Jewish Studies Program

Director: Marc Michael Epstein (Religion and Jewish Studies); Steering Committee: Peter Antelyes (English), Susan H. Brisman (English), Andrew Bush (Hispanic Studies), Marc Michael Epstein (Religion), Natalie J. Friedman (English), Rachel Friedman (Classics), Judith L. Goldstein (Anthropology), Lynn Lidonnici (Religion), Jannay Morrow (Psychology), Elliott Schreiber (German), Joshua S. Schreier (History), Tova Weitzman (Religion), Debra Zeifman (Psychology).

Jewish Studies is a multidisciplinary approach to the diversity of the history and culture of Jews in Western and non-Westem societies. This approach involves studying the creation and reproduction of Jewish culture in multi-ethnic societies in the ancient, medieval, modern, and contemporary world as well as such theoretical concerns as Diaspora, Zionism and the construction of Jewish identity.

Requirements for Concentration: 12 units, including: 1) Jewish Studies 201 and 301; 2) 2 units of college-level Hebrew or Yiddish or its equivalent; 3) two additional courses at the 300-level drawn from either Jewish Studies offerings or the list of Approved Courses; 4) six remaining units drawn from Jewish Studies offerings and Approved Courses.

Students are encouraged to explore complementary courses in a variety of disciplines. After consulting with the director, students choosing a concentration are encouraged to explore language, literature, texts, religious traditions, history, society, and culture.

Jewish Studies strongly recommends that students pursue a Junior Year Abroad experience whenever possible. Many different options exist, and students are encouraged to begin discussions about this with the Program director and their professors as soon as declaration of concentration is made. No more than 3 units per semester from study away can be counted toward the concentration.

After declaring a concentration, no required courses may be elected NRO.

No more than 4 units of Hebrew, Yiddish or other study in Jewish languages may be applied toward the concentration. Hebrew 305 may be counted as one of the three 300-level courses required of majors.

Senior-Year Requirements: Jewish Studies 301, if not taken earlier. The Senior Thesis or Project (Jewish Studies 300) is optional, but must be elected by students to be considered for Honors in the Program. If elected, the thesis is taken in addition to the three 300 level courses required. The thesis or project should reflect the multidisciplinary orientation of the Program. It will be graded Distinction, Satisfactory, or Unsatisfactory.

Requirements for Correlate Sequence: 6 units, including Jewish Studies 201, two 300-level courses, and three other courses, only one of which can be a field work credit (Jewish Studies 290). Students electing the correlate sequence are encouraged but not required to take 301, as well as two units of college-level Hebrew or Yiddish or the equivalent. Hebrew 305 may be counted as one of the 300-level courses required for the correlate sequence. After consulting with the director, students should choose a correlate sequence program that complements concentration requirements. No more than 2 units from study abroad can be counted toward the correlate sequence.

I. Introductory

100b. Texts, Cultures, Contexts: Introducing Jewish Studies (1)

A textual, cultural, historical, ethnographic, sociological and psychological introduction to the range of Jewish experience in a variety of geographical setting and historical contexts, and to the theoretical underpinnings of the study of Jews, Jewish cultures and Jewish texts written, oral and visual. Mr. Epstein and the Program Faculty.

101a. Jewish Identities/Jewish Politics: An Introduction to Jewish Studies (1)

Multidisciplinary introduction to a variety of theoretical and methodological bases for the study of the diversity of Jewish culture. Particular emphasis is placed on the role of geography, gender, religious status, race and class in the construction of Jewish identity in interaction with surrounding communities, through the study of primary sources in historical context, religious culture, social life, as well as art and literature produced by and about Jews. Mr. Epstein.

110b. Jewish Metropolis: Berlin, Prague and Budapest (1)

Berlin, Prague, and Budapest have been magnets for Jewish life and creativity since the Middle Ages. We explore the Jewish heritage of these great urban centers through the eyes of guest lecturers who utilize tools, techniques, and resources from fields as diverse as literature, geography, history, architecture, sociology, and ethnography. The course includes a required study trip to all three cities during Spring Break. Mr. Epstein.

150a and b. Western Religious Traditions (1)

(Same as Religion 150) An historical comparative study of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. The course focuses on such themes as origins, development, sacred literature, ritual, legal, mystical, and philosophical traditions, and interactions between the three religions. Ms. Lidonnici, instructor to be announced.

