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From ancient biblical narratives to cutting-edge genomic research, putting mothers at the center of our questions, definitions, and research into Jewish history can provide unexpected insights and startlingly unfamiliar perspectives. As part of our Stroum Center 50th Anniversary events, author Cynthia Baker will discuss how this is especially true in relation to issues of race/ethnicity and its entanglements with gender, religion, and nationality.

In conversation with faculty member and SCJS Director Mika Ahuvia.

This event is free and open to the public. Click the button below to register:

About the speaker

photo of Cynthia Baker smiling and talking with her hands

Cynthia M. Baker is the author of “Jew” in the Key Words in Jewish Studies series, published by Rutgers University Press. The book offers a wide-ranging exploration of this key term that lies not only at the heart of Jewish experience but also at the core of Western civilizational projects. Baker is Chair of the Religious Studies Department at Bates College in Lewiston, Maine, USA, where her teaching and research engage broadly with Jewish history and historiography, early Christianity, gender, violence, and religio-ethnic nationalisms.

About the moderator

Portrait of Mika Ahuvia in suit jacket, smilingMika Ahuvia was born in Kibbutz Beit Hashita in northern Israel. She researches the formative history of Jewish and Christian communities in the ancient Mediterranean world. Specializing in Late Antique Jewish history, she works with rabbinic sources, liturgical poetry, magical texts, early mystical literature, and archaeological evidence.

Her book “On My Right Michael, On My Left Gabriel: Angels in Ancient Jewish Culture” investigates conceptions of angels in foundational Jewish texts and ritual sources. In the book, Ahuvia uncovers how angels made their way into the practices and worldview of ancient Jews and makes sense of why angels continue to play such an important role within and outside of institutional religious settings.

Ahuvia teaches courses in Jewish Studies, comparative religion, and global studies in the Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies and is also the Stroum Center’s Undergraduate Program Coordinator.