Our inaugural May 2020 conference, entitled “Beyond ‘Jewish-Muslim Relations’”, with keynote lectures by Seth Anziska (UCL), Yulia Egorova (Durham University), and Brian Klug (Oxford University), was postponed indefinitely as a result of the pandemic. Nevertheless, the 2019-2020 academic year was an eventful one. As part of our fall 2019 seminar series in Manchester, United Kingdom, Brahim El Guabli (Williams College, USA) delivered a lecture on images of Jews in French and Arabic “mnemonic literature” in Morocco, Esra Özyürek (LSE) lectured on holocaust memories and immigrant integration in Germany, Ludovic-Mohamed Zahed (Calem Institute) presented his research on the diversity of genders and sexualities in Islam, Aaron W. Hughes (University of Rochester, USA) spoke on the topic of alterity in medieval Islam, and Samuel Sami Everett (Cambridge) spoke on the vast, diverse field of “Jewish-Muslim dialogue” in France.
In addition, in December 2019, the network hosted a symposium on gender and sexuality in/around Judaism and Islam. Following the symposium, Adi Saleem Bharat has begun putting together an edited book tentatively titled Queer Jews, Queer Muslims: Race, Religion, and Representation.
Together with the Centre for Jewish Studies at the University of Manchester, we also held a panel on the theme of identity, belonging, and alienation in Jewish Studies with Aaron W. Hughes, Samuel Sami Everett, Alexander Samely (Manchester), and Katja Stuerzenhofecker (Manchester).
As a result of the pandemic, we also shifted our regular in-person reading group online. As such, we were able to welcome scholars from across the world to our online reading group.
In the summer of 2020, we also held our first two online events. The first, on June 18, was a seminar on Jews, Muslims, and secularism, with Brian Klug (Oxford University) and Sultan Doughan (Boston University). The second, on 30 July, was a launch event for a recently published book by JMRN member Robert Phillips (Ball State University), Virtual Activism: Sexuality, the Internet, and a Social Movement in Singapore (Toronto University Press, 2020).