Devin E Naar
Introductory orientation to the settings in which Jews have marked out for themselves distinctive identities as a people, a culture, and as a religious community. Examines Jewish cultural history as a production of Jewish identity that is always produced in conversation with others in the non-Jewish world. Offered: jointly with JSIS C 250.
In the United States, Jews are often viewed as a religious group. Throughout their history, however, Jews have also developed distinct Jewish cultures with religious practices and beliefs constituting only one component. This class will explore various expressions of Jewish culture including biblical, Hellenistic, Judeo-Arabic, Sephardic, Ashkenazic, Eastern European, American and Israeli. As we analyze Jewish cultures across time and space, we will discuss how Jews both adopted the cultural assumptions of their neighbors and adapted these traditions to preserve a distinct identity.
Student learning goals
To become familiar with the variety of Jewish cultures across a wide geography and chronology.
To gain experience interpreting primary sources through a historical lens.
To develop skills of critical thinking and analysis.
General method of instruction
Lecture and group discussion.
Class assignments and grading
Response papers, mid-term, final paper/exam.