Current Course List

Fall 2016 Courses

REL 269  Sacred Pursuits

Tehseen Thaver
M  W    3:10 pm-4:30 pm  OLIN 201
MBV HUM
Cross-listed: Jewish Studies; Theology
   This course will examine key approaches and theoretical interventions in the academic study of religion. Through a close analysis of both primary and secondary texts we will explore multiple ways of interrogating religion as an object of study. This course will introduce students to the history of religion studies as a field and to the key discourses and debates that have shaped the field both historically and in the contemporary moment. A major focus of this class will be on the careful examination of central categories and concepts critical to the study of religion such as tradition, modernity, secularism, materiality and ritual practice. Back to top

LIT   2404   Fantastic Journeys and the Modern World

Jonathan Brent
F  3:00 pm – 5:20 pm  OLIN 201
ELIT
Cross-listed:  Jewish Studies; Russian & Eurasian Studies
  The modern world has been characterized in many ways, as a time of unimaginable freedom, as well as existential angst, exile, loss of the idea of home, loss of the idea of positive heroes; a triumphant embracing of the “new” and the future, as well as the troubling encounter with machines and the menace of totalitarianism.   It was a time when barriers of all sorts began to crumble—barriers between past and present, foreground and background, high and low culture, beauty and ugliness, good and evil.  Artists and writers responded in many different ways across the world. The writers we will read in this class represent the fulcrum of creativity in America, Central or Eastern Europe and Russia.  Each lived at a different axis of modernity—where East met West, where the Russian Revolution provided a vibrant but terrifying image of liberation, where modern technological innovation produced endless possibilities of satirization of both the old world and the new, where ethnic and genocidal violence was developing under the surface of this innovation into the foreseeable European Holocaust. These writers have something powerful and unique to say about the advent of the modern period in the fantastic parallel worlds they created where machines take on lives of their own, grotesque transformations violate the laws of science, and inversions of normality become the norm.  Through their fantastic conceptions a vision of modernity emerges which questions the most basic presumptions of western civilization—in art, morality, politics, the psyche and social life—a vision for which the West still has no satisfying response. All readings are in English. We will read The Marvelous Land of Oz (L. Frank Baum), The Metamorphosis (Kafka), RUR (Capek), War with the Newts (Capek), Street of Crocodiles (Schulz), Sanatorium Under the Sign of the Hour Glass (Schulz), Envy (Olesha) The Bedbug (Mayakovsky). There will be 4 short papers for the course & one final paper. Back to top

REL 111  The Hebrew Bible

David Nelson
T  Th   11:50 am-1:10 pm  OLIN 204
MBV HUM/DIFF

Cross-listed: Jewish Studies; Theology   The Hebrew Bible is arguably one of the most important works of Western culture. This course will survey the text, meaning, historical background and ancient near eastern literary and cultural context of the Hebrew Bible, and will provide a crucial introduction to all further studies of the three Abrahamic faiths. We will examine the interplay between history and myth, the various forms and purposes of biblical law, the phenomenon of biblical prophecy, and the diverse literary genres that are found within the Bible. Our goal will be to understand the work as a religious, historical, legal, and narrative work that reflected the society from which all of later Judaism, Christianity and Islam grew. Back to top

HIST / JS 120  Jewishness Beyond Religion

Cecile Kuznitz
M  W    3:10 pm-4:30 pm  OLIN 204

HA/D+J  HIST/DIFF
Cross-listed: Historical Studies 
 In the pre-modern world Jewish identity was centered on religion but expressed as well in how one made a living, what clothes one wore, and  what language one spoke. In modern times Jewish culture became more voluntary and more fractured. While some focused on Judaism as (only)  a religion, both the most radical and the most typical way in which  Jewishness was redefined was in secular terms. In this course we will explore the intellectual, social, and political movements that led to new secular definitions of Jewish culture and identity, focusing on examples from Western and Eastern Europe and the United States. Topics will include the origins of Jewish secularization, haskalah (Jewish enlightenment) and Reform, acculturation and assimilation, modern Jewish political movements including Zionism, and Jews and the arts.  In addition to secondary historical texts we will pay special attention to a wide variety of primary source documents. The class will also incorporate materials drawn from literature, film, and music. Back to top

HIST 3133 Resistance & Collaboration

Cecile Kuznitz
W     10:10 am-12:30 pm  OLIN 107
HA/D+J  HIST

Cross-listed: German Studies; Human Rights; Jewish Studies  This course will consider the concepts of resistance and collaboration, in particular as they apply to the actions of victims and bystanders during the Holocaust. We will examine patterns of reaction variously termed passive, armed, cultural and spiritual resistance. We will also look at the range of behaviors among bystander groups including collaboration, inaction, and rescue. By reading a number of scholars with widely varying views, including Hannah Arendt, Yehuda Bauer, and Isaiah Trunk, we will grapple with the issues raised on several levels: Theoretically, what are the most useful definitions of these terms? Empirically, how can we assess the extent of resistance and collaboration that took place historically? Ethically, what types of behavior are “reasonable” or morally justified in such extreme circumstances? This course is designated as a Major Conference for students in Historical Studies. All students are required to write a substantial research paper considering these questions as they apply to a particular event or group during the Holocaust or another historical case study. Back to top

Spring 2016 Courses

HIST / JS 215  From Shtetl to Socialism
East European Jewry in the Modern Era

Cecile Kuznitz
M W     11:50 am-1:10 pm  RKC 200

HIST/DIFF
Cross-listed: Global & International Studies; Historical Studies; Jewish Studies; Russian
  Eastern Europe was the largest and most vibrant center of Jewish life for almost five  hundred years prior to the Holocaust. In that period East European Jewry underwent a wrenching process of modernization, creating radically new forms of community, culture, and political organization that still shape Jewish life today in the United States and Israel. We will consider topics including the rise of Hasidism and Haskalah (Enlightenment), modern Jewish political movements including Zionism, pogroms and Russian government policy towards the Jews, and the development of modern Jewish literature in Yiddish and Hebrew. Course materials will include primary and secondary historical sources as well as literature. The course will also incorporate guest lectures by faculty at Bard partners in Eastern and Central Europe. Back to top

REL 125  Jewish Thought & Practice

David Nelson
T Th    11:50 am-1:10 pm  OLIN 205
HUM

Cross-listed: Jewish Studies  This is an in-depth first course in the study of Jewish religious life. We will explore in depth the process by which the historical transition period of the first few centuries of the common era produced a substantially new religious system (quite unlike that described in the Bible)  that later generations think of simply as "Judaism." Throughout our comprehensive examination of Jewish ritual practice, we will pay special attention to how the absence of Temple cult led to a new system of religious practice, a new canon of Jewish literature, and a new landscape of philosophical positions that came to characterize "Rabbinic" Judaism.  No prior familiarity with the topic is required. Back to top

