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October 2013


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Tue, 22 Oct 2013 21:22:51 +0000
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Researching New York 2013
November 15th  & 16th, University at Albany

The complete program, registration information,  campus maps, and further details on featured events are  available on-line at  http://nystatehistory.org/researchny/rsny.html.

Featured events include:

The Gods of Gotham: Religion and the Making of New York, 1800 to 1950
 Robert Orsi, Northwestern University

 7:30 PM  Thursday, November 14, 2013
 Page Hall, University at Albany, Downtown Campus

New York City is generally thought of as the very epitome of American modernity and so it was-but it was also a rich landscape of religious practice, innovation, and conflict.  Religion did not just happen in New York City; it happened through the city, in the media of its streets, shadows, and stoops, and in exchanges among people of all the world's religions. New York has never been a secular city-or perhaps the religious history of New York demands a rethinking of what "secular" means. This lecture invites a rethinking of American urbanism as a profoundly religious reality. 

Robert Orsi is Professor of Religion and the Grace Craddock Nagle Chair in Catholic Studies in the Department of Religious Studies at Northwestern University. His wide ranging writings focus on social and cultural aspects of religion.  Called "the reigning scholar of American Catholicism" by Publishers Weekly, Orsi is author of the landmark study, "The Madonna of 115th Street: Faith and Community in Italian Harlem, 1880-1950"  ( 25th Anniversary edition 2010).  Recent  works include "Catholics in the American Century: Recasting Narratives of U.S. History" (Cornell University Press, 2012).  Orsi is currently at work on a social and cultural history of 20th century Catholic childhoods in the United States, to be published by Harvard University Press. 

Sponsored by UAlbany's Department of History, the NYS Archives Partnership Trust, and the NYS Writers Institute with support from the New York State Historical Association and The Farmer's Museum. Professor Orsi's talk is free and open to the public.

Friday November 15h   --  3:45 PM  
Recital Hall, University at Albany-Uptown Campus

A Momentous Encounter: Reform Judaism Challenges Orthodoxy in 19th Century New York 
Howard B. Rock

The Enlightenment, the notion that science and reason could lead humankind to a more perfect level of civilization, was always a challenge to traditional Judaism. This included the small communities of British and Jeffersonian New York. The major encounter, however, came in the late 1840s when the foremost Orthodox (traditional) and Reform (Jewish Enlightenment) thinkers resided at or near New York. There Reformers began a passionate dialogue that advocated radical changes to Jewish prayer and practice and attacked the Orthodoxy as leading to the eventual demise of Judaism. The Orthodox responded in kind as the two parties argued over theology, the Talmud, ritual observance, and the place of women. For five years New York was the epicenter in the American confrontation between the two denominations of Judaism, continuing through the Civil War as contrasting outlooks led to contrasting views on slavery and politics.

Howard B. Rock is Professor of History, Emeritus at Florida International University where he taught for thirty-five years. His early writing and research focused on the Revolutionary and Jeffersonian eras in New York City.  His most recent work is "Haven of Liberty, New York Jews in the New World, 1654-1865." (2012, New York University Press)  He is the author/editor of six books, most recently, coauthored with Deborah Dash Moore, "Cityscapes: A History of New York  in Images." 

Sponsored by UAlbany's Department of History and Judaic Studies Program, the NYS Archives Partnership Trust, and the NYS Writers Institute Professor Rock's  talk is free and open to the public.