As a site of both critical and interdisciplinary inquiry and conversation, I am very much looking forward to spending the year at the Marty Center, during which time I aim to complete two books.
One project is titled “Freud and the Jewish Uncanny: the Modern Nation State and its Discontents.” It examines the trope of the "Jewish Uncanny" in Freud's writings, from his essay on “The Uncanny” to his “Moses and Monotheism.” While focusing on Freud, I treat his writings in the broader context of the earlier and then contemporary connection between the perceived unheimlichkeit of Jews and the question of their incorporation as citizens in the “national home” of modern nation states. I also address how, and with what consequences, the trope of Uncanny otherness continues both to shape and haunt the inclusion of other national minorities today.
The second project is titled “Reading for Gender in Jewish Philosophy.” In this book I argue that reading for gender in Jewish philosophy requires attending to the patterning of figures and tropes of woman, gender and body, as well as a revaluing of the relationship between rhetoric and logic, in texts from Maimonides’ to Mendelssohn’s and from Cohen’s to Levinas’. Undertaking such a gender-critique, I argue, will made Jewish philosophical texts available for ethical argument and reflection today.
Susan Shapiro, our 2014 Senior Fellow in the Martin Marty Center, is Associate Professor, Department of Judaic and Near Eastern Studies and Chair, Program in Religious Studies at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.