HIST 3134  The Arab Israel Conflict

Joel Perlmann
T    3:10 pm-5:30 pm  OLIN 303

HIST/DIFF
Cross-listed: Global & International Studies; Human Rights; Jewish Studies; Midde Eastern Studies  This course provides an understanding of the conflict from its inception in the late 19th century to the present.  Themes include: the development of the Jewish national movement to settle Palestine (Zionism) and  Palestinian Arab nationalism; the 1948 War, statehood and refugees; conflicts between national states (Israel vs. Egypt, Syria, Jordan, etc); the 1967 War and Israel’s control thereafter of conquered territories (through military occupation and civilian settlements); the Palestinian resistance movements; later wars; the evolving relation between Israel, the various Arab states, and the Palestinian Fatah and Hamas; the special role of Gaza.    Shifting competitions of world and regional powers have been a factor at every turn (Ottoman, British, American/Soviet, hegemonic American and Iranian).    Finally, we will also assess the changing nature of international opinion and support: Israel’s image, the prospects of recent international (often non-governmental) movements to influence Israeli policy, the evolving relationship between American Jews and Israel and alternative possible solutions to the conflict.   After a very brief overall survey, the class will consider a turning point or special theme each week.  Students major writing assignment will be a term paper. Back to top

Fall 2015 Courses

HIST / JS  101  Introduction to Jewish Studies

Cecile Kuznitz
M  W  3:10 pm -4:30 pm  OLIN 204
HUM/DIFF
Cross-listed: Religion
  This interdisciplinary course will introduce students to major themes in the field of Jewish Studies. The primary focus will be on the history of the Jewish people and on Judaism as a religion, but we will also examine topics in Jewish literature, society, and politics. The course will treat selected themes from the Biblical period to the present, but with a greater emphasis on the medieval and especially the modern period. Among the issues to be explored: What role has the Land of Israel played in Jewish life, and how have Jews responded to their nearly 2,000-year experience of exile and Diaspora? How have they negotiated both the “push” of antisemitism and the “pull” of assimilation to maintain distinct forms of community and identity? What role have various types of texts played in Jewish culture, and what is their relationship to lived Jewish experience? Finally, what are the implications of such momentous recent events as the Holocaust, the establishment of the State of Israel, and the rise of the American Jewish community? Back to top

HIST  153   Diaspora & Homeland
A Global Core Course 

 

Myra Armstead /Cecile Kuznitz
M  W  1:30 pm -2:50 pm  OLIN 102
HIST/DIFF
Cross-listed:  American Studies; Africana Studies; Global & Int’l Studies; Human Rights; Jewish Studies; Related interest: Asian Studies
  The concept of Diaspora has gained widespread popularity as a way of thinking about group identity and its relationship to place. In an era of increasing globalization individuals are more likely to emigrate to distant shores, although this is in fact a longstanding historical phenomenon. Homelands in turn have taken on multiple, complex meanings in the imaginations and lived experience of migrant populations, particularly in recent times as technological and transportation innovations facilitate the maintenance of links with native lands.  In this course we will read recent theoretical works on Diaspora and then examine case studies of diasporic populations from ancient times to the present.  We will inquire about the extent to which Diaspora is celebrated or lamented, how this attitude affects real and imagined ties to homelands.  While our focus will be chiefly on diasporic peoples themselves, we will examine the perspective of native/homeland populations on such issues as well.  Case studies will include the first and longest-lived diasporic minority group, the Jewish people; black African-descended people since the trans-Atlantic slave trade; and Chinese and South Asian migrant populations. Back to top

Spring 2015 Courses

HIST 2701 The Holocaust, 1933-1945

Cecile Kuznitz
T Th 11:50 am – 1:10 pm OLIN 301
HIST/DIFF
This course will provide an overview of the Nazi attempt to exterminate the Jewish people during the Second World War. We will examine topics including the background of modern anti-Semitic movements and the aftermath of World War I; the reactions of German Jews during 1933-1939; the institution of ghettos and the cultural and political activities of their populations; the turn to mass murder and its implementation in the extermination camps; the experiences of other groups targeted by the Nazis; the reactions of “bystanders” (the populations of occupied countries and the Allied powers); and the liberation and its immediate aftermath. Emphasis will be on the development of Nazi policy and Jews’ reactions to Nazi rule, with special attention to the question of what constitutes resistance or collaboration in a situation of total war and genocide. Back to top

REL 257 Gender & Sexuality in Judaism

David Nelson
T Th 11:50 am – 1:10 pm RKC 111
HUM/DIFF
Traditional Judaism is often seen as a highly patriarchal system in which women have little access to public ritual roles or community leadership. It enforces a strict separation between men and women in many social situations, and prohibits even casual physical contact between husband and wife during the wife’s menstrual period. It defines some sexual acts between two men as an “abomination” for which capital punishment is prescribed. What are the origins of these practices, and the social, theological, and psychological attitudes that they reflect? This course will examine a broad sweep of issues relating to gender and sexuality in the earliest strata of Jewish historical development, that is, the biblical and rabbinic periods. Topics to be covered will include public and private gender roles; power dynamics between men and women, views of sexuality, marriage and its variants; homosexuality; etc. We will read both narrative and legal primary texts, as well as current scholarship on the development of these issues in the ancient world. Our goal will be to gain an understanding of some of the beliefs and values that drove the development of early Judaism. Back to top

HEB 102 Elementary Hebrew II

David Nelson
M T W Th 1:30pm – 2:30 pm OLIN 302
FLLC
This two-semester course introduces students to Modern Hebrew as it is spoken and written in Israel today. Beginning with script and pronunciation, the course also covers a wide range of texts and topics that build an active and passive lexicon as well as grammatical structures. Back to top

HIST 181 Jews in the Modern World

Cecile Kuznitz
T Th 3:10 pm – 4:30 pm HEG 201
HIST/DIFF
In the modern period, Jews faced unprecedented opportunities to integrate into the societies around them as well as anti-Semitism on a previously unimaginable scale. In response to these changing conditions they reinvented Jewish culture and identity in radically new ways. This course will survey the history of the Jewish people from the expulsion from Spain until the establishment of the State of Israel. It will examine such topics as the expulsion and its aftermath; social, intellectual, and economic factors leading to greater toleration at the start of the modern period; the varying routes to emancipation in Western Europe, Eastern Europe, and the Islamic World; acculturation, assimilation, and their discontents; modern Jewish nationalist movements such as Zionism; the Holocaust, the establishment of the State of Israel; and the growth of the American Jewish community. 

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REL 104 Introduction to Judaism

Alan Avery-Peck
M 1:30 pm – 3:50 pm OLIN 310
HUM/DIFF
Diverse Judaic religious systems (“Judaisms”) have flourished in various times and places. No single Judaism traces a linear, unitary, traditional line from the beginning to the present. This course sets forth a method for describing, analyzing, and interpreting Judaic religious systems and for comparing one such system with another. It emphasizes the formative history of Rabbinic Judaism in ancient and medieval times, and the development, in modern times, of both developments
out of that Judaism and Judaic systems competing with it: Reform, Orthodox, Conservative Judaisms in the 19th century, Zionism, the American Judaism of Holocaust and Redemption, in the twentieth. In both the classical and the contemporary phases of the course, analysis focuses upon the constant place of women in Judaic systems as a basis for comparison and contrast. Back to top

