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JEWISHST 125: Modern Jewish Mysticism: Devotion in a Secular Age (RELIGST 165)

The twentieth-century was a time of tremendous upheaval and unspeakable tragedy for the Jewish communities of Europe. But the past hundred years were also a period of great renewal for Jewish spirituality, a renaissance that has continued into the present day. Beginning with the writings of the Safed Renaissance, the Sabbateanism, and the Hasidic masters, our course will focus on key thinkers in the 19th and 20th centuries, including: Hillel Zeitlin, Martin Buber, Abraham Isaac Kook, Abraham Joshua Heschel, and Arthur Green. Drawing upon essays, homilies, and poems, we will examine the ways in which their works re-cast and reinterpret the Jewish tradition in answer to the singular questions and challenges modernity. We will mark the development of their thinking against the two World Wars, the Holocaust, and the complex and multi-faceted processes of secularization. We will also consider the theological project of modern Jewish mystics in dialogue with modern Jewish philosophers (such more »
The twentieth-century was a time of tremendous upheaval and unspeakable tragedy for the Jewish communities of Europe. But the past hundred years were also a period of great renewal for Jewish spirituality, a renaissance that has continued into the present day. Beginning with the writings of the Safed Renaissance, the Sabbateanism, and the Hasidic masters, our course will focus on key thinkers in the 19th and 20th centuries, including: Hillel Zeitlin, Martin Buber, Abraham Isaac Kook, Abraham Joshua Heschel, and Arthur Green. Drawing upon essays, homilies, and poems, we will examine the ways in which their works re-cast and reinterpret the Jewish tradition in answer to the singular questions and challenges modernity. We will mark the development of their thinking against the two World Wars, the Holocaust, and the complex and multi-faceted processes of secularization. We will also consider the theological project of modern Jewish mystics in dialogue with modern Jewish philosophers (such as Hermann Cohen, Franz Rosenzweig, and Emmanuel Levinas) as well as modern philosophers and scholars informed by Christianity (from William James to Charles Taylor). This course argues that the processes of sacralization, of reclaiming a life of mystical devotion, are best understood as a unique response to Jewish modernity rather than a retreat to past modalities of religion. In seeking to prove this point, we will explore writers whose work emerged in and engaged with different social and cultural domains. We will investigate their writings with an eye to issues such as power and identity, and will draw upon their works in charting the intersection of mysticism, literature, language and experience. Throughout our readings, we will keep our eye on the sustained impact of feminism on Jewish mysticism in the second half of the twentieth century. This course is structured as a seminar, and our class discussions will be rooted in the primary sources. It assumes no prior background of Judaism or any other religious traditions. All readings will be made available in English.
Terms: Aut | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: WAY-A-II, WAY-ED
Instructors: Mayse, E. (PI)

JEWISHST 128: Women and Gender in Early Judaism and Christianity (RELIGST 128)

Beginning with the Hebrew Bible and New Testament, we will explore female figures in early Jewish and Christian literatures, such as Eve, Ruth, Mary, and Junia. Based on this, we will probe the prescriptions for female comportment in early Judaism and Christianity placing these literary prescriptions in conversation with material evidence related to women, such as for example the Babatha archive. We will analyze the politics of patriarchy in ancient discourse, and examine, among other topics, efforts by Christian clergy to silence female prophets in the second and third centuries CE. The bulk of the course will be devoted to the formative years of both Judaism and Christianity in Late Antiquity. This course assumes no prior knowledge of Judaism, Christianity, the Bible, or ancient history. It is designed for students who are part of faith traditions that consider the Bible to be sacred, as well as those who are not. Ancient readings in this course will be supplemented by modern scholarship in classics, early Christian studies, gender studies, queer studies, and the history of sexuality.
Terms: Spr | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: WAY-A-II, WAY-ED

JEWISHST 129A: Milk and Honey, Wine and Blood: Food, Justice, and Ethnic Identity in Jewish Culture (RELIGST 129)

