Jewish Studies Program

Acting Director: Lynn LiDonnici (Religion); Steering Committee: John Ahern (Italian), Peter Antelyes (English), Susan H. Brisman (English); Andrew Bush (Hispanic Studies), Marc Michael Epstein (Religion), Natalie J. Friedman (Writing Specialist), Rachel Friedman (Classics), Judith L. Goldstein (Anthropology), Luke C. Harris (Political Science), Deborah Dash Moore (Religion), MacDonald Moore, Janny Morrow (Psychology), Elliott Schreiber (German); Joshua S. Schreier (History), Judith Weisenfeld (Religion), Tova Weitzman (Religion), Debra Zeifman (Psychology); Participating Faculty: Peter Antelyes, Pinar Batur (Sociology), Nancy Bisaha (History), Susan H. Brisman, Andrew Bush, Miriam Cohen (History), Andrew Davison (Political Science), Marc Michael Epstein, Natalie J. Friedman, Rachel Friedman, Judith L. Goldstein, Maria Höhn (History), Lynn LiDonnici, J. Bertrand Lott (Classics), Marque Miringoff (Sociology), Deborah Dash Moore, MacDonald Moore, Joshua S. Schreier, Tova Weitzman.

Jewish Studies is a multidisciplinary approach to the diversity of the history and culture of Jews in Western and non-Western 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 (no more than 4 units of Hebrew may be applied toward the concentration), 3) two additional courses on the 300-level, drawn from either Jewish Studies offerings or the list of approved courses (including Hebrew 305), 4) remaining units from courses drawn from Jewish Studies offerings, approved courses, or Jewish Studies in Comparative Contexts. 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 and texts, religious traditions, history, society, and culture.

No more than 3 units per semester from study away can be counted toward the concentration. Jewish Studies recommends that students interested in the Junior Year Away Program in Israel begin the study of Hebrew in the freshman year.

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

Senior-Year Requirements: Senior Seminar (Jewish Studies 301). The Senior Thesis or Project (Jewish Studies 300) is optional, but must be elected by students to be considered for Honors in the Program. The thesis or project should reflect the multidisciplinary orientation of the Program. It will be graded Distinction, Satisfactory, or Unsatisfactory.

Requirements for the Correlate Sequence: 6 units, including Jewish Studies 201, a 300-level seminar in Jewish Studies, and four other courses, only one of which can be Jewish Studies 290 or Jewish Studies in Comparative Contexts. At least two courses at the 300-level are required. Students are urged to complete one year of college-level study in Hebrew or Yiddish, or the equivalent. After consulting with the director, students should choose a correlate sequence program that complements concentration requirements. Jewish Studies recommends that students interested in the Junior Year Away Program in Israel begin the study of Hebrew in the freshman year. No more than 2 units from study abroad can be counted toward the correlate sequence.

Course Offerings

I. Introductory

101a. Jewish Identities and Jewish Politics (1)

Two centuries ago Emancipation set into motion the volatile complex of forces that have shaped the debates of modern Jewish history. This course follows the intertwined fates of words people wield to characterize themselves and others, to justify and promote their actions, to identify with great traditions, to nominate traditions to greatness. “The Jewish Problem” was on people’s lips even as they welcomed Jews into humanity. From this backhanded welcome grew the tangled conflicts dealt with in the class: assimilation and gender, nationalism and racial anti-Semitism, shtetl and ghetto, Zionism and Diaspora, and the Holocaust/Shoah. Mr. Moore.

110b. Vienna, Prague and Budapest: The Imperial Cities and Their Jews (1)

From court Jews to Kafka, the cities of East Central Europe 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 an optional study trip to all three cities during Spring Break. Mr. Epstein.

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

American History is, in some ways, the story of immigrants, and one of the first immigrant groups to publish their stories were Jews, particularly those from Eastern Europe. American Jewish writers established the immigrant literary scene that today has become multifaceted and multicultural. In this class, we read the newest, most popular young writers to emerge from the recent Eastern European Jewish diaspora, and compare them to their classic forerunners. We examine the themes of assimilation, religious awakening, and responses to the Holocaust by members of the Second and Third Generation. New texts include Gary Shteyngart’s The Russian Debutante’s Handbook, Jonathan Safran Foer’s Everything is Illuminated, and Lara Vapnyar’s There Are Jews in My House; older voices include those of Abraham Cahan, Henry Roth, and Anzia Yezierska. Ms. Friedman.