JS 315 The Culture of Yiddish

Cecile Kuznitz
W 1:30 pm – 3:50 pm HEG 201
HIST
Cross-listed: History For nearly one thousand years Yiddish was the primary language of European Jewry and its emigrant communities. This class will explore the role of Yiddish in Jewish life and the rich culture produced in the language. Topics will include the sociolinguistic basis of Jewish vernacular languages; medieval popular literature for a primarily female audience; the role of Yiddish in the spread of Haskalah (the Jewish Enlightenment); attempts to formulate a secular Jewish identity around the Yiddish language; the flourishing of modern Yiddish press, literature, and theater and their intersection with European modernism; contemporary Hasidic (ultra-Orthodox) culture; and the ongoing debate over the alleged death of Yiddish. All readings will be in English translation. Familiarity with the Hebrew alphabet and/or Jewish history helpful but not required. Class size: 15 Back to top

Fall 2014 Courses

LIT 2413 Jewish Writers
From Franz Kafka to Philip Roth

Norman Manea
T Th 10:10 am- 11:30 am HEG 200
ELIT
Cross-listed:  Jewish Studies This class will first discuss the notion of Jewishness and the Jewish writer, in the context of our modern age. We will read and debate, afterwards, short prose by Agnon, Buber, Heine, Zweig, Amery, Deutscher, Kafka, Malamud, JB Singer, Ph. Roth, Babel, Schulz, Basani, Bellow, Oz, Koestler, Levi, Danio Kis, Kertesz, Woody Allen, AB Jehoshua, Joseph Roth etc. The class-discussion will focus on the great range of topics expressed in these texts, on their originality and literary value. Class size: 15
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LIT 2404 Fantastic Journeys and the Modern World

Jonathan Brent
W 4:40 pm -7:00 pm OLIN 203
ELIT
Cross-listed:  Jewish Studies; Russian & Eurasian Studies  The modern world has been characterized in many ways, as a time of unimaginable freedom, as well as existential angst, exile, loss of the idea of home, loss of the idea of positive heroes; a triumphant embracing of the “new” and the future, as well as the troubling encounter with machines and the menace of totalitarianism.   It was a time when barriers of all sorts began to crumble—barriers between past and present, foreground and background, high and low culture, beauty and ugliness, good and evil.  Artists and writers responded in many different ways across the world. The writers we will read in this class represent the fulcrum of creativity in America, Central or Eastern Europe and Russia.  Each lived at a different axis of modernity—where East met West, where the Russian Revolution provided a vibrant but terrifying image of liberation, where modern technological innovation produced endless possibilities of satirization of both the old world and the new, where ethnic and genocidal violence was developing under the surface of this innovation into the foreseeable European Holocaust. These writers have something powerful and unique to say about the advent of the modern period in the fantastic parallel worlds they created where machines take on lives of their own, grotesque transformations violate the laws of science, and inversions of normality become the norm.  Through their fantastic conceptions a vision of modernity emerges which questions the most basic presumptions of western civilization—in art, morality, politics, the psyche and social life—a vision for which the West still has no satisfying response. All readings are in English. We will read The Marvelous Land of Oz (L. Frank Baum), The Metamorphosis (Kafka), RUR (Capek), War with the Newts (Capek), Street of Crocodiles (Schulz), Sanatorium Under the Sign of the Hour Glass (Schulz), Envy (Olesha) The Bedbug (Mayakovsky). There will be 4 short papers for the course & one final paper.  Class size: 22
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LIT 328 Ideology and Politics in Modern Literature

Justus Rosenberg
T 3:10 pm – 5:30 pm OLIN 308
ELIT
Cross-listed: Jewish Studies; Political Studies   We examine how political issues and beliefs, be they of the left, right, or center, are dramatically realized in literature.  Works by Dostoyevsky, Ibsen, T.S. Eliot, Kafka, Thomas Mann, Brecht, Sartre, Malraux, Gordimer, Kundera, Neruda, and others are analyzed for their ideological content, depth of conviction, method of presentation, and the artistry with which these writers synthesize politics and literature into a permanent aesthetic experience.  We also try to determine what constitutes the borderline between art and propaganda and address the question of whether it is possible to genuinely enjoy a work of literature whose political thrust and orientation is at odds with our own convictions.  The discussions are supplemented by examples drawn from other art forms such as music, painting, and film.   Class size: 15
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REL 111 The Hebrew Bible

David Nelson
T Th 11:50 am -1:10 pm OLIN 101
HUM/DIFF
Cross-listed: Jewish Studies, Theology   The Hebrew Bible is arguably one of the most important works of Western culture. This course will survey the text, meaning, historical background and ancient near eastern literary and cultural context of the Hebrew Bible, and will provide a crucial introduction to all further studies of the three Abrahamic faiths. We will examine the interplay between history and myth, the various forms and purposes of biblical law, the phenomenon of biblical prophecy, and the diverse literary genres that are found within the Bible. Our goal will be to understand the work as a religious, historical, legal, and narrative work that reflected the society from which all of later Judaism, Christianity and Islam grew.  Class size: 20
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REL 269 Sacred Pursuits

Bruce Chilton
W F 1:30 pm -2:50 pm CENTER FOR JAMES
HUM
Cross-listed:  Jewish Studies, Theology   This seminar is devoted to developing theoretical self-awareness in the study of religion. In order to achieve that end, we will read some of the key theorists in the study of religion, apply their insights to case-studies, and refine their approaches as seems necessary.  Class size: 18
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HEB 101 Beginning Hebrew

David Nelson
M T W Th 1:30 pm -2:30 pm HEG 200
FLLC
Cross-listed:  Jewish Studies, Middle Eastern Studies     This introductory Hebrew course will cover the basics of Hebrew  language: reading, writing and speaking - assuming no previous  knowledge on the student’s part. Although the text used for the course  is explicitly a text for Modern Hebrew, the skills acquired on this  first-year level can be easily applied to the study of pre-modern  (e.g., biblical and rabbinic) Hebrew text.  Class size: 15
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Spring 2014 Courses

HIST 2122   The Arab-Israel Conflict

Joel Perlmann
T Th 3:10 -4:30 pm OLIN 301
HIST/DIFF
Cross-listed: Global & Int’l Studies, Human Rights, Middle East Studies  This course is meant to provide students with an understanding of this conflict from its inception to the present. Considerable attention will be given to the present; nevertheless, the conflict is simply incomprehensible without a solid understanding of its evolution - incomprehensible not merely in terms of details, but in terms of broader themes and aroused passions. Among the themes to be discussed are the following. A Jewish national movement arose in the late nineteenth century to oppose the conditions of Jewish life in Europe, and an Arab national movement (as well as a specifically Palestinian movement) arose to oppose Ottoman and European rule of Arab peoples. Out of the clash of these movements emerged the State of Israel and the Palestinian refugees in 1948. The political character of the conflict has changed over the decades: first it involved competing movements (before 1948), then chiefly a conflict of national states (Israel vs. Egypt, Syria, Jordan, etc), and now it is conceived as chiefly a conflict between Israeli military rule of territories (occupied since the 1967 war) and an insurgent Palestinian independence movement. Military realities also changed greatly, as did the accusations about the role of ‘terror’ as a tactic (from the Jewish Irgun to Hamas) and the role of religion. And not least, the conflict has been shaped by strategic and economic considerations of the great powers (Ottoman, British, American/Soviet, hegemonic American) as well as by considerations of domestic political culture in Israel and in the Arab world.  Class size: 20

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REL 212   Archaeology of the Bible