This course examines Jewish culture and the food practices and traditions that have shaped and continue to shape it. Students learn to prepare a variety of meals while studying about the historical and literary traditions associated with them, such as the dietary `laws¿ and the long history of their interpretation, as well as the cultivation of eating as devotional practice in Jewish mystical traditions. We will explore how regional foods the world over contribute to the formation of distinct Jewish ethnic identities, and how these traditions shape contemporary Jewish food ethics. The course includes guest visits by professional chefs and food writers, and field trips to a local winery.
Last offered: Spring 2019 | UG Reqs: WAY-A-II, WAY-ED

JEWISHST 133A: WELFARE, WORK AND POVERTY. (CSRE 133J, SOC 103A)

Early theorists of the welfare state described it as a reaction to the emergence of needs and interests of specific social groups during processes of economic development and change. Later theorists countered that the welfare state does not merely react to social cleavages during times of economic change but rather works to actively shape them, in line with worldviews or the interests of dominant group members. Adopting the latter approach, the goal of this course is to provide the tools and knowledge necessary for a critical evaluation of the social services provided to Israeli citizens and their impact on social and economic inequalities. The course will survey various approaches to the understanding of the goals of the welfare state. A comparative and historical account of the development of the welfare state will be presented, while highlighting recent developments, such as the increase in poverty rates and the aging of the population. During the course, we will examine the diverse needs that are served by the welfare state, as well as major dilemmas associated with the provision of services. Throughout the course, we will study critical thinking techniques and will use them for analyzing issues that are central for the development of social policies in Israel and the US.
Last offered: Spring 2018 | UG Reqs: WAY-ED, WAY-SI

JEWISHST 139: Rereading Judaism in Light of Feminism (FEMGEN 139)

During the past three decades, Jewish feminists have asked new questions of traditional rabbinic texts, Jewish law, history, and religious life and thought. Analysis of the legal and narrative texts, rituals, theology, and community to better understand contemporary Jewish life as influenced by feminism.
Last offered: Spring 2017 | UG Reqs: GER:EC-Gender, WAY-ED

JEWISHST 143: Literature and Society in Africa and the Caribbean (AFRICAAM 133, AFRICAST 132, COMPLIT 133A, COMPLIT 233A, CSRE 133E, FRENCH 133)

This course aims to equip students with an understanding of the cultural, social, and political aspects at play in the literatures of Francophone Africa and the Caribbean of the 20th and 21st century. Our primary readings will be Francophone novels and poetry. We will also read some theoretical texts. The assigned readings will expose students to literature from diverse French-speaking regions of the African/Caribbean world. This course will also serve as a "literary toolbox," with the intention of facilitating an understanding of literary genres, and terms. Students can expect to work on their production of written and spoken French, in addition to reading comprehension. Special guest: Moroccan author Meryem Alaoui. Required readings include: Aime Cesaire, Maryse Condé, Fatou Diome, Dany Laferriere, Leonara Miano, Albert Memmi. Taught in French. Prerequisite: FRENLANG 124 or consent of instructor.
Terms: Aut | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum, WAY-A-II, WAY-ED
Instructors: Seck, F. (PI)

JEWISHST 155D: Jewish American Literature (AMSTUD 145D, ENGLISH 145D, REES 145D)

