What would you like Perspectives to be?

Erica Lehrer

Concordia University

With AJS Perspectives going online, a much broader discussion could be opened that links academic Jewish Studies practitioners with a range of Jewish culture workers, knowledge producers, and interested members of various publics who would make productive interlocutors around subjects of shared concern.

The periodical could grow into a lively venue for Jewish-related "public scholarship," whence ideas incubated in the academy may more easily infuse public debates, and provide Jewish community members and broader audiences new tools for thinking. Further, in accordance with democratizing trends in knowledge production among practitioners of publicly engaged academic work (e.g. through various forms of collaboration), Perspectives could also form an interface for bi-directional learning: a site where nonacademics who often think about and do creative work in domains shared by academics can engage with us.

With web 2.0, the editors could invite nonacademics invested in Jewish issues to pose questions or themes to which scholars could respond; they might also organize forums where scholars, artists, and community practitioners could debate a rich or pressing topic. This would provide a much-needed venue for wide-ranging public debate of critical social and cultural issues, when such space seems to be contracting in the Jewish communal world. Those who work in the Jewish communal sphere—as well as journalists, artists, and other culture workers—can offer "on the ground" views of, or creative approaches to, emergent phenomena, and benefit from academic specialists' contributions of new data, historical depth, comparative contexts, and new frameworks for thinking.

The web will also allow media-rich presentations of research-in-progress, and scholars could be fruitfully stretched in their own practice through invitations to contribute in nontextual ways. Perspectives could maintain an ongoing online gallery of scholars' forays into the production of exhibitions, films, sound recordings, websites, and other media.