Bruce Chilton
T Th 1:30 -2:50 pm OLINLC 206
HUM

In two senses, the Bible has been an object of excavation.  Artifacts and archaeological investigations have played a major part in the reconstruction of the meanings involved, while the depth of texts -- as compositions that took shape over time -- has been increasingly appreciated. This seminar involves understanding the social histories of Israel and the early Church as they shaped the biblical texts. This approach identifies the constituencies for which the sources of the texts were produced. By “sources” we mean, not the documents as they stand (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, and so on), but the traditions that fed into those documents. The final, editorial moment when traditions were crystallized in writing is a vital juncture in the literary formation of the Scriptures, but is not solely determinative of their meaning. The unfolding of meanings within texts during the whole of their development explodes the claim of a single, exclusive meaning in biblical exegesis. The seminar will attend to the variety of meanings inherent within the Scriptures -- without limitation to a particular theory of interpretation, and with constant attention to issues of historical context. Program category:  Interpretive  Class size: 20

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REL 234   Ethical Dilemmas in Science, Medicine and Technology from a Jewish Perspectiv

David Nelson
T Th  11:50 -1:10 pm OLIN 302
HUM
Cross-listed: Philosophy; Science, Technology & Society  Continuing advances in science and technology raise ethical issues that would have been wholly alien to pre-modern thinkers. Issues surrounding the beginning and the end of life, genetic engineering, stem cell research, environmental degradation, and others present us with unprecedented ethical challenges. This course will examine a range of these issues specifically through the lens of Jewish ethical texts and traditions.  No prior experience or courses in philosophy or Jewish studies required.  Class size: 22

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HEB 102 Elementary Hebrew II

David Nelson
M T W Th 1:30 -2:30 pm OLIN 302
Cross-listed: Jewish Studies  Students will continue to develop their language skills focusing on mastering the Verb System in the present tense,developing reading techniques for comprehension and building a rich and active vocabulary in order to improve their written and oral abilities. Students will continue to explore the various elements of Israeli culture using technology and media ( popular songs, movies newspapers). This course is open to students who have completed Heb 101, or any other basic instruction in Hebrew.   Class size: 12

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REL 126  The  Emergence of Rabbinic Judais

Alan Avery-Peck
M 1:30 -3:50 pm HDR 101A
HUM/DIFF
Cross-listed: Middle Eastern Studies  Judaism as it continues to be practiced today took shape in the first six centuries C.E., in the same period that saw the emergence and growth of Christianity. This course describes and interprets early Judaism, asking what happened to Jews in the first six centuries and evaluating the literatures, beliefs, and communal practices that they developed in response. Our goal is to understand how Judaism evolved as a result of the interaction between inherited texts and ideas and the contemporary experiences of the Jewish people. Class size: 22

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Fall 2013 Courses

HIST/JS 120 Jewishness Beyond Religion

T. Thus. 10:10 - 11:30 am
OLIN 101
Cecile Kuznitz
HIST/DIFF
Cross-listed:  Jewish Studies
 In the pre-modern world Jewish identity was centered on religion but expressed as well in how one made a living, what clothes one wore, and  what language one spoke. In modern times Jewish culture became more voluntary and more fractured. While some focused on Judaism as (only)  a religion, both the most radical and the most typical way in which  Jewishness was redefined was in secular terms. In this course we will  explore the intellectual, social, and political movements that led to  new secular definitions of Jewish culture and identity, focusing on  examples from Western and Eastern Europe and the United States. Topics will include the origins of Jewish secularization, haskalah (Jewish  enlightenment) and Reform, acculturation and assimilation, modern  Jewish political movements including Zionism, and Jews and the arts.  In addition to secondary historical texts we will pay special attention to a wide variety of primary source documents. The class will also incorporate materials drawn from literature, film, and music. Class size: 18 Back to top

HEB 101
Beginning Hebrew

M T W Thurs. 1:30 - 2:30 pm
OLIN 302
FLLC
David Nelson

Cross listed: Jewish Studies, Middle Eastern Studies This introductory Hebrew course will cover the basics of Hebrew  language: reading, writing and speaking - assuming no previous  knowledge on the student’s part. Although the text used for the course  is explicitly a text for Modern Hebrew, the skills acquired on this  first-year level can be easily applied to the study of pre-modern  (e.g., biblical and rabbinic) Hebrew text. Class size: 15

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ANTH 256
Race and Ethnicity in Brazil

Tues. Thurs. 10:10 - 11:30 am
OLIN 203
Mario Bick
SSCI/DIFF

Cross-listed: Africana Studies, GISP, Human Rights, Jewish Studies, LAIS, SRE Brazil, in contrast to the United States, has been portrayed by Brazilians and others, as a “racial democracy’. The course examines the debate over the “problem of race” in its early formulation shaped by scientific racism and eugenics, especially the fear of degeneration. It then turns to the Brazilian policy of the 19th and early 20th centuries of branquemento (whitening) which was the basis of large-scale migration to Brazil from all major regions of Europe. These “ethnic” populations settled mainly in southern and south central Brazil leading to significant regional differences in identity politics and racial attitudes. The interplay of “racial” vs. “ethnic” identities is crucial to understanding the allocation of resources and status in Brazilian society. Inequality in contemporary Brazil is explored in terms of the dynamics of racial ideologies, the distribution of national resources and the performance of identity as shaped by “racial” and “ethnic” strategies. The groups to be discussed are: indigenous/native Brazilians, the Luso-Brazilians, Afro-Brazilians, Japanese Brazilians, Euro-ethnic Brazilians, and Brazilians of Arab and Jewish descent.

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REL 269
Sacred Pursuits

T. Thus. 1:30 - 2:50 pm
OLIN LC 120
Bruce Chilton
HUM

Cross-listed:  Jewish Studies, Theology
   This seminar is devoted to developing theoretical self-awareness in the study of religion. In order to achieve that end, we will read some of the key theorists in the study of religion, apply their insights to case-studies, and refine their approaches as seems necessary.  Class size: 16

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LIT 276B
Chosen Voices: Jewish Authors

W. 3:10 - 4:30 pm
Thus. 1:30 - 2:50 pm
ASP 302
Elizabeth Frank
ELIT/DIFF

Cross-listed:  Jewish Studies, Theology
   (World Literature offering) In this course we will read major nineteenth and twentieth-century Jewish authors who, in their attempts sometimes to preserve Jewish tradition and just as often to break with it (or to do a little of both), managed to make a major contribution to secular Jewish culture. The struggle to create an imaginative literature by and about Jews is thus examined with respect to often conflicted literary approaches to questions of Jewish identity and history (including persistent anti-Semitism in the countries of the Diaspora and the catastrophe of the Holocaust). In the process we will discuss such notions as Jewish identity and stereotypes, questions of "apartness" and "insideness," and explore literary genres such as the novel, the tale, the fable, the folktale and the joke in relation to traditional forms of Jewish storytelling, interpretation and prophecy. We will look as well at what it is that makes "Jewish humor" both Jewish and funny and consider the consequences of a particular author's decision to write in either Hebrew or Yiddish, or in a language such as Russian, German or English. We will discuss as well Jewish participation in literary modernism. Authors include Rabbi Nachman of Bratzslav, Isaac Leib Peretz, Sholem Aleichem, Isaac Babel, Franz Kafka, Bruno Schulz, Primo Levi, Isaac  Bashevis Singer, Bernard Malamud, Grace Paley, Aharon Appelfeld, Leslie Epstein, and Angel Wagenstein."   Class size: 20
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REL 104
Introduction to Judaism

M. 1:30 - 3:50

RKC 200

Alan Avery-Peck

HUM

Cross-listed: Jewish Studies, Theology   Diverse Judaic religious systems ("Judaisms") have flourished in various times and places. No single Judaism traces a linear, unitary, traditional line from the beginning to the present. This course sets forth a method for describing, analyzing, and interpreting Judaic religious systems and for comparing one such system with another. It emphasizes the formative history of Rabbinic Judaism in ancient and medieval times, and the development, in modern times, of both developments out of that Judaism and Judaic systems competing with it: Reform, Orthodox, Conservative Judaisms in the 19th century, Zionism, the American Judaism of Holocaust and Redemption, in the twentieth. In both the classical and the contemporary phases of the course, analysis focuses upon the constant place of women in Judaic systems as a basis for comparison and contrast.

