ICCJ 2023 Conference: Negotiating Multiple Identities

Preparations for ICCJ's 2023 annual conference to be held in Boston/USA, June 18-21, are under way. The theme of the conference is "Negotiating Multiple Identities: Implications for Interreligious Relations".

The conference is organized in collaboration with the Miller Center for Interreiligious Learning and Leadership, Hebrew College, the Center for Christian-Jewish Learning, Boston College, and the Council of Centers on Jewish Christian Relations (CCJR).

Conference Theme

The work of interreligious relations requires commitments to pluralism and tolerance as well as an understanding of human diversity and complexity. Yet, in our world, these same commitments increasingly foster conflictual dynamics, hostility and power struggles, undercutting the positive gains of dialogue. This reality emerges, for instance, when global movements for racial, gendered, and postcolonial justice employ the concept of “intersectionality” to analyze the expression of overlapping racial, gender, and class identities within complex patterns of power and privilege. Those using an intersectional analysis seek to deepen solidarity between historically marginalized and privileged groups and to forge a new dynamic in which trustworthy companions collaborate to end oppression based on socially constructed identities.

Intersectionality has significant implications for Jewish-Christian and other interreligious relations, especially in debates over the primacy and role of racism with respect to antisemitism. Recent scholarship has shown the centrality of antisemitism to the development of modern racism in the Western imagination. European colonialism and arguments for “manifest destiny” emerged from supersessionist theologies of the triumph of the Church over the Synagogue. The typologies of “spirit” and “flesh” migrate between discourses about Israel and the Church to gender constructions and ideas about Blackness. The current explosive rise in global antisemitism is connected to fears over gender and race, and testifies to the urgent need for intersectional analysis that can account for both universal and particular dimensions of this prejudice. At the same time, intersectional discourse also often excludes those perceived to be oppressors or allied with them from the discussion, resulting in an anti-Zionist antisemitism.

This conference will explore these dynamics as they shape religious identities today and the relations between religious communities. The global presence of both Christianity and Judaism means that there are many diverse settings in which these debates over identity take place. The ICCJ meeting provides a unique forum for listening to these different stories and ways of engaging and navigating conflicts over identity in different national organizations of Jewish-Christian dialogue.

The conference will coincide with the observance of "Juneteenth" in the United States, the day that commemorates the delayed emancipation of enslaved Black people in Texas in 1865. This provides an opportunity to reflect on the lingering effects of traumatic histories and the resilience of people striving for justice and liberation.

Since it is by recognizing the multiple strands of identity that one can make space for the other’s self-understanding and develop the potential for solidarity, our conference will offer presentations and workshops in the following areas:

  1. The relationship of antisemitism to other patterns of oppression.
  2. Issues in global antisemitism.
  3. Strategies of effective collaborations in Jewish-Christian and interreligious relations as this relates to issues of race, gender, class, or colonialism.
  4. Perceptions of Judaism in societies without Jewish populations.
  5. Intertwined and fluid patterns of identity and belonging in the context of Jewish-Christian relations.

During its three and a half days, the event will offer keynote lectures and plenary sessions on the theme as well as a number of interactive workshops, site visits, and excursions.

The ICCJ Executive Board, the ICCJ General Secretary and the collaboration partners together with the members of the planning committee look forward to welcoming you to Boston, USA in 2023!

A pdf-file of the introduction to the conference theme for Boston 2023can be found here - please share it with colleagues and friends! Further information will follow on ICCJ's website in due time. To receive new information and updates promptly by e-mail, please register for the ICCJ-newsletter. The online-registration for participants in ICCJ's 2023 conference will open at the beginning of February 2023.

Editorial remarks

Source: ICCJ.