Feminist Israeli filmmakers have challenged the country’s attitudes toward sexual violence. Just what lessons these filmmakers have for Americans will be explored at California State University, Northridge’s ninth annual Maurice Amado Foundation Lecture in Jewish Ethics on Monday, Feb. 14.
Israeli film expert Rachel Harris, an associate professor of Israeli literature and culture at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, will discuss how cinematic representations of women’s experiences of rape, as well as rape culture, affect how viewers think about this troubling aspect of Israeli society, and how they inspire change.
“Sometimes it is hard for us to think about ways to change and improve our own society because we’re so close to it. Looking at how another society is addressing it can help us see what’s possible,” said Jennifer Thompson, CSUN’s Maurice Amado Professor of Applied Jewish Ethics and Civic Engagement and director of the Jewish Studies Program. “I hope that audience members will come away from the lecture with both new ideas and hope for how we can make our own society safer and more respectful for women.”
The Amado Lecture is scheduled to take place at 12:30 p.m. on Feb. 14 via Zoom. The lecture is free and open to the public, but registration is required. To register, visit https://csun.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZItd-2urDIjGNNVueI9I4Z3B14yRxz-8h4i.
During the lecture, Harris will examine how feminist Israeli filmmakers tell new kinds of stories that challenge Israel’s masculine society, and offer audiences a new way to understand women’s lives. She has argued that the filmmakers can provide American audiences a new lens through which to view the #MeToo movement in the United States.
Harris has authored several books, including “An Ideological Death: Suicide in Israeli Literature” and “Warriors, Witches, Whores: Women in Israeli Cinema.” She is co-editor of “Narratives of Dissent: War in Contemporary Israeli Arts and Culture” and “Casting a Giant Shadow: The Transnational Shaping of Israeli Cinema,” and editor of “Teaching The Arab Israeli Conflict in the College Classroom,” as well as special issues of the Journal of Jewish Identities, Nashim: A journal of Jewish Women’s Studies and Gender Issues, and Shofar: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Jewish Studies. She is currently editor-in-chief of the Journal of Jewish Identities.
The Amado Lecture is part of the mission of the CSUN Jewish Studies Program’s endowed professorship, which was created to promote teaching and scholarship that draws on Sephardic, Ashkenazi and other Jewish traditions.
CSUN offers a major and minor in Jewish Studies. The program explores the rich heritage of the Jewish people. Using the methods of different academic disciplines, it examines the experience of Jews in the many lands in which they have lived over the past 4,000 years, as well as contemporary Jewish life in Israel, Europe, Asia and the Americas.