Religion program category:  Historical  Class size: 15

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HEB 201
Intermediate Hebrew

T. Thus. 11:50 - 1:10 pm
W. 10;10 - 11:30 am
OLIN 302
Kim Yaffe
FLLC

Cross listed: Jewish Studies, Middle Eastern Studies   This course will concentrate on developing a significant level of linguistic and communicative competence in Hebrew. Active and passive lexicon will be expanded and advanced grammatical structures will be introduced through exposure to different kinds of texts. Aspects of Israeli culture as well as differences between the Standard language and the spoken language will be highlighted. Class size: 12 Back to top

Spring 2013 Courses

HIST 2701
The Holocaust, 1933-1945

11813 HIST 2701: The Holocaust, 1933-1945       Cecile Kuznitz

Mon. Wed. 10:10 – 11:30 am

RKC 200

HIST/DIFF

Cross-listed: Human Rights, German Studies, Jewish Studies, STS

 

Course description:

This course will provide an overview of the Nazi attempt to exterminate the Jewish people during the Second World War. We will examine topics including the background of modern antisemitic movements and the aftermath of World War I; the reactions of German Jews during 1933-1939; the institution of ghettos and the cultural and political activities of their populations; the turn to mass murder and its implementation in the extermination camps; the experiences of other groups targeted by the Nazis; the reactions of "bystanders" (the populations of occupied countries and the Allied powers;) and the liberation and its immediate aftermath. Emphasis will be on the development of Nazi policy and Jews' reactions to Nazi rule, with special attention to the question of what constitutes resistance or collaboration in a situation of total war and genocide. Class size: 20

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HEB 102
Elementary Hebrew II

11373 HEB 102: Elementary Hebrew II               David Nelson

Mon. Tues. Wed. Thurs. 1:30-2:30 pm

OLIN 302

Cross-listed: Jewish Studies, Middle East Studies

The second in a two-semester introduction to modern Hebrew as it is spoken and written in Israel today. Beginning with script and pronunciation, the course works rapidly into a wide range of texts and topics that build active and passive lexicon as well as grammatical structures. Differences between standard and colloquial Hebrew and significant aspects of Israeli culture are highlighted. Indivisible. Back to top

SOC 140
Israeli Society at the Crossroads    

11662 SOC 140: Israeli Society at the Crossroads                     Yuval  Elmelech

Tues. Thurs. 4:40 – 6:00 pm

OLIN 203

SSCI/DIFF

Cross-listed: Global & Int’l Studies, Human Rights, Jewish Studies, Middle Eastern Studies

 

Course description:

Modern Israel is a vibrant and diverse society characterized by contradictions and profound tensions between political and religious ideologies, social classes, and ethnic groups. This course is an introduction to contemporary Israel. Using various theoretical models and relevant sociological concepts, the course explores aspects of Israeli society seldom discussed in the American media, and provides students with both the knowledge and the analytical tools needed to understand the social institutions and problems that dominate the public discourse in Israel. The course begins with a short review of the historical development of the state. It then describes key aspects of Israeli culture and social structure and continues with an exploration of the origins and consequences of the main religious, ethnic, social and political cleavages. Selected topics include: Jewish immigration, democracy and militarism, segmented residential patterns, social class and inequality, religion and religiosity, ethnicity and national origin, gender and family. These issues will be explored through a critical analysis of academic literature, films, news reports and short stories by contemporary Israeli writers. Class size: 22 
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LIT 328
Ideology and Politics in Modern Literature  

11691 LIT 328: Ideology and Politics in Modern Literature            Justus Rosenberg

Thurs. 10:10 am – 12:30 pm

OLIN 303

Cross-listed: Jewish Studies; Political Studies

Course description:

We examine how political issues and beliefs, be they of the left, right, or center, are dramatically realized in literature. Works by Dostoyevsky, Ibsen, T.S. Eliot, Kafka, Thomas Mann, Brecht, Sartre, Malraux, Gordimer, Kundera, Neruda, and others are analyzed for their ideological content, depth of conviction, method of presentation, and the artistry with which these writers synthetize politics and literature into a permanent aesthetic experience. We also try to determine what constitutes the borderline between art and propaganda and address the question of whether it is possible to genuinely enjoy a work of literature whose political thrust and orientation is at odds with our own convictions. The discussions are supplemented by examples drawn from other art forms such as music, painting, and film. Class size: 15

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REL 257 Gender and Sexuality in Judaism

11658 REL 257 Gender and Sexuality in Judaism              David Nelson

Tues. Thurs. 11:50 am – 1:10 pm

OLIN 203

HUM/DIFF

Cross-listed: Gender & Sexuality Studies, Jewish Studies

Course description:

Traditional Judaism is often seen as a highly patriarchal system in which women have little access to public ritual roles or community leadership. It enforces a strict separation between men and women in many social situations, and prohibits even casual physical contact between husband and wife during the wife’s menstrual period. It defines some sexual acts between two men as an “abomination” for which capital punishment is prescribed. What are the origins of these practices, and the social, theological, and psychological attitudes that they reflect? This course will examine a broad sweep of issues relating to gender and sexuality in the earliest strata of Jewish historical development, that is, the biblical and rabbinic periods. Topics to be covered will include public and private gender roles; power dynamics between men and women; views of sexuality, marriage and its variants; homosexuality; etc. We will read both narrative and legal primary texts, as well as current scholarship on the development of these issues in the ancient world. Our goal will be to gain an understanding of some of the beliefs and values that drove the development of early Judaism. Class size: 22

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HIST 181
Jews in the Modern World     

11815 HIST 181: Jews in the Modern World          Cecile Kuznitz

Mon. Wed. 11:50 am - 1:10 pm

ASP 302

HIST/DIFF

Cross-listed: Jewish Studies, Religion

Course description:

In the modern period Jews faced unprecedented opportunities to integrate into the societies around them as well as anti-Semitism on a previously unimaginable scale. In response to these changing conditions they reinvented Jewish culture and identity in radically new ways. This course will survey the history of the Jewish people from the expulsion from Spain until the establishment of the State of Israel. It will examine such topics as the expulsion and its aftermath; social, intellectual, and economic factors leading to greater toleration at the start of the modern period; the varying routes to emancipation in Western Europe, Eastern Europe, and the Islamic world; acculturation, assimilation, and their discontents; modern Jewish nationalist movements such as Zionism; the Holocaust; the establishment of the State of Israel; and the growth of the American Jewish community. Class size: 22