[184a. New Voices, Old Stories, New Immigrant Jewish Writers] (1)

Open to Freshmen only.

Not offered in 2007/08.

II. Intermediate

201b: Jewish Textuality: Sources and Subversions (1)

Jewish tradition consists of a series of developments from the biblical stratum of text and practice through rabbinic interpretations and medieval, modern and postmodern revisions, reforms and even rejections of those interpretations. This course examines themes in Jewish life and thought from their biblical roots to their postmodern reinventions or reclamations.

Topic for 2007/08: The Wandering Jew. Beginning with the exile from the Garden of Eden the experience of the Jews has been one that is marked overwhelmingly by wandering and exile. How is the experience of wandering portrayed in the Bible? What is the relationship of this portrayal with the Bible’s interest in the locating of the Jewish in a particular homeland? How has the trope of the “wandering Jew” been reinterpreted through history? We consider biblical texts, rabbinic commentaries and modem reevaluations that see the figure of the wander Jew as the model for a kind of rootless cosmopolitanism. Ms. Freidman.

Jewish Studies 101 or by permission.

[220a. Texts and Traditions] (1)

Not offered in 2006/07.

221b. Voices from Modern Israel (1)

(Same as Hebrew 221 and Religion 221) An examination of modern and postmodern Hebrew literature in English translation. The course focuses on Israeli voices of men, women, Jews, Arabs, Ashkenazim and Sephardim to investigate such topics as memory, identity, alienation, the “other,” community, exile. Authors may include Yizhar, Yehoshua, Oz, Grossman, Kanafani, Almog, Katzir, Liebrecht, Ravikovitch, Zelda, Zach, Amichai, Darish and el-Kassim. Ms. Weitzman.

222a. Psychological Perspectives on the Holocaust (1)

(Same as Psychology 222) Ms. Zeifman.

[225b. The Hebrew Bible] (1)

(Same as Religion 225) The Bible is one of the most important foundational documents of Western civilization. This course surveys the literature of the Hebrew Bible (Christian ‘Old Testament’) within the historical, religious and literary context of ancient Israel and its neighbors. What social and religious forces created these books, and how did they shape the lives of the ancient Israelites, their descendents, and all those they influenced for three thousand years? All texts are read in English translation. Ms. LiDonnici.

Not offered in 2007/08.

240a. The World of The Rabbis (1)

With the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple in 70 CE, Jews found themselves at the lowest moment of their history. Yet, within a few short years a remarkably creative, versatile, portable and use-friendly culture of law and lore had developed, a culture that has sustained Jews through their application and response to it, and through their rejection of it for the past two millennia. This course examines rabbinic culture and rabbinic imagination through analysis of primary texts (Bible, Mishnah, Talmud and Midrash) in translation, considering the impact of canonical literature on Jewish societies, and conversely, the effect of social change on the interpretation of canonical literature. Instructor to be announced.

Pre-requisites: Jewish Studies 101, 201, Religion 150, or consent of the instructor.

[245. Jewish Traditions] (1)

(Same as Religion 245)

Not offered in 2007/08.

[275a. Advanced Topics in German Cultural Studies] (1)

(Same as German 275) This course offers and extended analysis of one issue of the major issues in German Cultural Studies. Topics may include memory and the Holocaust, Nazi culture, issues of transparency in political culture, or lesbian and gay culture.

Not offered in 2007/08.

276 Germans and Jews: Between Division and Dialogue (1)

The uneasy interplay between Germans and Jews has been both devastation and immensely productive for modern culture. This course explores this interrelation from the Enlightenment to the present day, focusing on such luminaries such as G.E. Lessing, Richard Wagner, Franz Kafka, Sigmund Freud, and Hannah Arendt. While such a study is inevitably shadowed by the Holocaust, we read cultural developments in their own historical contexts. Topics include emancipation and its discontents; the expression and subversion of Romantic folk identity; the development and critique of modern anti-Semitism; and the tension between public and private identities. Readings and discussion in English. Mr. Bush.

Open to all classes.

Two 75 minute periods.

[283b. The Jewish Gothic] (1)

Not offered in 2007/08.

290 Field Work ( 1/2 or 1)

298 Independent Work ( 1/2 or 1)

III. Advanced

Prerequisite for all 300-level courses unless otherwise specified: 1 unit at the 200-level or permission of instructor.

