Course No.

JS 215 / HIST


Beyond the Shtetl: The History of East European Jewry, 1772-1939


Cecile Kuznitz


Mon Wed 3:00 pm 4:20 pm OLIN 305

This course will survey the history of the Jews of Eastern Europe from the partitions of Poland until the Holocaust. It will go "beyond the shtetl (small town)," first by considering nostalgic stereotypes of East European Jewish life in American popular culture and comparing them to the realities of traditional Jewish society. It will then look at how that society underwent profound changes in the modern period, creating radically new forms of Jewish community, culture, and political organization that went far beyond the traditional values of the shtetl. Topics to be covered include the rise of Chasidism and Haskalah (Enlightenment); pogroms and Russian government policy towards the Jews; modern Jewish political movements such as Zionism and the socialist Jewish Labor Bund; literature in Hebrew and Yiddish; urbanization and emigration; and Polish and Soviet Jewries in the interwar period. The course materials will include both primary and secondary historical sources, as well as literature and film of the period under study.



Courses cross-listed in Jewish Studies:


FILM 214 History of Yiddish Cinema

HEB 101 Beginning Hebrew

HEB 201 Intermediate Hebrew

HIST 2122 The Arab-Israeli Conflict

LIT 3412 Four Jewish Authors

REL 175 Scripture, Mishnah, & Midrash