Open to Freshmen only.

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 2005/06: Beginnings: Genesis in the Jewish Tradition. The first book of the Bible has proved endlessly fascinating to scholars and legists, poet and artists. How have the tales of the origins of the world and all that is within developed in the Jewish tradition, and what countertraditions have emerged from the interpretations? Mr. Epstein.

Jewish Studies 101 or by permission.

[220a. Texts and Traditions] (1)

(Same as Religion 220)

Not offered in 2005/06.

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 Ravikovitch, Zelda, Zach, Amichai, Darwish El-Kassin, Yehoshua, Oz, Grossman, Shammas, Liebrecht and Almog. Ms. Weitzman.

225b. The Hebrew Bible (1)

(Same is Religion 225) The Hebrew Scriptures exist both in and out of time—in time as the literature of a particular people; out of time as a repository of metaphors through which much in western culture is still expressed. This course pursues both of these dimensions through a study of the religious and literary tradition of ancient Israel and the legacy of these traditions in our own modes of thought. Ms. LiDonnici.

241a. Gender and Sexuality in Judaism (1)

(Same as Religion 241) In this course we examine some of the basic assumptions about the nature of gender and sexuality, with a particular focus on the role that these issues play in the history of Judaism. Starting with the Bible and ending with the contemporary period, we examine how questions about gender difference, gender roles, sexuality, embodiment, and sexual empowerment have influenced Judaism over the course of its history.

245 Jewish Traditions (1)

(Same as Religion 245)

[248a. Out of the Ghetto] (1)

(Same as Religion 248 and History 248) Starting in the seventeenth century, Jews gradually moved out of the physical, political, social, and religious ghettos to which Christian Europe had consigned them. This course explores the implications of such an exodus. It looks at Jewish piety and politics, individuality and community in Europe, North America and northern Africa. Topics include changing gender roles, migration, hasidism, religious reform, and antisemitism. Ms. Moore.

Not offered in 2005/06.

[249a. Diaspora and Zion] (1)

(Same as Religion 249 and History 249) The twentieth century shattered and transformed Jewish life throughout the world altering our understanding of evil and challenging accepted meanings of modernity. This course explores the growth of political and racial antisemitism and its culmination in the Holocaust; the growth of Zionism and the establishment of the State of Israel; the transformation of Jews from a largely small-town people into a highly urbanized one. The implication of these events—what it has meant for Jews to live in a post-Holocaust world, how Jews interpret political sovereignty, Jewish responses to American life—form the second part of the course. Ms. Moore.

Not offered in 2005/06.

[265a. German Film in English Translation] (1)

(Same as German 265) This course offers an overview of selected historical and formal developments in German film from the silent period to the present.

Readings and discussions in English.

Not offered in 2005/06.

[269b. The Holocaust] (1)

(Same as Religion 260 and History 260) The Shoah, or Holocaust, signifies the systemic effort by the Nazis to exterminate the Jews of Europe. This course explores the events that constitute the Shoah/Holocaust from the perspective of Jewish history and German history. What difference does perspective make in terms of crafting an historical narrative, seeking meaningful explanations for motivations and actions, choosing to focus upon the victims or perpetrators or bystanders? How do scholars of Jewish or German history frame issues of politics and religion, responsibility and guilt, resistance and rescue? Finally, the course explores some of the responses to the Holocaust/Shoah in its immediate aftermath. Ms. Moore.

Not offered in 2005/06.

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.

Topic for 2005/06: Germans and Jews: Between Division and Dialogue. The uneasy interplay between Germans and Jews has been both devastating and immensely

productive for modern culture. This course explores this interrelation from the Enlightenment to the present day, focusing on cultural 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. Mr. Schreiber and Mr. Bush

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. Space, Memory, Form: Studies in Jewish History and (1)

Material Culture

This seminar explores the lived worlds of Jewish communities in Europe and the Middle East. Through a combination of genres—memoirs, autobiographies, fiction, theoretical texts and visual material—students study the ways in which memory and space have been represented in oral histories, literature, material culture, and visual representations. Issues of transmission and cultural reproduction in different places and times and under varying conditions are central to the course. The seminar gives students the opportunity to develop their own scholarly work in the multi-sited framework. Ms. Goldstein.

