Spring 2012 Lapidus Lecture in American Jewish Studies: Jenna Weissman Joselit

Mar 29, 2012, 4:30 pm6:00 pm
East Pyne Hall, Room 010
  • Program in American Studies
  • Program in Judaic Studies
Event Description
Jenna Weissman Joselit

This illustrated talk explores the transformation of the Ten Commandments from an ancient tribal covenant into a modern American article of faith. Drawing on a wide array of sources that run the gamut from broadsides to stained glass windows and archeological finds, it traces the manifold ways in which Americans made this biblical constellation of do's and dont's their very own.

Jenna Weissman Joselit, the Charles E. Smith Professor of Judaic Studies & Professor of History at the George Washington University, specializes in the history and culture of America’s Jews and in U.S. cultural history from the late 19th century on through the 1950s, and also directs a graduate program in Jewish cultural arts. Her work, both within and without the classroom, pays especially close attention to the relationship between material culture and identity. Her books include Set in Stone: America’s Embrace of the Ten Commandments, The Wonders of America: Reinventing Jewish Culture, 1880-1950, which received the National Jewish Book Award in history, and A Perfect Fit: Clothes, Character, and the Promise of America. A founding member of NYU’s Working Group on Jews, Media and Religion, she has also been a senior fellow at Princeton University’s Center for the Study of American Religion, on whose Academic Advisory Council she sits; a fellow at Yale University’s Center for Art and Material Culture, and the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Judaic Studies. In addition to her academic pursuits, she writes a monthly column on American Jewish culture for Tablet: The Online Magazine of Jewish Culture and has been a frequent contributor to the Jewish Review of Books, The New Republic, TNR Online, Gastronomica, as well as The Forward, where her monthly column ran for sixteen consecutive years.