Tikvah Fellowship Program
Annual Theme 2012 - 2013
"Reconsidering the Private and Public Spheres in Law & Jewish Civilization"
The construction of the private and public spheres, as well as the complex interaction and distinction between them, has been essential to the human experience and to political and legal structures. The variety of ways in which this distinction was shaped had far reaching implications on privacy, property, politics and gender relation—among other things. In law it has been partly responsible for the emergence not only of a sharp distinction between the Public and the Private, but between the discipline of public law and private law. More than in the past, there have recently been voices in general jurisprudence that have challenged the very distinction, sometimes even radically. The public-private distinction goes to profound questions on the very concept of the ‘social’ of law and legal regulation, and provides a prism through which many of the most pressing or delicate societal problems—such as abortion, gender roles, and the policy on drugs, to give but some obvious examples—are refracted.
We want to engage these issues—which constitute the Theme of The Tikvah Center for Law & Jewish Civilization at NYU School of Law for 2012/2013—by bringing together persons whose research interests surround this theme, with the result that they will have fruitful interlocutors throughout the year of the Fellowship.
More specific to our interests are questions such as: the ways in which the tradition of Jewish Law and politics has dealt with this theme as it appears, for example, in the distinction between reshut ha-yachid and reshut harabim in immensely diverse areas of law such as Shabbat, torts and purity; or the forms and ways in which halakha shapes a public realm and a private realm, understands the distinction between them, and provides an explanation for the shaping of such realms.
We will give preference to research projects that reflect upon the overall Mission Statement of the Tikvah Center at NYU School of Law. We are particularly interested in research in which:
- The discussion of—and the construction of the distinction between—the private and public realms in Jewish sources can be illuminated in light of different cultural, religious, legal, and political regimes that shaped the distinction the two realms.
- The construction of and discussion about the Private and Public in general jurisprudence and political thought can be explicitly illuminated by insights from Jewish law—broadly defined—and by other realms of Jewish Civilization such as philosophy, history, and literature.