From its inception, Jewish-American literature has taken as its subject as well as its context the idea of Jewishness itself. Jewish culture is a diasporic one, and for this reason the concept of Jewishness differs from country to country and across time. What stays remarkably similar, though, is Jewish self-perception and relatedly Jewish literary style. This is as true for the first-generation immigrant writers like Isaac Bashevis Singer and Anzia Yezierska who came to the United States from abroad as it is for their second-generation children born in the United States, and the children of those children. In this course, we will consider the difficulties of displacement for the emigrant generation and their efforts to sustain their cultural integrity in the multicultural American environment. We'll also examine the often comic revolt of their American-born children and grandchildren against their (grand-)parents nostalgia and failure to assimilate. Only by considering these transnati more »
From its inception, Jewish-American literature has taken as its subject as well as its context the idea of Jewishness itself. Jewish culture is a diasporic one, and for this reason the concept of Jewishness differs from country to country and across time. What stays remarkably similar, though, is Jewish self-perception and relatedly Jewish literary style. This is as true for the first-generation immigrant writers like Isaac Bashevis Singer and Anzia Yezierska who came to the United States from abroad as it is for their second-generation children born in the United States, and the children of those children. In this course, we will consider the difficulties of displacement for the emigrant generation and their efforts to sustain their cultural integrity in the multicultural American environment. We'll also examine the often comic revolt of their American-born children and grandchildren against their (grand-)parents nostalgia and failure to assimilate. Only by considering these transnational roots can one understand the particularity of the Jewish-American novel in relation to mainstream and minority American literatures. In investigating the link between American Jewish writers and their literary progenitors, we will draw largely but not exclusively from Russia and the countries of Eastern Europe.
Last offered: Spring 2018 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum, GER:EC-AmerCul, WAY-A-II, WAY-ED

JEWISHST 155J: The Jewish-American Novel: Diaspora, Privilege, Anxiety, Comedy (AMSTUD 145J, ENGLISH 145J)

Jews are sometimes referred to as 'the people of the book.' Would Portnoy's Complaint count as a book that constitutes Jewish-American peoplehood? What about Fear of Flying? This seminar introduces students to influential Jewish-American novels (and some short stories and film) from the late nineteenth century to the present day. These works return time and again to questions of diaspora, race, queer social belonging, and the duty to a Jewish past, mythical or real. Through close readings of short stories and novels coupled with secondary readings about Jewish-American history and culture, we will explore how American Jewishness is constructed differently in changing historical climates. What makes a text Jewish? What do we mean by Jewish humor and Jewish seriousness? How do Jewish formulations of gender and power respond to Jews' entrance into the white American mainstream? As we read, we'll think through and elaborate on models of ethnicity, privilege, sexuality, and American pluralism. Authors include Cahan, Yezierska, Singer, Roth, Bellow, Malamud, Ozick, Mailer, Jong, and Englander.
Terms: Aut | Units: 4-5 | UG Reqs: WAY-ED

JEWISHST 185B: Jews in the Contemporary World: The Jewish Present and Past in Film, Television and Popular Culture (CSRE 185B, HISTORY 185B, HISTORY 385C, REES 185B, SLAVIC 183)

(Same as HISTORY 85B.) This course explores the full expanse of Jewish life today and in the recent past. The inner workings of religious faith, the content of Jewish identify shorn of belief, the interplay between Jewish powerlessness and influence, the myth and reality of Jewish genius, the continued pertinence of antisemitism, the rhythms of Jewish economic life ¿ all these will be examined in weekly lectures, classroom discussion, and with the use of a widely diverse range of readings, films, and other material. Explored in depth will the ideas and practices of Zionism, the content of contemporary secularism and religious Orthodoxy, the impact Holocaust, the continued crisis facing Israel and the Palestinians. Who is to be considered Jewish, in any event, especially since so many of the best known (Spinoza, Freud, Marx) have had little if anything to do with Jewish life with their relationships to it indifferent, even hostile?
Terms: Win | Units: 4-5 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum, GER:EC-GlobalCom, WAY-ED, WAY-SI

JEWISHST 186: Jews in Trump's America and Before (HISTORY 286F)

This class considers the notion of American Jewish exceptionalism through the lens of Trump's America. The social and economic success of American Jewry over the last 350 years is remarkable, yet Jews continue to find their position in American society called into question. This course moves between past and present and will consider key moments in American Jewish life with a particular emphasis on contemporary currents, including post-liberal identity politics, Israel, and the rise of white supremacy.
Terms: Spr | Units: 5 | UG Reqs: WAY-ED, WAY-SI
Instructors: Walters, A. (PI)
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