Courses Fall 2013
STOLEN YEARS: YOUTH UNDER THE NAZIS
This course examines the experiences of childhood & adolescence under the Nazis in World War II as witnessed, remembered, and represented in texts and images through a variety of means, genres and different nationalities. We include historical studies, diaries, testimonies, memoirs, fiction (semi-autobiographical or otherwise), photos, and film (documentary and feature) of 1st and 2d generations. While we focus on the fate of Jewish youth, who were specific targets of genocidal policy, not just unintended victims, we will also attend to others in the occupied countries. In final projects, students may elect to study other theaters of war.
MODERN HEBREW LITERATURE
This course follows the development of modern Hebrew prose in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. How was Hebrew refashioned from a liturgical to a modern literary language capable of narrating novels and conveying contemporary dialogue? Who were the revolutionary writers who accomplished this feat and what ideological struggles accompanied it? We will begin with the haskala (Jewish enlightenment), continue with the tehiya (revival) and early writing in the yishuv (Jewish community in pre-State Palestine), and conclude with dor ha-medina (the "independence generation") and maturation of modern Hebrew. Reading knowledge of Hebrew required.
JEWISH IDENITY & PERFORMANCE IN THE US NEW
Jill Dolan and Stacey Wolf
What does Jewishness mean in the U.S.? Is it ethnicity or religion? Identity or culture? Belief or practice? How do performance and theater answer or illuminate these questions? We'll consider plays and performances, bodies and texts, performers and spectators, history, memory, and the present.
GERMAN INTELLECTUAL HISTORY: THE WANDERING JEW NEW
This course will explore the proposition that the European interpretation of what it means to be European has always depended, from the Enlightenment through the 20th century, on European interpretations of what it means to be a Jew. We will trace representations of the Jew and Judaism as they appear in seminal works of European self-definition, drawing our examples from philosophy, theater, poetry, theology, history, music, and film, with a special emphasis on the German tradition. And we will ask, as we do so, about the role of the wandering trope of "Jewishness" in the formation of European Identity
GREAT BOOKS OF THE JEWISH TRADITION
This course is intended to introduce students to the classical Jewish tradition through a close reading of portions of some of its great books, including the Bible, the rabbinic midrash, the Talmud, Rashi's commentary on the Torah, Maimonides' Guide for the Perplexed, the Zohar, the prayer book, and the Haggadah. We will pay particular attention to the role of interpretation in forming Jewish tradition.
RABBINIC LITERATURE: LAW, RELIGION, AND HISTORY
The Talmud and other classical rabbinic texts constitute the core of the traditional Jewish curriculum. Through engagement with these texts, students will learn to reconstruct and follow the legal logic of the rabbis; analyze law as a form of cultural production; identify the methods through which the rabbis understood scripture; place rabbinic texts in context with other contemporary and competing groups such as philosophers and Christians; and more generally decipher the outlook and purpose of texts that are written in a complicated and particular style.
JEWISH MESSIANISM FROM JESUS TO ZIONISM
Since its origins in the Hebrew Bible, messianism has motivated Jews from ancient heralds of the apocalypse to modern Zionists. It has been reinterpreted by rationalists and mystics and has spawned sects in virtually every century of the past two millennia. Intellectual and social movements as diverse as Marxism and Iranian Mahdism have roots in Jewish messianism and Christianity began as a Jewish messianic sect. With an emphasis on a close reading of primary sources we will explore the unfolding of this idea in its vastly different historical moments and social contexts, providing a window onto 3000 years of Jewish history.