Among the challenges facing the humanities at North American universities, foreign language study faces particular difficulties. The symposium Hebrew and the Humanities: Present Tense considers distinctive challenges in the field of Hebrew. It examines the experience of Americans who have traversed the cultural distance from English to Hebrew. Why do they do it? What is its value? What have they gained? How does the embattled position of Hebrew reflect the broader challenges of language arts and humanities education today?
This symposium is held in conjunction with the prestigious Stroum Lecture Series hosted annually at the University of Washington by the Stroum Center for Jewish Studies. Renowned writers Dara Horn and Ilan Stavans present the lectures on the evenings of May 23 and 24, 2016. The daytime symposium includes leading American scholars and translators of Hebrew, with participation by UW colleagues in Education, Near Eastern Languages & Civilization, Germanics, Comparative Literature, and other departments.
The rich interdisciplinary conversation traverses topics such as transnational literatures, translation, pedagogy, and identity. It is our hope that the gathering is be a productive jumping-off point to consider pressing questions about the state of language study in higher education.