On the Edge Symposium 2025

Center for the Study of Religion, Culture, and Society
Elon University (NC)
Feb. 9-11, 2025

Elon University’s “On the Edge” symposium, hosted by the Center for the Study of Religion, Culture and Society (CSRCS), explores new directions in the interdisciplinary study of religion. This bi-annual symposium brings together scholars working at the theoretical and methodological boundaries of those fields that have a stake in the critical analysis of religion—law, history, psychology, anthropology, literature/textual studies, philosophy, art history, political science, classics, sociology, geology, folklore, and gender studies, to name a few. “On the Edge” aims to exercise a self-conscious attention to methodological advances that can be made through interdisciplinarity. Its proceedings contribute to a richly contextualized and multi-layered understanding of the role of religion in societies past, present, and future.

2025 Symposium: Teaching Israel/Palestine after October 7

Developments since the October 7, 2023 attacks by Hamas on southern Israel have raised the stakes for teaching about the Middle East at colleges and universities in the US and beyond. While the preparation of students for global citizenship demands robust engagement with Israel/Palestine, turmoil on campuses in the last year prompts faculty to proceed with caution or avoid the topic altogether.

We believe, however, that professors around the world continue to engage in excellent teaching about Israel/Palestine—about relationships and conflicts between Israel and Palestine and between Israelis and Palestinians; about relationships between and among Israeli and Palestinian socio-political, economic, and cultural lives; and about their connections to neighboring communities and beyond.

This symposium invites proposals for papers that address teaching practices on Israel/Palestine. We encourage proposals from scholars from any disciplinary (or interdisciplinary) background regarding teaching about Israel/Palestine in a substantive manner (in part or entirety of a course) in any course format (quarter/semester long, online, etc.). To submit a proposal, please use the submission form here.

Among the topics proposals might address are:

  • Application of evidence-based strategies for teaching
  • Approaches that facilitate engaged learning
  • Course design and student learning outcomes
  • The role of campus dynamics or student groups in shaping classroom dynamics
  • How concerns about anti-Jewish, anti-Israeli, anti-Palestinian, or anti-Muslim bigotry shape classroom dynamics
  • The boundaries of acceptable classroom speech regarding Israel/Palestine
  • The role of politics and lawmakers in shaping pedagogies
  • Faculty classroom responses to the post-October 7 environment
  • Nurturing critical-mindedness, open-mindedness, respect, and other virtues required in classrooms
  • Emerging curricular initiatives
  • Relating the Israel/Palestine context to relevant local and global debates
  • How teaching Israel/Palestine compares with teaching other difficult subjects
Elon faculty conveners

Geoffrey Claussen, Professor of Religious Studies, Lori and Eric Sklut Professor in Jewish Studies and Chair of the Department of Religious Studies

Baris Kesgin, Associate Professor of Political Science and Policy Studies

Sandy Marshall, Associate Professor of Geography

For further information, please contact Brian K. Pennington, Director of the Elon Center for the Study of Religion, Culture, and Society and Professor of Religious Studies