Open only to seniors.

Permission required for non-majors.

315b. 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 2005/06: Jews and American Popular Culture. An exploration of the ways in which Jews have shaped American popular culture, and the ways they have been shaped by it. Our approaches are historical, thematic, and theoretical, focusing on the links between popular media, models of citizenship, and consumerist practices. Our primary texts are drawn from a variety of media. For example: films and the film industry (The Jazz Singer to The Producers), television (The Goldbergs to Seinfeld), comics (Betty Boop and Superman to The X-Men and Maus), music (popular song from Irving Berlin to Leiber and Stoller, klezmer from Mickey Katz to Don Byron), sports figures (Hank Greenberg and The Mighty Golem), fashion (Yiddish fashion manuals to postmodern immigrant wear), and dolls (Barbie, of course). Among the issues we consider: Jewish blackface and the popular unconscious; diasporic identity and the transformative properties of media culture; the relation between outlaw and in-law cultures; and Jews, gender, and the American body. Mr. Antelyes.

[340b. Classical Jewish Culture] (1)

Not offered in 2005/06.

346a. Studies in Jewish Thought and History (1)

(Same as Religion 346) Topic for 2005/06: Lost Tribes and Far Flung Diasporas. Denominational fragmentation, multi-culturalism and multi-ethnicity add to the richness of the study of the religious and cultural varieties of Judaism. On top of this already heady mix, many from far outside the complex tapestry of postmodern Judaism assert a connection with the Jewish people. Some groups claim to be the “lost remnant of Israel,” such as the B’nai Menashe of Myanmar and the Lemba of Southern Africa. Others, like the Anusim of Portugal, had been forced to convert from Judaism at some earlier historical moment and now want to return. And still others, like the Black Hebrew Israelites, insist that they alone are the only true and authentic Jews. We examine these and many other “extracanonical” Jewish cultures against the backdrop of historical sectarianism—Samaritan, Karaite and the Sabbatean Donmeh—in order to understand their claims and their place within the larger spectrum of Jewish culture, practice and affiliation. Mr. Epstein.

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.

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

Hebrew Language and Literature

105a-106b. Elementary Hebrew (1)

Introduction to the language. Basic phonics and grammatical structures. Stress on development of reading comprehension, simple composition, and conversational skills. For Hebrew 105, no background in the language is assumed; admission to Hebrew 106 is possible with the demonstration of previous work equivalent to Hebrew 105. Ms. Weitzman.

Open to all students.

221b. Voices from Modern Israel (1)

(Same as Jewish Studies 221 and Religion 221)

Prerequisite: One 100-level course in Jewish Studies or permission of ­instructor.

I. Introductory

II. Intermediate

205a, 206b. Continuing Hebrews (1)

Formal study of Hebrew language with emphasis on oral practice and writing skills. Ms. Weitzman.

Prerequisite: Hebrew 105-106, or equivalent of two years in high school.

298 Independent Work (1⁄2 or 1)

III. Advanced Hebrew

305a. Advanced Readings in Hebrew: Genres and Themes (1⁄2, 1)

Expansion of language proficiency through intensified study of culture and literary texts and examination of different Israeli media. Readings are arranged according to thematic topics and course may be repeated for credit if topic changes. Ms. Weitzman.

306a. Advanced Readings in Hebrew: Genres and Themes (1)

Expansion of language proficiency through intensified study of cultural and literary texts and examination of different Israeli media. Readings are arranged according to thematic topics and course may be repeated for credit if topic changes.

Approved Courses

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)

Hebrew 306a Advanced Hebrew (1)

Jewish Studies in Comparative Contexts

American Culture 275 Ethnicity and Race in America (1)

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

English 326 Studies in Ethnic American Literature (1)

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

History 215 The High Middle Ages (1)

History 231 France and its “Others” (1)

History 234 Imperial France, 1830-1962 (1)

History 237 Germany, 1918-1990 (1)

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

History 369 Themes in Twentieth Century Urban History: Social Reform and the Evolution of the Welfare State (1)

Political Science 237 Law of Race and Gender Antidiscrimination in the United States (1)

Religion 150 Western Religious Traditions (1)

Religion 220 Text and Tradition (1)

Religion 266 Religion in America (1)

Sociology 271 Forms of Social Conflict (1)

Sociology 366 Racism and Intellectuals (1)