Webinars

Webinars

AEN interactive webinars feature leading scholars, experts, and practitioners on issues related to AEN’s mission, including countering Israel delegitimization and antisemitism on campus, supporting academic freedom and free speech, and promoting rigorous discussion of contemporary Israel.

From Edith Wharton to Kanye West: Exploring Antisemitic Tropes in American Culture and their Impact on Campus Discourse

Sylvia Barack Fishman (Brandeis University) and Andrew “A.J.” Nolte (Regent University) discuss the roots of common antisemitic tropes, how they impact contemporary American pop culture, and how they are reflected in on-campus discourses about Israel and Jewish identity.

The 2022 Israeli Elections: Implications for the Academy and U.S. Campuses

Yael Aronoff (Michigan State University), Donna Robinson Divine (Smith College), and Elie Rekhess (Northwestern University) provide analyses of the most recent Israeli elections and their potential implications for campus discourse about Israel.

Very Nice!: Jewish Identity and Comedy in the Works of Cervantes and Sacha Baron Cohen

Dr. Beth Bernstein, senior lecturer of Spanish at Texas State University, focuses on Jewish identity in film and literature in this webinar hosted by Michael Saenger (Southwestern University), chair of AEN’s Section for Faculty in the Humanities.

Teaching Zionism on Campus: A Conversation with Dr. Einat Wilf

Dr. Einat Wilf speaks about developing her syllabus for a fall 2021 course at Georgetown University about the history of Zionism, the reactions to the course from diverse groups of students, and her insights for faculty who wish to teach about Zionism and Israel in an often-challenging campus environment.

Understanding Extremism 

This hybrid webinar featured Dr. Ayal Feinberg discussing his topic “Hate’s Counterintuitive Outcomes,” and Jaquita Wilson-Kirby discussing her topic, “Believe the Bad Guys When They Tell You Why They’re Being Bad.” Dr. Feinberg is an assistant professor of political science at Texas A&M University-Commerce. Ms. Wilson-Kirby is an equity and inclusion facilitator & candidate for Georgetown (TX) City Council. It was sponsored by Michael Saenger (Southwestern University), the AEN Section for Faculty in the Humanities, and the AEN Section for Junior Faculty.

Deep Fried Antisemitism

Hosted by Dr. Gary Grossman (University of Georgia), chair of the AEN Section for Faculty in STEM, this panel discussion focuses on antisemitism in Southern universities and in the South. Panelists were S. Perry Brickman, retired dentist and author; Dr. John Dayton, professor at the University of Georgia; Dr. Motti Inbari, professor at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke; and Rebecca Wilson, a graduate student at the University of Georgia.

Campus Cancel Culture Run Amok with Andy Pessin

AEN hosted a webinar with longtime AEN member Andy Pessin for a wide-ranging talk on his new satirical novel, Nevergreen, campus cancel culture, and the shifting landscape for Jewish and Zionist students and faculty.

Compassion in Christianity and Judaism

Hosted by Michael Saenger (Southwestern University), chair of AEN’s Section for Faculty in the Humanities, this webinar features Rudy Williams, pastor of Friendly Will Missionary Baptist Church in Georgetown, TX, and Mendel Marasow, rabbi of Chabad of Round Rock in Austin, TX, who each address the role of compassion from Christian and Jewish perspectives.

Academic Freedom and Campus Free Expression: Exploring Current Challenges and Controversies

AEN hosted a webinar featuring three experts on campus free speech and academic freedom discussing their recent research and writing, and providing insights to better understand these current issues, the challenges, and the opportunities. Panelists included Jacqueline Pfeffer Merrill (Director of the Bipartisan Campus Free Expression Project at the Bipartisan Policy Center), Samuel Abrams (Professor of Politics and Social Science at Sarah Lawrence College and a Senior Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute), and Michelle Deutchman (Executive Director of University of California National Center for Free Speech and Civic Engagement).

