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2021 Summer Writing Group

The Association for Jewish Studies is pleased to offer an online summer writing group, limited to 24 current AJS members. This writing group will meet online for twelve weeks during the summer of 2021 (June 1 to August 23) with the explicit goal of increasing submission of publications by womxn and non-binary individuals.

Studies have shown that across the disciplines a significance gender gap exists in publishing: womxn, transmen, and non-binary people publish less than their cis-male counterparts (Dillard 2020, Schiermeier 2019, Imhoff 2019, Ali 2019a). The gendered publication gap expands for high-ranking journals (West et. al. 2013) with dire consequences: womxn, transmen, and non-binary people are not only less likely to be cited (Teele 2019, Kuo 2017, Thompson 2019, Ali 2019b), but also they are given less credit for the work they create. This makes womxn, transmen, and non-binary people less successful when it comes to advancement, hiring, and tenure (Hengel 2019), and contributes to the “leaky pipeline.”

To address this gap in publishing, the AJS is implementing a summer writing program designed specifically to provide extra support and encouragement for womxn, transmen, and non-binary individuals, with the goal of boosting submission rates. This program, run by Laura Leibman, the AJS VP of Publications, is modeled on an online summer writing program she ran for two years for scholars of Religion in American History.

The AJS, in conjunction with the Women's Caucus, will provide a copy of Wendy Belcher’s Writing Your Journal Article in 12 Weeks to each participant (If you participated in the 2020 AJS summer writing group, you are eligible to reapply, but the AJS will expect you to use the copy of Belcher's book that you received last year). Every other week, the group will connect virtually using Zoom or a similar platform and have a full group discussion about strategies for success and which of Belcher's tips work best. The weeks in between the full-group sessions, participants would meet virtually with three to four other people and exchange the parts of their work Belcher expects people to have written by that point (e.g. abstract, lit. review, etc.). The goal of these smaller groups is to read each other’s work, give supportive feedback, and learn from each other’s triumphs and pitfalls. At various points during the summer, the group might have optional extra sessions on items such as “meet some editors,” writing a book proposal, and grant writing. People at all stages of their career are welcome.

Overall, the goal of this group will attend to some of the key problems that cause womxn, transmen and non-binary members to submit fewer articles by (1) connecting people with mentors, (2) forging connections, (3) providing a supportive environment, (4) keeping people from feeling isolated, (5) breaking the cycle in which people respond to criticism by filing their work in a drawer and never looking at it again, and (6) building people’s publication skill sets.


Applicants must be current AJS members for the 2021 membership year.

Applicants should submit:

1) a current CV

2) the application form with contact information

3) a paragraph explaining why you would like to participate in the summer writing group and how it will advance your writing projects and publication agenda

Interfolio Application Link:

Application Deadline: Wednesday, April 21, 2021