300 Senior Thesis or Project (1)

Optional for students concentrating in the program. Must be elected for student to be considered for Honors in the program.

Permission required.

301a. Special Topics in Jewish Studies (1)

Advanced study in selected aspects of Jewish Studies, emphasizing the multidisciplinary nature of the field. The seminar gives students the opportunity to develop their own scholarly work built around the common core of the topic for that year.

Topic for 2007/08: Jewish Communities in the Middle East. This seminar explores the lived worlds of Jewish communities in the Middle East from the nineteenth century to the present. To this end, the course combines many sources and genres including: oral and written histories, novels, memoirs, ethnographies, material and visual culture. The course focuses on issues of self representation and on the cultural reproduction of community in different places and times and under varying conditions (which include contact with foreign travelers and educators, and the rise of nationalism). Ms. Goldstein.

[315a. Jews, Jewish Identity, and the Arts] (1)

This course examines the relationship of Jews with the arts from ancient times through the postmodern period.

Topic for 2007/08: American Jewish Literature. An introduction to the American Jewish literary imagination from historical, topical, and theoretical perspectives. Texts may include works by Anzia Yezierska, Celia Dropkin, Henry Roth, Charles Reznikoff, Isaac Beshevis Singer, Bernard Malamud, Philip Roth, Grace Paley, Melanie Kaye-Kantrowitz, Adrienne Rich, and Art Spiegelman. Also included are films and music, and theoretical works by such critics as Walter Benjamin and Daniel Boyarin. Topics may include: the development of immigrant modernism, the influence of Jewish interpretive traditions on contemporary literary theory, the (anti-) conventions of Jewish feminist and lesbian literature, the possibilities and limitations of a diaspora poetics, and contemporary representations of the Holocaust. Mr. Antelyes.

Not offered in 2007/08.

340b. Women in the Classical Jewish Tradition (1)

The issues and debates that frame contemporary Jewish women’s lives and women’s roles in Judaism have been shaped, directed and sometimes limited by religious narratives in general and Jewish law in particular. We examine both the key texts from rabbinic literature (Talmud, Tosefta, and Midrash’s Acirc in translation) on topics affecting women’s status and feminist critiques of these issues demonstrating how historical and contemporary interpretations of scripture, law, and cultural narratives have very real consequences for women’s lives within Jewish communities. Instructor to be announced.

Pre-requisites: Jewish Studies 101, 201, Religion 150, or consent of the instructor.

[346b. Studies in Jewish Thought and History] (1)

(Same as Religion 346) Advanced study in selected aspects of Jewish thought and history.

Not offered in 2007/08.

[350b. Confronting Modernity: Jewish Narrative (1)

This course examines a variety of modes and contexts in which Jews have narrated their experiences of modernity, including fiction, autobiography, historiography, ethnography and film. The geographical focus is Central and Eastern Europe, primarily in the early twentieth century, where one encounters both Yiddish works and Ashkenazi cultural productions in other European languages, but consideration of the Sephardic diaspora and other texts of modern Jewish thought helps to inform a multidisciplinary approach to the material. Among the authors under study we read Sholom Aleichem, Isaac Babel, Emil Durkheim, Sigmund Freud, Emma Goldman, Edmund James, Franz Kafka, Rosa Luxembourg and Bruno Schulz. Mr. Bush.]

Not offered in 2007/08.

399a or b. Advanced Independent Work ( 1/2 or 1)

Approved Courses

American Culture 275b Ethnicity and Race in America (1)

Classics 103a Crosscurrents: History and Culture of the < Ancient Mediterranean (1)

English 326b Studies in Ethnic American Literature (1)

Hebrew 105-106 Elementary Hebrew (1)

Hebrew 205a Continuing Hebrew (1)

Hebrew 206b Continuing Hebrew (1)

Hebrew 298 Independent Work in Hebrew (1)

Hebrew 305a Advanced Hebrew (1)

History 214b The Roots of the Palestine-Israel Conflict (1)

History 231b France and its “Others” (1)

History 237b Germany, 1918-1990 (1)

History 337a The Rise and Fall of Nazi Germany (1)

History 369b Social Reform and the Evolution of the Welfare State (1)

Religion 266a Religion in America (1)