Sunday, February 7, 2010

Conference Call for Papers: ”Reform Judaism and Its Architecture“

Call for Papers: "Reform Judaism and Its Architecture"

The Bet Tfila Research Unit for Jewish Architecture in Europe at the Technische Universität Braunschweig (Germany) is organizing a second international conference on synagogue architecture, especially focused on issues of history, design, use, interpretation and influence of Reform synagogues, or "Temple," - this on the 200th anniversary of the designation of the first synagogue-temple in Seesen.

In 2007 the same organizers produced the successful conference "Jewish Architecture in Europe" - the proceedings of which are forthcoming later this year.

Here is the call for papers:

"Reform Judaism and Its Architecture"
International Conference at the Technische Universität Braunschweig
10 – 14 October 2010
(for call for papers in German click here)

In 2010, Reform Judaism all over the world celebrates the 200th anniversary of its "mother synagogue", the Jacobstempel in Seesen/Harz, consecrated in 1810 and the first reform synagogue to be built. This anniversary serves as an impetus for Bet Tfila – the Research Unit for Jewish Architecture in Europe – to research the beginnings and expansion of reform synagogue architecture from Lower Saxony in Germany to locations all over the world.

Bet Tfila Research Unit, in cooperation with the Institute for the History of German Jews in Hamburg, therefore invites scientists from various disciplines to discuss the complex subject of Reform Judaism and its architecture at a conference in Braunschweig this fall. The discussion will revolve around 19th century building projects of reform congregations, but will not concentrate exclusively on these topics. Possible subjects could relate to the following questions:
- Was there a single type of a reform synagogue?
- What were the mutual relations between liturgical reforms, on the one hand, and the architecture, or inner space design, on the other hand?
- Viewed from a comparative perspective, what can be deduced from the architectural development of Jewish houses of worship?
- What differences and similarities can be drawn from national, European and international comparisons?
- Are there any specific regional elements which characterize Jewish prayer houses?

In addition to considering purely architectural features, interdisciplinary approaches should also be taken into consideration. Scholars of Judaism, musicologists, historians, and liturgy experts are invited to reflect on the differences and similarities between the Jewish communities (Orthodox, Liberal, and Conservative), and to also draw comparisons to the Christian environment (Protestant, Catholic, etc.).

The conference will be conducted in English. Please send a brief abstract (in German or English – max. one A4 page), as well as a short biography, including a list of publications, by 29 March 2010, to:

Prof. Dr. Harmen H. Thies
Bet Tfila – Forschungsstelle für jüdische Architektur in Europa
Technische Universität Braunschweig
Pockelsstraße 4
38106 Braunschweig
Fax +49 (0)531/391-2530

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