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JS 315
The Culture of Yiddish  

11817  JS 315: The Culture of Yiddish                     Cecile Kuznitz

Thurs. 1:30-3:50 pm

OLIN 306

Cross-listed: History

 

 

Course description:

 For nearly one thousand years Yiddish was the primary language of European Jewry and its emigrant communities. This class will explore the role of Yiddish in Jewish life and the rich culture produced in the language. Topics will include the sociolinguistic basis of Jewish vernacular languages; medieval popular literature for a primarily female audience; the role of Yiddish in the spread of Haskalah (the Jewish Enlightenment); attempts to formulate a secular Jewish identity around the Yiddish language; the flourishing of modern Yiddish press, literature, and theater and their intersection with European modernism; contemporary Hasidic (ultra-Orthodox) culture; and the ongoing debate over the alleged death of Yiddish. All readings will be in English translation. Familiarity with the Hebrew alphabet and/or Jewish history helpful but not required. Class size: 15.

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Fall 2012 Courses

REL 215 Trading Places

Bruce Chilton /  Jacob Neusner        T . . . 10:10 - 12:30 pm OLIN 101

HUM Cross-listed: Jewish Studies, Theology 
 
At the beginning of the common era, Judaism presented a view of God which was so appealing in its rationality, it competed seriously with various philosophical schools for the loyalty of educated people in the Graeco-Roman world. Christianity, meanwhile, appeared to be a marginal group, neither fully Judaic nor seriously philosophical. Six centuries later, the Talmud emerged as the model of Judaism, and the creeds defined the limits and the core of Christianity. By that time, Judaism and Christianity had traded places. Christianity was the principal religion of the Empire, and philosophy was its most powerful vehicle for conversion; Judaism was seen as a local anomaly, its traditions grounded in customary use rather than reflection. Class size: 22
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JS 101 Intro to Jewish Studies

Cecile Kuznitz        W . F 11:50 -1:10 pm OLINLC 208

HUM/DIFF Cross-listed: History, Religion

This interdisciplinary course will introduce students to major themes in the field of Jewish Studies. The primary focus will be on the history of the Jewish people and on Judaism as a religion, but we will also examine topics in Jewish literature, society, and politics. The course will treat selected themes from the Biblical period to the present, but with a greater emphasis on the medieval and especially the modern period. Among the issues to be explored: What role has the Land of Israel played in Jewish life, and how have Jews responded to their nearly 2,000-year experience of exile and Diaspora? How have they negotiated both the “push” of antisemitism and the “pull” of assimilation to maintain distinct forms of community and identity? What role have various types of texts played in Jewish culture, and what is their relationship to lived Jewish experience? Finally, what are the implications of such momentous recent events as the Holocaust, the establishment of the State of Israel, and the rise of the American Jewish community? Class size: 22


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REL 111 The Hebrew Bible

David Nelson         T . Th . 11:50 -1:10 pm OLIN 305

HUM/DIFF Cross-listed: Jewish Studies, Theology
 
The Hebrew Bible is arguably one of the most important works of Western culture. This course will survey the text, meaning, historical background and ancient near eastern literary and cultural context of the Hebrew Bible, and will provide a crucial introduction to all further studies of the three Abrahamic faiths. We will examine the interplay between history and myth, the various forms and purposes of biblical law, the phenomenon of biblical prophecy, and the diverse literary genres that are found within the Bible. Our goal will be to understand the work as a religious, historical, legal, and narrative work that reflected the society from which all of later Judaism, Christianity and Islam grew. Class size: 18

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REL 269 Sacred Pursuits

Richard Davis      M . W . . 3:10 -4:30 pm OLIN 307

HUM Cross-listed: Jewish Studies, Theology
 
 This seminar is devoted to developing theoretical self-awareness in the study of religion. In order to achieve that end, we will read some of the key theorists in the study of religion, apply their insights to case-studies, and refine their approaches as seems necessary. Class size: 15

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HIST 2137 Jewish Women
Gender Roles & Cultural Change

Cecile Kuznitz          W . F 10:10 - 11:30 am OLINLC 208

HIST/DIFF Cross-listed: Gender & Sexuality Studies, Jewish Studies, Religion

This course will draw on both historical and memoir literature to examine the lives of Jewish women and men and their changing social, economic, and religious lives across the medieval and modern periods. We will consider the status of women in Jewish law and then look at issues including forms of women’s religious expression; marriage and family patterns; the differing impact of enlightenment and secularization on women in Western and Eastern Europe; and the role of women in the Zionist and labor movements in Europe, Israel, and the United States. Among the central questions we will ask is how women’s roles changed from the medieval to the modern period. Did modernity in fact herald an era of greater opportunity for Jewish women? How did their experiences differ from those of Jewish men? Class size: 22


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HEB 101 Beginning Hebrew

David Nelson

M T W Th . 1:30 -2:30 pm OLIN 302 FLLC

Cross-listed:  Jewish Studies  This introductory Hebrew course will cover the basics of Hebrew  language: reading, writing and speaking - assuming no previous  knowledge on the student’s part. Although the text used for the course  is explicitly a text for Modern Hebrew, the skills acquired on this  first-year level can be easily applied to the study of pre-modern  (e.g., biblical and rabbinic) Hebrew text. Class size: 15
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HEB 201 Intermediate Hebrew

M T Th 10:10 – 11 :30   OLINLC 208/OLIN 107 FLLC

Cross listed: Jewish Studies, Middle Eastern Studies   This course will concentrate on developing a significant level of linguistic and communicative competence in Hebrew. Active and passive lexicon will be expanded and advanced grammatical structures will be introduced through exposure to different kinds of texts. Aspects of Israeli culture as well as differences between the Standard language and the spoken language will be highlighted. Class size: 12
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Spring 2012 Courses

HIST 2141 Zionism and Jewish Nationalism

Cecile Kuznitz    . T. Th.    11:50- 1:10pm   RKC 115   HIST/DIFF
Cross-listed: Human Rights; Jewish Studies; Russian & Eurasian Studies
This course will focus on Zionism and other forms of Jewish nationalism in historical context. We will explore the European background of these movements including the rise of nationalism among the “small peoples” of Eastern Europe; assimilation and its discontents in Western Europe and antisemitism in the Russian Empire; European colonialism; and the popularity of socialism and other radical movements. We will then examine various ideologies such as political, cultural, labor, religious and revisionist Zionism; Territorialism; and socialist and liberal Diaspora Nationalism. We will consider the answers proposed by each movement to questions such as, what is the most effective means of securing the rights of Jews as a stateless minority? How should Jews relate to the other groups among whom they live? Do Jews need a territory of their own, and if so, why? We will concentrate on European movements and thinkers but also consider how these ideas played out in the United States and Israel. Class size: 22
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HIST 153 Diaspora and Homeland
A Global Core Course

