The Emergence of Modern Yiddish Culture
This class will examine the origins of Yiddish and its transformation from the vernacular of an ethno-religious community to a language of modern, secular mass culture and nationalist politics in the 19th and 20th centuries in Eastern Europe. In particular, it will concentrate on the Jewish "national Renaissance" of the turn of the century and the development of a variegated literature and press, theater, schools, and research institutions in Yiddish. The final weeks will be devoted to experiments in the creation of a new Jewish culture in both Poland and the Soviet Union in the period between the two World Wars. Cultural relations between the Jewish communities of Eastern Europe and the immigrant community in the US, as well as the development of an American Yiddish culture, will also be discussed.
Student learning goals
General method of instruction
This class will be taught as a seminar. Discussions will be based on texts, musical recordings, and films.
Regular attendance, preparation, and participation in class discussions.
Class assignments and grading
Weekly readings and/or film viewings. Midterm and final (10-12 pages) paper. Students are expected to participate in class discussions and will on an alternating basis be asked to introduce readings briefly in order to spark discussion.
Midterm and final paper, class participation