Defiant Readings of Jewishness: Bridging Analysis and Activism

AEN’s Section for Faculty in the Humanities and Interest Group for Faculty in the Northeast hosted a joint webinar featuring presentations from four AEN members: Michael Saenger (Southwestern University): “The Shylock Trap and the Academic Jew;” Ellen W. Kaplan (Smith College): “Old Wine in New Bottles: Contesting Jewish Identity on the 21st Century American Stage;” Justin Cammy (Smith College): “Daniel Deronda and the Origins of Zionist Literature;” and Vered Weiss (Sonoma State University): “Made for Rejection: Racial Otherness and Narrative Empathy in The Wondrous Deeds of the Maharal of Prague by Yudl Rosenberg and Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley’s Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus.”

Teaching about Antisemitism on Campus: Cross-Disciplinary Perspectives

AEN hosted a webinar featuring a panel of four AEN members across rank and discipline discussing their experiences teaching about antisemitism on campus. Rachel Harris (University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign), Meir Muller (University of South Carolina), James Nemiroff (Kalamazoo College), and Avi Patt (University of Connecticut) shared their course content and pedagogical philosophies regarding teaching about antisemitism as well as challenges, student responses, impacts on campus climate, and best practices for developing and implementing courses about antisemitism in different fields of study.

Raising Awareness about Antisemitism on Campus — A New Educational Tool

AEN hosted a webinar featuring Dr. Ethan Katz (UC Berkeley) and Rabbi Adam Naftalin-Kelman (UC Berkeley Hillel) who shared how they are using “Antisemitism in Our Midst: Past and Present” – an 11-minute film charting the history of antisemitism from its origins until today – as part of UC Berkeley’s Antisemitism Education Initiative to change the conversation about antisemitism on their campus and beyond.

Diversity, Multiculturalism, and Co-existence in Israeli Higher Education

AEN hosted a webinar featuring Ron Robin, President of the University of Haifa, and Daniel Chamovitz, President of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. During this event, which was moderated by Mark G. Yudof, Chair of AEN’s Advisory Board and former President of the University of California system. Presidents Robin and Chamovitz discussed how Israeli academic institutions promote diversity, multiculturalism, and co-existence, the policies they institute to help ensure that students from diverse backgrounds feel included, the opportunities for learning, growth, and co-existence that come from having a diverse student body, faculty, and staff, and how the student experience at the University of Haifa and Ben-Gurion University challenges the allegations and accusations often made by the global anti-Israel movement.

Retrospective on the May 2021 Israel-Hamas Hostilities — Causes and Consequences

AEN hosted a webinar with six AEN faculty members providing a retrospective on the May 2021 Israel-Hamas hostilities, including the impact on regional peace efforts, legal aspects of the conflict, media fails, Jerusalem dimensions and the “cognitive war,” the impact on campus vis-a-vis anti-Israel activism, and the troubling violence that erupted between Arabs and Jews in Israel. Speakers included Donna Robinson Divine (Smith College), Chuck Freilich (Columbia University), Oren Gross (University of Minnesota), Richard Landes (Boston University), Andrew Pessin (Connecticut College), and Elie Rekhess (Northwestern University).

Is there a French “new” antisemitism?

AEN hosted a webinar with Dr. Bruno Chaouat, a professor of French and Jewish Studies at the University of Minnesota. Dr. Chaouat examined the rise of antisemitism in contemporary France and how the country is responding to it. He also discussed the differences and similarities between antisemitism in France and the U.S. This webinar was organized and moderated by Professor Oren Gross (University of Minnesota Law School), chair of AEN’s Section for Faculty in Law, and Professor Dan Gordon (University of Massachusetts, Amherst), chair of AEN’s Interest Group for Faculty in the Northeast.

Ethnic Studies and the Jews: Current Developments in K-12 and in the Universities

AEN hosted a webinar with Tammi Rossman-Benjamin, a lecturer at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and co-founder of the AMCHA Initiative, a nonprofit that combats campus antisemitism. Rossman-Benjamin discussed how Jews and Israel are presented in the field of Ethnic Studies both in California and the broader United States. The webinar was organized and moderated by Professor Joel Hass (UC Davis), chair of AEN’s Interest Group for Faculty in California.

