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Presented By: Science, Technology & Society

STS Speaker Series. Queering and Transing the Life Cycle in Jewish Ritual

Max Strassfeld, University of Arizona

Prof. Max Strassfeld Prof. Max Strassfeld
Prof. Max Strassfeld
The term “life cycle ritual” is used widely in Jewish Studies. In this talk I trace the idea of the life cycle and its development, while considering the racialized, gendered, and sexual politics of the term, and the way it borrows from biological sciences. Scholars have argued that the concept of the life cycle in Judaism originates with the rabbis in late antiquity. Eunuchs and androgynes, who are found prolifically in rabbinic literature, can trouble the assumption that the rabbis are invested in an orderly cycle of life. I weave together trans and queer theory with Jewish sources to examine legal attempts to channel messy embodiment into a life trajectory.

Max Strassfeld is an Associate Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Arizona. They are the author of Trans Talmud: Androgynes and Eunuchs in Rabbinic Literature, which was a finalist for the National Jewish Book Awards in 2022.

Co-sponsors: Departments of Women’s and Gender Studies; Classical Studies; Center for Judaic Studies

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