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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Loryn Hazan Paxton
SISJE 490
Seattle Campus

Special Topics

Content varies.

Class description

Twelve-stanza murder ballads about forbidden love,sweatshop workers? laments at the sewing machine, and lullabies with graphic descriptions of the Holocaust are just a few examples of the wealth of Yiddish songs by, for, and about Jewish women. For centuries,women expressed their joy, suffering, interests, and concerns through songs, many of which have fortunately been passed down and collected, surviving to the present day. This course will use these songs (in translation) to examine the lives of Ashkenazi Jewish women in Eastern Europe and America over the past 150 years.

Topics include: Love Songs, Marriage Songs, Lullabies, Labor Songs, Immigration Songs, Holocaust Songs, Religious Songs, Contemporary Songs, and more!

Student learning goals

Using published collections as well as materials from the instructor's original fieldwork, we will read (and hear) women?s folk songs, theater songs, art songs, and school songs. When relevant, we will compare these songs to ones written by men for or about women. Secondary sources will provide a historical and sociological backdrop. Combining history, folklore, ethnomusicology, women?s studies, and Jewish studies, this interdisciplinary course will bring to life the struggles and victories of Jewish women in the modern period.

General method of instruction

General method of instruction

The class will consist of weekly seminars, which will be part lecture, part discussion. Lectures will include listening to recordings (and sometimes to live performances) of songs. Reading assignments will include both song lyrics and secondary historical and ethnographic sources.

Recommended preparation

A familiarity with modern Jewish history is helpful but not necessary.

Class assignments and grading

Class assignments and grading

(Describe the general nature of assignments.)

Assignments will include weekly postings to a class discussion board online, two short oral presentations introducing readings to the class, a 5-8 page midterm paper, and a choice of either a final exam or a final research paper (10-12 pages).

Participation in class discussions and attendance (10%), Oral presentations (15%), Discussion board postings (15%), Midterm paper(25%), and Final exam/paper (35%).


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Loryn Hazan Paxton
Date: 10/15/2009