RelSec Update: Tel Aviv University

October 1, 2013

In its role as one of the five project partners in CHCI’s Mellon-funded "Religion, Secularism, and Political Belonging (RelSec) project, the Minerva Center at Tel Aviv University has formed a  research group drawing from several universities in Israel including Tel Aviv University, Hebrew University Jerusalem, Ben Gurion University-Beer Sheva, and Carmel Academic College-Haifa. Each researcher will suggest the subject he or she wants to develop within the general frame/theme of RelSec.  Convened by project leader Raef Zreik, the research group met several times during the first half of 2013 in order to get to know each other (though many already do), to set basic expectations, and come up with a plan for next year.

While the researchers’ work is fairly decentralized, their work will benefit from collaborative activities.  They have planned to meet for a half-day each month through February 2014 to discuss RelSec’s foundational texts and to explore common themes and shared theoretical interests.  Post-doc Shaul Setter has joined Prof. Zreik in coordinating the project at the Minerva Center.

Based on the monthly meetings, the group plans to hold a two-day workshop. The exact agenda will be crafted based upon three elements: (1) the researchers’ individual projects; (2) the theoretical framework within which the group is working; and (3) the general framework of the whole project internationally. Following that workshop, the group will decide how to continue for the rest of the year.

In addition, the group plans to hold two public events each semester. The first will take as its subject Jewish and Democratic/Islamist and Democratic conversation on Israel, Tunisia, and Turkey. The second event will be convened under the title "Orthodox Jews and Pedestrians in Israel: Test Case for the Question of Belonging."