The Yeshiva University Center for Jewish Law and Contemporary Civilization at Cardozo Law School (CJL) announces the fourth year of its Undergraduate Fellows Program, an undergraduate forum for exploring the broad humanistic questions that emerge from the Jewish tradition. Up to twelve fellows from Yeshiva and Stern Colleges will be selected for the 2011-2012 academic year. Fellows will participate in monthly seminars, led by prominent scholars who share both cutting-edge research and personal intellectual autobiographies, at Cardozo over the course of the two semesters.
The 2011-2012 seminar on “Law, Identity, and Solidarity” will examine models for the construction, propagation, and maintenance of group identity. The framework for the seminar will emerge from theoretical inquiries into the phenomena of nationalism and cosmopolitanism. The tension between these two models of group identity has risen to the surface in a world that balances post-colonialism and globalization, and we will expand our field of inquiry by comparing alternative models of group identity from the Classical and religious traditions. Among other questions, we will consider what it means to be a member of a group distinct from one’s physical environs; what creates citizenship and what are the qualifications of nationhood; whether nationalism is a secular phenomenon, and, if not, how it relates to religious beliefs and traditions; and what are the obligations of citizenship and what duties do we owe to others. In considering the strategies by which individuals come together in “imagined communities,” we will focus especially on the role of law as a type of social glue. These discussions will be grounded in scholarship about the Constitution as a text and constitutional law as a practice that shape our collective identity.
CJL brings together scholars of varied legal traditions and fields, creating a cross-cultural and cross-disciplinary dialogue that contributes a distinctively Jewish legal perspective on issues in law and culture. CJL sponsors a wide range of academic activities, including an innovative curriculum in Jewish law and legal theory, workshops, colloquia, and conferences, as well as programs designed to support students and emerging scholars. With the Undergraduate Fellows Program, CJL expands its reach to the undergraduate community at Yeshiva University. Undergraduates at Yeshiva participate in a unique dual curriculum which combines intensive study of Jewish texts and traditions with rigorous studies in the humanities and social sciences. The Undergraduate Fellows Program aims to bridge these two components of the Yeshiva curriculum though the interdisciplinary study of Jewish Law and Legal Theory.