About the Center

The Crown Family Center for Jewish and Israel Studies is Northwestern's home for the study of contemporary Israel and the full historical range of Jewish life, religion and culture. The Crown Center houses the Jewish Studies program, an interdisciplinary unit of the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences which draws on faculty from departments in the humanities and social sciences. Undergraduate students have access to a major, two minors and a regular slate of course offerings through the Jewish Studies Program. The Crown Center also houses the Jewish Studies Graduate Cluster; the cluster is an interdisciplinary unit of The Graduate School through which graduate students across the university can receive support for interdisciplinary work in Jewish Studies.

In addition to housing the curricular units described above, the Center is actively involved in the creation of research opportunities and the curation of public programming in Jewish Studies and Israel Studies.

Research

The Center makes funds available as grants to students and faculty who are interested in pursuing research in Jewish Studies or Israel Studies. It promotes quality research in the discipline through the annual Jill Stacy Harris prize for undergraduate writing in Jewish Studies and the Crown Graduate Fellowship, which provides a year of support for the graduate student who wins the competition for this Jewish Studies funding. Additional funding is available on an ad hoc basis for undergraduate and graduate students. Past funding, for example, has made it possible for students to study accelerated Yiddish to facilitate their research. The Center has an annual competition for a post-doctoral fellowship in Israel Studies; in 2016-2017 we will announce a new post-doctoral fellowship for scholars of Judeo-Spanish literature and culture. Faculty research is supported by grants that cover conference participation, archival travel and support for Northwestern-based conferences and workshops.

Public Programming

The Crown Family Center serves two publics, an on-campus public and an off-campus public. Our on-campus public includes members of Northwestern's community of students, faculty and researchers. Our off-campus public includes anyone willing to come to our public events.

The Center hosts four named lectureships: The Philip and Ethel Klutznick Lecture in Jewish Civilization, the Alan and Norma Harris Memorial Lecture in Jewish Studies, the Manfred H. Vogel Memorial Lecture in Judaic Studies and the Renée and Lester Crown Speaker Series. These four annual events are distributed throughout the calendar year and supplemented by additional lectures and academic conferences to educate the public about Jewish Studies and Israel Studies. Though many of its events consist exclusively of academic frontal presentations, the Center also hosts films and artistic performances related to the content of Jewish and Israel Studies and framed by expert scholars and critics.