Law, Jew-hatred, and Higher Education: A Conversation with Kenneth L. Marcus

AEN hosted a webinar with Kenneth L. Marcus, the Founder and Chairman of the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law, and a former Assistant U.S. Secretary of Education for Civil Rights. Marcus discussed ways of recognizing and addressing antisemitism in higher education, as well as his own work in the field.

Normalization without Borders: A Conversation with Einat Wilf

AEN hosted a webinar with Dr. Einat Wilf, the prominent Israeli author and thought leader. Wilf discussed Israel’s growing legitimacy in the Middle East, particularly in the wake of the recent Abraham Accords, and contrasted these developments with the anti-Zionist currents founds in certain corners of the West.

Free Speech and Equality on Campus: Some Principles and Recommendations

AEN hosted a webinar with Professor Dale Carpenter, the Judge William Hawley Atwell Chair of Constitutional Law at Southern Methodist University’s Dedman School of Law. Carpenter spoke on the topic, “Free Speech and Equality on Campus: Some Principles and Recommendations.”

Not in Kansas Anymore: Academic Freedom in Palestinian Universities

AEN hosted a webinar with Cary Nelson, Professor Emeritus at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, who discussed his newly released research paper, “Not In Kansas Anymore: Academic Freedom in Palestinian Universities.” This paper, the first in AEN’s newly launched Research Paper Series, details how academic freedom is suppressed on Palestinian campuses through violent factionalism, religious extremism, and incitement.

The University Campus in the Time of COVID-19: A Conversation with President Joseph I. Castro

AEN hosted a webinar featuring Dr. Joseph I. Castro, current President of California State University, Fresno, and incoming Chancellor of the CSU System. During this event and the Q and A which followed, President Castro discussed how COVID-19 has impacted college and university campuses – academically, financially, and socially; the potential opportunities for innovation and inclusivity which may result from COVID-era shifts; and his views on diversity, inclusion, and the role of ethnic studies on college and university campuses.

Framing Israel: A Personal Tour of Media and Campus Rhetoric

AEN hosted a webinar featuring Cherryl Smith, Professor Emerita of English at California State University- Sacramento. Prof. Smith discussed her new book Framing Israel: A Personal Tour of Media and Campus Rhetoric. AEN member Amy Elman, Professor of Political Science at Kalamazoo College, moderated the discussion.

The Israeli Response to Covid-19

AEN hosted a webinar featuring Avi Avital, a neuroscientist at the Technion in Haifa. Avital discussed the successes – and failures – in combatting the COVID-19 pandemic on the part of the Israeli government and medical institutions, as well as various sectors of Israeli society. AEN member Gary Grossman, Professor of Animal Ecology at the University of Georgia, moderated the discussion.

“This Isn’t Europe”: How Israel’s Mizrahi Community is Redefining Israeli Identity

AEN’s third webinar featured Matti Friedman, the prominent Israeli journalist and author. Friedman discussed how Israel’s Mizrahi population (Jews from Arab countries and their descendants) has shaped and shifted Israeli politics, culture, and society, and how to integrate these narratives into on-campus discussions.

Combating Antisemitism and Protecting Free Speech on Campus: A Panel Discussion on Title VI and the December 2019 Executive Order

This webinar featured a panel of experts who shared multiple perspectives on the utility and impact of the recent Executive Order: Joe Cohn, legislative and policy director for the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE); Alyza D. Lewin, president and general counsel at the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law; and Benjamin Ryberg, chief operating officer and director of research at The Lawfare Project. The webinar recording includes the opening and closing remarks of the panelists as breakout sessions were off the record and not recorded.

A New Model for Combating Antisemitism & Anti-Israel Activism on Campus

AEN’s inaugural webinar featured Gil Troy, professor of history at McGill University and author of The Zionist Ideas: Visions for the Jewish Homeland – Then, Now, Tomorrow. Troy described how the ideas and concepts discussed in his book could serve as catalysts for rigorous, proactive discussions about Zionism and Israel which counter the one-sided narrative often heard on many campuses. Troy also authored the Why I am a Zionist pamphlet as a part of AEN’s Pamphlet Series.

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