Past Event

Crafting Objects, Crafting Community: Gender and Material Culture in American Religion

January 21, 2021
5:30 PM - 7:30 PM
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Please join the Department of Religion at Barnard College on Thursday, January 21 at 5:30PM to welcome Professors Jodi-Eichler-Levine and Alyssa Maldonado-Estrada. We will engage them in conversation about their new books on gender and material culture in American Judaism and Catholicism. More information and the registration link can be found below.

Event Description

Jodi Eichler-Levine and Alyssa Maldonado-Estrada will be in conversation about their new books examining the role of material culture in shaping gender, memory, community, and identity in American Judaism and Catholicism. Join us in celebrating these new books: Lifeblood of the Parish: Men and Catholic Devotion in Williamsburg, Brooklyn (NYU Press, 2020) by Alyssa Maldonado-Estrada and Painted Pomegranates and Needlepoint Rabbis: How Jews Craft Resilience and Create Community (UNC Press, 2020) by Jodi Eichler-Levine. This event is organized by the Barnard Religion Department and the Barnard Center for Research on Women.

This event will be held on Zoom Webinar on Thursday, January 21st, 2021, at 5:30pm EST. A link to join the Webinar will be emailed to you prior to the start time.

Please register here to receive the Zoom link:


Live captioning and ASL interpretation will be provided. Please email any additional access needs to [email protected]. This event is free and open to all.

Buy the books

Word Up! Community Bookshop/Librería Comunitaria, a volunteer-run community bookshop in Washington Heights, is partnering with BCRW to sell books related to our fall events online. Visit their BCRW shop to purchase this book and support your local bookseller.

About the Speakers

Jodi Eichler-Levine is an associate professor of Religion Studies and serves as the Berman Professor of Jewish Civilization. Her work is located at the intersection of Jewish studies, religion in North America, literature, material culture, and gender studies. She holds a Ph.D. in Religion from Columbia University and a B.A. in Near Eastern and Judaic Studies from Brandeis University. Before coming to Lehigh, she spent eight years as a professor of Religious Studies and Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh.

Professor Eichler-Levine is the author Painted Pomegranates and Needlepoint Rabbis: How Jews Craft Resilience and Create Community (UNC Press, October 2020). Building upon three years of ethnography around the U.S., this book explores how everyday acts of creativity are a crucial part of making religious lives. Her first book, Suffer the Little Children: Uses of the Past in Jewish and African American Children’s Literature (NYU Press, 2013), was widely reviewed. In this work, she analyzes what is at stake in portraying religious history for young people, particularly when the histories in question are traumatic ones. Her publications have appeared in American Quarterly, Shofar, and other journals and edited volumes. Additionally, she has written for The Washington Post, Salon, The Revealer, Killing the Buddha, The Immanent Frame, AJS Perspectives, Kveller, Religion Dispatches, Tikkun, Religion in American History (where her work was also featured), and the Christian Century Then and Now blog.

Alyssa Maldonado-Estrada is Assistant Professor in the Department of Religion at Kalamazoo College. She is an ethnographer and her research focuses on material culture, Catholicism, and gender and embodiment. She is the author of Lifeblood of the Parish: Men and Catholic Devotion in Williamsburg, Brooklyn (NYU Press, 2020), an ethnography about masculinity and men’s devotional lives in a gentrified neighborhood in New York City. She is co-chair of the Men and Masculinities Unit at the American Academy of Religion and serves on the editorial board of the journal American Religion. She was chosen for 2020-2022 cohort of Young Scholars in American Religion at IUPUI’s Center for the Study of Religion and American Culture. She received her Ph.D. and M.A. in Religion from Princeton University.