The 18th World Congress of Jewish Studies

Women as Zionist Thinkers: The Example of Jessie Sampter

This talk proposes to use the life and thought of Jessie Sampter to see women as Zionist thinkers. When scholars analyze women—and that is far from a given—they often approach them as teachers, facilitators, and philanthropists, but rarely as thinkers. There are historical reasons for this, including some Zionist men’s active work to exclude women’s voices from leadership. But there are also scholarly reasons, such as the longstanding sense of Jewish thought as a male enterprise, an assumption that is only beginning to be overturned. This presentation argues that by seeing women as political thinkers in the Zionist movement we not only uncover new voices but we also see new intellectual themes, such as relationality and embodiment.