but not limited to: fiction, television and web-series, music, stand-up comedy and other performance, and the more traditional visual arts. Strong consideration will be given to proposals that put Jewish women’s art in conversation with the artistic productions of or representing women of other religious traditions.

Please send abstracts of not more than 300 words (as well as any inquiries) to co-editors Karen E. H. Skinazi, k.skinazi@bham.ac.uk and Rachel S. Harris rsharris@illinois.eduby January 15, 2018.

Submissions of 8,000-10,000-word essays for the collection will be due June 30, 2018. Accepted submissions will appear in Shofar: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Jewish Studiesin 2019.