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Another Zionism: Jessie Sampter, Queerness, and Disability – Sarah Imhoff (Indiana)
Jessie Sampter (1883-1938) embraced Zionism as an adult and moved to Palestine in 1919. Yet Sampter’s own life and body hardly matched typical Zionist ideals: while Zionism celebrated the strong and healthy body, Sampter spoke of herself as “crippled” from childhood polio and plagued by weakness and sickness her whole life; while Zionism applauded reproductive women’s bodies, Sampter never married or bore children—in fact, she wrote of homoerotic longings and had a same-sex relationship we might consider queer. Though she committed herself to Zionism, she also offered ideological alternatives to its most popular visions.
Sarah Imhoff is Jay and Jeanie Schottenstein Chair in Jewish Studies and Associate Professor in the Department of Religious Studies and the Borns Jewish Studies Program at Indiana University. She writes about religion and the body with a particular interest in gender, sexuality, disability, and American religion, as well as maintaining a research specialty in religion and law. She is author of Masculinity and the Making of American Judaism (Indiana University Press, 2017) and The Lives of Jessie Sampter: Queer, Disabled, Zionist (Duke University Press, 2022). She is the founding co-editor of the journal American Religion. She is also working on a co-authored book with Susannah Heschel about women and gender in Jewish Studies (Princeton University Press, 2023).
Another Zionism: Jessie Sampter, Queerness, and Disability
Sarah Imhoff (Indiana University)
Moderator: Sarah Abrevaya Stein (UCLA)
Cosponsored by the
UCLA Y&S Nazarian Center for Israel Studies
UCLA Disability Studies
UCLA LGTBQ Studies