Myra Armstead/Cecile Kuznitz    . T. Th.    3:10- 4:30pm     Olin 203     HIST/DIFF
Cross-listed: Africana Studies; Human Rights; Jewish Studies; Related interest: Asian Studies
The concept of Diaspora has gained widespread popularity as a way of thinking about group identity and its relationship to place. In an era of increasing globalization individuals are more likely to emigrate to distant shores, although this is in fact a longstanding historical phenomenon. Homelands in turn have taken on multiple, complex meanings in the imaginations and lived experience of migrant populations, particularly in recent times as technological and transportation innovations facilitate the maintenance of links with native lands. In this course we will read recent theoretical works on Diaspora and then examine case studies of diasporic populations from ancient times to the present. We will inquire about the extent to which Diaspora is celebrated or lamented, how this attitude affects real and imagined ties to homelands. While our focus will be chiefly on diasporic peoples themselves, we will examine the perspective of native/homeland populations on such issues as well. Case studies will include the first and longest-lived diasporic minority group, the Jewish people; black African-descended people since the trans-Atlantic slave trade; and select groups othered as “Asian.” Class size: 44
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JS 320 Antisemitism
A Comprehensive Examination


Kenneth Stern 
. . . .F   10:10- 12:30pm    Olin 202     HIST
Cross-listed: History, Human Rights
This course considers one of the oldest and most persistent forms of hatred. What is antisemitism? How is it part of the family of bigotries, prejudice and discrimination, and how is it unique? Is it more bigotry or ideology? How has it manifested itself in different eras, regions, political and economic systems and culture? How is it defined? What different types are there? Is anti-Zionism antisemitism? Why does it exist in some countries which do not even have Jews? How can it be combated? This is a course designed for upper-level students, but a motivated and interested first or second year student should be capable of doing well. At the end of the course, students should be able to identify and differentiate different types of antisemitism, understand how antisemitism works (and changes) as an ideology, how historical and socio-economic factors do and do not impact it, and how it fits within (but is also different from other members of) the family of bigotries. Interested students should contact Prof. Stern via email (sternk@ajc.org). Class size: 15 Back to top

HUM 135 DN What is Judaism?

David Nelson    M. .Th.    5:00- 6:20pm    Oline 201    HUM/DIFF
1 credit
This short course will examine the fundamentals of Jewish history, belief, thought, and life. Our readings will be from primary sources spanning 2500 years of Jewish literature. Students with or without prior knowledge will gain a historically contextualized understanding of Jewish approaches to Torah, the cycle of the year, the development and functioning of the synagogue, the purposes of daily Jewish religious practice, the importance of story-telling and argument, and the beliefs that unite – and divide – the Jewish people. This class will meet February 27 – March 22nd.

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HEB 102 Elementary Hebrew II

David Nelson  MTWTh  1:30- 2:30pm   Olin 107    FLLC
Cross-listed: Jewish Studies
Students will continue to develop their language skills focusing on mastering the Verb System in the present tense, developing reading techniques for comprehension and building a rich and active vocabulary in order to improve their written and oral abilities. Students will continue to explore the various elements of Israeli Culture using technology and media ( popular songs, movies newspapers). This course is open to students who have completed Heb 101, or any other basic instruction in Hebrew. Class size: 15
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HEB 202 Intermediate Hebrew II

Doron Noyman   MTWTh  10:30- 11:30am   Olin 302    FLLC
Cross-listed: Jewish Studies
The purpose of this course is to enable students to improve their Hebrew skills: Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking. Stress will be put on syntactical and structural elements of Hebrew texts, Grammar and active use of communication. This course will use a mix of practical and literary texts relating to Israeli culture, social issues and politics. Special emphasis will be on students' personal contribution and group presentations. Class size: 8
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Fall 2011 Courses

HIST 3133 Resistance and Collaboration

Cecile Kuznitz M 4:40-7:00pm HIST

Cross listed: Jewish Studies; German Studies; Human Rights
  This course will consider the concepts of resistance and ocllaboration, in particular as they apply to the actions of victims and bystanders during the Holocaust. We will examine patterns of reaction variously termed passive, armed, cultural and spiritual resistance. We will also look at the range of behaviors among bystander groups including collaboration, inaction, and rescue. By reading a number of scholars with widely varying views, including Hannah Arendt, Yehuda Bauer, and Isaiah Trunk, we will grapple with the issues raised on several levels: Theoretically, what are the most useful definitions of the terms? Empirically, how can we assess the extent of resistance and collaboration that took place historically? Ethically, what types of behavior are "reasonable" or morally justified in such extreme circumstances? Students will write a research paper considering these questions as they apply to a particular event or group during the Holocaust; if they wish they may choose another historical case study for thier own research.
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HIST 2122 The Arab-Israel Conflict

Joel Perlmann T Th 4:40-6:00pm

Cross listed: Global & Int'l Studies, Human Rights, Jewish Studies, Middle East Studies  This course is meant to provide students with an understanding of this conflict from its inception to the present. Considerable attention will be given to the present; nevertheless, the conflict is simply incomprehensible with a solid understanding of its evolution- incomprehensible not merely in terms of details, but in terms of broader themes and aroused passions. Among the themes to be discussed are the following. A Jewish national movement arose in the late nineteenth century to oppose the conditions of Jewish life in Europe, and an Arab national movement (as well as a specifically Palestinian movement) arose to oppose Ottoman and European rule of Arab peoples. Out of the clash of these movements emerged the State of Israel and the Palestinian refugees in 1948. The political character of the conflict has changed over the decades: first it involved competing movements (before 1948), then chiefly a conflict of national states (Israel vs. Egypt, Syria, Jordan, etc ), and now it is conceived as chiefly a conflict between Israeli military rule of territories (occupied since the 1967 war) and an insurgent Palestinian independence movement. Military realities also changed greatly, as did the accusations about the role of 'terror' as a tactic (from the Jewish Irgun to Hamas) and the role of religion. And not least, the conflict has been shaped by strategic and economic considerations of the great powers (Ottoman, British, American/Soviet, hegemonic American) as well as by considerations of domestic political culture in Israel and in the Arab world.
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ANTH 256 Race and Ethnicity in Brazil

Mario Bick M W 10:10-11:30 SSCI/DIFF

Cross-listed: Africana Studies, Global & Int'l Studies, Human Rights, Jewish Studies, LAIS 
Brazil, in contrast to the United States, has been portrayed by Brazilians and others, as a "racial democracy." The course examines the debate over the "problem of race" in its early formulation shaped by scientific racism and eugenics, espcially the fear of degeneration. It then turns to the Brazilian policy of the 19th and early 20th centuries of branquemento (whitening) which was the basis fo large-scale migration ot Brazil from all major regions of Europe. These "ethnic" populations settled mainly in sourthern and south central Brazil leading to significant regional differences in identity politics and racial attitudes. the interplay of "racial" vs. "thnic" identities is crucial to understandign the allocation of resources and status in Brazilian society. Inequality in contemporary Brazil is explored in terms of the dynamics of racial ideologies, the distribution of national resources and the performance of identity as shaped by "racial" and "ethnic" strategies. The groups to be discussed are: indigenous/native Brazilians, the Luso-Brazilians, Afro=Brazilians, Japanese Brazilians, Euro-ethnic Brazilians, and Brazilians of Arab and Jewish descent.
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REL 215 Trading Places

