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.
Jews are often viewed as a group associated with the Jewish religious tradition. However, Jews have also developed distinct Jewish cultures throughout their history 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 culture 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 appreciate the variety of Jewish cultures and to gain experience interpreting primary sources through a historical lens.
General method of instruction
Lecture and small group discussion
Class assignments and grading
Short response papers, mid-term, and final exams.