The seminar will provide students in the Jewish Studies Specialization with the necessary complement to the methodological classes and thesis workshops offered by their departments. Its leading idea is that analytical categories such as modernity, spatio-temporal continuity, cultural embeddedness, social and symbolic power are essential for research on Jewish topics, but have to be critically appropriated in order to encompass the conditions of a diaspora collectivity with its dialectics of text and custom and its peculiar (in)distinction between the religious and the secular. The first part of the class, consisting of five sessions, will survey the historiographical traditions reflecting upon these problematics since the beginning of scientific study of Jewish history and culture in the nineteenth century. The latter part of the class, consisting of seven sessions, will give an as far as possible systematic appraisal of the current research trends, critically assessing their theoretical bases and discussing their practical implications for research