C / * (Humanities)

Course No.

JS 101                         *Rethinking Difference


An Introduction to  Jewish Studies


Cecile Kuznitz


Tu Th            10:00 am - 11:20 am     OLIN 306

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?