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Are Jewish Studies scholars generally more conservative than other scholars?


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At my university, scholars in the Department of Jewish Studies tend to be waaaaaaaaaaaaaay more conservative than scholars in other Liberal Arts disciplines like Political Science, History, English, French, Arabic, and Literature. (And by conservative, I mean conservative for academia - so classical liberal, centre to centre-right, Zionist, anti-far left, anti-radical feminism, opposed to Edward Said, etc.)

 

Is this how most Jewish Studies departments and scholars are? I wouldn't say the Jewish Studies scholars seem as right-wing as Economics or Business professors, but they are still pretty conservative compared to others in the Liberal Arts at my university. (I think this is a part of the reason I get along with some of them fairly well.)

 

Or, is this an anomaly just limited to Jewish Studies scholars at my university? I did some research, and it appears that a lot of the professors at Tel Aviv University, Hebrew University, and Bar Ilan University are more conservative (as in conservative for academia) than many other universities' professors. They tend to use more traditional scholars like Fouad Ajami and Bernard Lewis, for instance.

 

Perhaps the pattern is one of Israeli professors, rather than Jewish Studies professors? Many of the Jewish Studies professors at my university are Israelis.

 

I asked one of the Jewish Studies professors at my university about this and he said it is a very common pattern of Jewish Studies professors, but I wanted others' thoughts on it too. He also has a very, very conservative educational background, so I am wondering if that has affected his thinking on the matter.

 

A big part of the reason I ask this is because I don't want to go off to graduate school thinking most of the Israeli/ Jewish Studies professors will typically be a certain way, if they are all completely different than the ones at my undergraduate institution. It's not that I have anything against liberal professors, but I just think it would be interesting to see if this is a pattern among Jewish Studies professors, or just an anomaly that is occurring where I study.

 

Thanks for your thoughts and I can't wait to hear what you have to say - l'chaim!

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The Hebrew bible historian/critical theorist at my university is not very conservative.

 

Though I'm not sure if that is included under the umbrella of jewish studies, no such department exists at my university. He is american though, not Israeli.

Edited by twentysix
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I have noticed recently that most American universities apparently do not have Jewish Studies departments. I thought they all did, but apparently not...

 

Then again, my university does not have a Department of Religious Studies, and I think most universities have that...

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Right, but do they ever tend to be more conservative than other scholars? They will certainly be liberal - it's academia, after all. However, I have noticed that Jewish Studies scholars (at my university and at Israeli universities) tend to be pro-Zionist and interested in researching and combating radical ideologies like Islamic terrorism, while many scholars in the related discipline of Middle Eastern Studies tend to not be like that.

 

Perhaps it is just isolated to my university or is more of an Israeli scholar phenomenon than a Jewish Studies scholar trend...

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