Faculty-Led Summer: Graz International Summer Institute

Join Emeriti Professors Cheryl Lester and Phillip Barnard at Graz International Summer Institute

Program Overview: Constant political uncertainties. Climate change. Demographic transformation. New technologies that redefine the notion of work. The Graz International Summer Institute uses today's most pressing societal challenges as the basis for interdisciplinary study. During this two week program, students live and study in a historic castle side-by-side students and faculty from more than 30 countries. The 2019 institute theme, "Radical (Dis)Engagement: State-Society-Religion" offers students a deep dive into current global affairs and the opportunity to develop personal, academic, and professional skills. Successful completion of the course includes participation in morning lectures, afternoon seminars and a seminar paper. One of the afternoon seminars will focus on Jewish culture and modernity.
About Seggau Castle
This program takes place at a castle veue in the Austrian state of Styria. The picturesque Styrian region in southeast Austria is known for its rolling hills, vineyards, spas, and stunning castles. Schloss Seggau (Seggau Castle) dates back to Roman times and served as the residence for the first Bishop of Seckau. Until 1786 Schloss Seggau was the seat of the Styrian Bishopric and continued to serve as a summer residence of its Bishops until the mid-20th century. Perched on a hill overlooking the city of Leibnitz, today the castle has been renovated as a modern hotel and conference space that beautifuly fuses tradition with modernity.

Detailed program information can be found by visiting: 

KU Study Abroad's page for the Graz International Summer Institute

Study contemporary global affairs at an interdisciplinary institute in Austria!

Jewish Studies Program statement in solidarity with protests against police brutality

Beloved community,

As an academic program in the University of Kansas, we stand in solidarity with Black Americans -- including Black Jewish people -- and everyone hurting after the senseless, brutal murder of George Floyd and all people targeted by systemic racism and injustice in our country. We continue to be committed to our core values of diversity, equity, and inclusion. This morning, the Association for Jewish Studies sent out an email reminding us that as scholars of Jewish Studies, we are keenly aware of the devastating impact of discrimination and violence against minority groups. Dr. Cécile Accilien, the Chair of the KU Department of African and African-American studies, shared with us the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”

The Jewish Studies academic community is rich and diverse – it includes scholars and students who are Jewish and non-Jewish, scholars and students of all ethnic and racial backgrounds and from multiple denominations and creeds, people who are immigrants (like myself) and those who are American-born. The Bible commands: צֶ֥דֶק צֶ֖דֶק תִּרְדֹּ֑ף tzedek tzedek tirdof, which translates into English as “Only justice shall you pursue” (Deuteronomy 16:20). In this well-cited verse, the Hebrew word tzedek, or justice, repeats twice. There can be many explanations of the repetition – textual interpretation in all its many forms is a beloved pursuit for many of us. Today, I am going to give you my own interpretation -- though I am sure that it already exists somewhere in the treasury of Jewish exegesis. One tzedek, or justice, you must pursue for yourself and for people like you; that is, perhaps, the justice that is easiest to understand, because we keenly feel injustices committed against ourselves and people like us. The other tzedek is the justice you must pursue for the sake of people who are not like you. It is often a harder lesson, but a necessary one. The justice, or tzedek, which we pursue thus also becomes a gift of chesed, of lovingkindness that enriches all of us.


In solidarity,

Dr. Renee Perelmutter,

Director of the Jewish Studies Program

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