Bruce Chilton/ Jacob Neusner M 10:10-12:30pm

Cross-listed: Jewish Studies, Theology
  At the beginning of the common era, Judaism presented a view of God which was so appealing in its rationality, it competed seriously with various philosophical schools for the loyalty of educated people in the Graeco-Roman world. Christianity, meanwhile, appeared to be a marginal group, neither fully Judaic nor seriously philosophical. Six centuries later, the Talmud emerged as the model of Judaism, and the creeds defined the limits and the core of Christianity. By that time, Judaism and Christianity had traded places. Christianity was the principal religion of the Empire, and philosophy was its most powerful vehicle for conversion; Judaism was seen as a local anomaly; its traditions grounded in customary use rather than relection. Back to top

REL 269 Sacred Pursuits

Kristin Scheible M W 10:10-11:30am HUM

Cross-listed: Jewish Studies, Theology  This seminar is devoted to developing tehoretical self-awareness in the study of religion. In order to achieve that end, we will read some fo the key theorists in the study of religion, apply thier insights to case-studies, and refine their approaches as seems necessary. Class size: 15
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REL 229 Modern Jewish Thought

David Nelson T Th 11:50-1:10pm HUM

Cross listed: Jewish Studies, Philosophy, Theology
  When an ancient religious tradition like Judaism encounters the radical challenges of modernity, it must re-think all of its basic beliefs and assumptions. This course will explore the attempts of some of the key figures of twentieth century Jewish thought to come to terms with such fundamental notions as particularism vs. universalism, the limits of divine authority, and the voluntary nature of religious affiliation and observance in the modern world.
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JS 120 Jewishness Beyond Religion
Defining Secular Jewish Culture

Cecile Kuznitz T Th 10:10-11:30am HIST/DIFF

Cross-listed: History
  In the pre-modern world Jewish identity was centered on religion but expressed as well in how one made a living, what clothes on wore, and what language one spoke. In modern times Jewish culture became more voluntary and more fractured. While some focused on Judaism as (only) a religion, both the most radical and the most typical way in which Jewishness was redefined was in secular terms. In this course we will explore the intellectual, social, and political movements that led to new secular definitions of Jewish culture and identity, focusing on examples from Western and Eastern Europe and the United States. Topics will include the origins of Jewish secularization, haskalah (Jewish enlightenment) and Reform, acculturation and assimilation, modern Jewish political movements including Zionism, and Jews and the arts. In addition to secondary historical texts we will pay special attention to a wide variety of primary source documents. The class will also incorporate materials drawn from literature, film, and music. Back to top

HEB 101 Beginning Hebrew

David Nelson M T W Th 1:30-2:30pm FLLC

Cross-listed: Jewish Studies  This introductory Hebrew course will cover the basics of Hebrew language: reading, writing, and speaking- assuming no previous knowledge on the student's part. Although the text used for the course is explicitly a text for Modern Hebrew, the skills acquired on this first-year level can be easily applied to the study of pre-modern (e.g., biblical and rabbinic) Hebrew text. Class size: 12
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HEB 201 Intermediate Hebrew

TBA M T W Th 10:30-11:30 am FLLC

Cross-listed: Jewish Studies, Middle Eastern Studies  This course will concentrate on developing a significant level of linguistic and communicative competence in Hebrew. Active and passive lexicon will be expanded and advanced grammatical structures will be introduced through exposure to different kinds of  texts. Aspects of Israeli culture as well as differences between the Standard language and the spoken language will be highlighted. Back to top

Spring 2011 Courses

HIST 2701 The Holocaust, 1933-1945

Cecile Kuznitz   T Th 10:10 - 11:30 am   OLIN 201

Cross-listed:   Human Rights, German Studies, Jewish Studies, STS, Rethinking Difference

This course will provide an overview of the Nazi attempt to exterminate the Jewish people during the Second World War. We will examine topics including the background of modern antisemitic movements and the aftermath of World War I; the reactions of German Jews during 1933-1939; the institution of ghettos and the cultural and political activities of their populations; the turn to mass murder and its implementation in the extermination camps; the experiences of other groups targeted by the Nazis; the reactions of  “bystanders” (the populations of occupied countries and the Allied powers and the liberation and its immediate aftermath. Emphasis will be on the development of Nazi policy and Jews’ reactions to Nazi rule, with special attention to the question of what constitutes resistance or collaboration in a situation of total war and genocide. 


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SOC 329 Israeli Society

Yuval Elmelech   T Th 10:10  - 11:30 am   ALBEE 106

Cross-listed: Global & Int’l Studies, Human Rights, Jewish Studies, Middle Eastern Studies 

This course provides students with an overview of Israeli society with an emphasis on the key social cleavages that Israel is currently confronting. These tensions coincide with cultural and ideological discursive debates that dominate the Israeli media and the political arena. Through a critical analysis of academic literature, daily news reports, and popular films, this course will explore the sources and consequences of these conflicts and their manifestations. Topics include (but are not limited to) tensions between religious and secular groups, “hawks” and “doves,” immigrants and the native-born, women and men, Jews and non-Jews (Muslims, Christians, and Druze), Zionists and Post-Zionists, the rich and the poor, Jews of Middle Eastern origin (Sephardic) and those whose families came from Europe (Ashkenazi), and Israelis and Diaspora Jews. We will also study the intersection of these categorical distinctions and discuss such links as those that exist between religiosity (or lack thereof) and political views, nationality and poverty, ethnic origin and educational attainment.
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HIST 3131 Jewish Power and Politics

Cecile Kuznitz   M 4:40 - 7:00 pm   OLIN 204

Cross-listed: Jewish Studies, Political Studies, Russian & Eurasian Studies

This course will focus on modern Jewish political movements such as Zionism and Diaspora Nationalism, as well as on attitudes towards power and powerlessness in Jewish culture. We will first consider how Jews as an oppressed minority responded to their lack of political power, and what constitutes “politics” for a stateless group living in the Diaspora.  We will then explore the rise of modern nationalist movements that challenged the traditional view of Jewish powerlessness, primarily in Eastern Europe, including political, cultural, labor, religious and Revisionist Zionism; Territorialism; and socialist and liberal Diaspora Nationalism. We will examine the answers proposed by each movement to the problems of anti-Semitism and assimilation, as well as to the question: Does combating powerlessness require Jews to have a state of their own? We will concentrate on European movements and thinkers but also consider how these ideas played out in the United States and Israel.

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HEB 102 Beginning Hebrew II

David Nelson  M T W Th 1:30 - 2:30 pm  OLIN 306

Cross-listed: Jewish Studies 

Students will continue to develop their language skills focusing on mastering the Verb System in the present tense, developing reading techniques for comprehension and building a rich and active vocabulary in order to improve their written and oral abilities. Students will continue to explore the various elements of Israeli Culture using technology and media (popular songs, movies newspapers). This course is open to students who have completed Heb 101, or any other basic instruction in Hebrew.


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HEB 202 Intermediate Hebrew II

Sigalit Celnik          

M 10:00-11:00 am OLIN LC

T W Th 8:50 -9:50 am OLIN 309

Cross-listed: Jewish Studies 

The purpose of this course is to enable students to improve their Hebrew skills: Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking. Stress will be put on syntactical and structural elements of Hebrew texts, Grammar and active use of communication. This course will use a mix of practical and literary texts relating to Israeli culture, social issues and politics. Special emphasis will be on students' personal contribution and group presentations.
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