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Jewish Studies

Chair: Susannah Heschel

Professors S. Ackerman (Religion), H. M. Ermarth (History), L. H. Glinert (AMELL), R. M. Green (Religion), M. Hirsch (French), L. D. Kritzman (French), B. P. Scherr (Russian), C. S. Wilder (History); Associate Professors E. Z. Benor (Religion), S. Heschel (Religion), I. Kacandes (German), T. H. Luxon (English), A. Orleck (History), A. K. Reinhart (Religion), I. T. Schweitzer (English), M. F. Zeiger (English); Assistant Professor V. Fuechtner (German); Senior Lecturer B. S. Kreiger (English); Lecturers M. A. Bronski (Women’s and Gender Studies), T. Ginsberg, S. E. Kangas (Art History), E. Rota; Visiting Brownstone Professor J. A. Boyarin; Visiting Professor K. Milich; Adjunct Professor A. Lelchuk (Liberal Studies); Adjunct Assistant Professor M. B Brown,

The Jewish Studies Program serves to provide a multi-disciplinary focal point for the various courses in Jewish history, religion, literature, and culture that are given at Dartmouth as well as to sponsor special course offerings (including those by the annual Brownstone Visiting Professor) and a variety of academic activities related to the discipline. The program currently offers a minor.


The minor is designed to offer a general introduction to the historical and cultural experience of Jews throughout the world, and to Jewish thought, literature, and contemporary political and social issues. At the same time, it provides the opportunity for students who wish to do more intensive work in a single discipline. Those completing the minor are encouraged, but not required, to obtain at least a working knowledge of Hebrew (Hebrew 3, or equivalent).

Requirements: A total of six courses, which must include:

One course in Religion:

Jewish Studies 4/Religion 4: Religion of Israel: The Hebrew Bible (Old Testament), or Jewish Studies 6/Religion 6: Introduction to Judaism, or Religion 60: Classical and Medieval Judaism, or Religion 61: Modern Judaism

One course in the Literature of the Jewish People:

Jewish Studies 20, or Hebrew 21 or 22: Intermediate Hebrew, or Jewish Studies 40/Hebrew 61: Modern Hebrew Literature in Translation

One course in History and Culture of the Jews:

Jewish Studies 10, or Jewish Studies 11

The remaining three courses should be selected in consultation with the adviser and may be chosen from among other course offerings in the program.


4. Religion of Israel: The Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) (Identical to Religion 4)

04F, 06W: 10

An introduction to the religion of ancient Israel through an examination of a number of the Books of the Old Testament (Hebrew Bible), including Genesis, Exodus, Joshua, Samuel, the Psalms, Job, and the prophets. Attention will also be given to the religion of Israel’s Phoenician and Mesopotamian neighbors. Open to all classes. Class of 2007 and earlier: Dist: PHR; WCult: EU. Class of 2008 and later: Dist: TMV; WCult: W. Ackerman.

6. Introduction to Judaism (Identical to Religion 6)

04F: 12

The readings and lectures in this course will be devoted to giving an outline of the Jewish religion, both in its ideas and its practices. Materials will be drawn from rabbinic, medieval, and modern Judaism. Open to all classes. Class of 2007 and earlier: Dist: PHR; WCult: EU. Class of 2008 and later: Dist: TMV; WCult: W. Benor.

7. First-Year Seminars in Jewish Studies

Consult special listings

10. History and Culture of the Jews: The Classical Period (Identical to History 94.8)

05X: 11

A survey of the history and culture of the Jews from the post-Biblical period to the Middle Ages. Class of 2007 and earlier: Dist: PHR; WCult: EU. Class of 2008 and later: WCult: W. Yuval, Heschel.

11. History and Culture of the Jews II: The Modern Period (Identical to History 94.9)

06W: 11

A continuation of Jewish Studies 10, but may be taken independently. This course provides a survey of Jewish history and culture from the European enlightenment to the establishment of the State of Israel. Dist: PHR; WCult: EU. Class of 2008 and later: WCult: W. Heschel.

15. Experimental Courses in Jewish Studies

04F: 2A 05W: 10, 11, 2A 05F: 10A 06W: 12

This course enables regular or visiting faculty members to examine topics in Jewish Studies not treated in the established curriculum. Topics may, therefore, vary each time the course is offered.

In 04F at 2A Judaism, Sexuality and Queerness (Identical to Women and Gender Studies 60). This class will examine the intersections between gender formation, sexual identity, sexual practice, religious practice, cultural identity, and personal belief. Drawing upon contemporary gender theory, religious texts, and current interpretations of Jewish thought and culture in the works of Judith Halberstam, Marilyn Halter, Rachel Adler, Sander Gilman, Miriam Peskowitz. Laura Levitt, and David Biale we will examine the construction of Jewish identity as well as gender and sexual orientation through a feminist/queer lens.

Open to all students. Class of 2007 and earlier: Dist: PHR; Class of 2008 and later: Dist: TMV; WCult: CI. Bronski.

In 05W at 10, Comparative Diasporas (Identical to Anthropology 12). This course examines various ways of theorizing and describing Diaspora in a variety of contexts (including the debate over whether the Jews are or should be the model of diaspora). We will examine Diasporas both on the global level and as particular diasporic formations as a way to rethink relations among politics, territory and identity in our time. Dist: SOC or INT. Class of 2008 and later: WCult: CI. Boyarin.

In 05W at 11 Cities of the Biblical World: An Archeological Approach. This course will study some of the cosmopolitan centers where Jews interacted with other peoples of the Middle East and Eastern Mediterranean, where Jewish identity was first formulated, and where early Jewish history unfolded. It was in antiquity that the Jewish people’s special, complex, and often problematical relationship to place first took shape. We will explore this issue in light of archaeological materials distributed over a wide geographical and chronological range, from Jerusalem—the first capital of the Israelites—to Nineveh and Babylon, to powerful centers of the Roman world such as Sepphoris in the Galilee and the port at Caesarea. Dist: ART; WCult: NW. Kangas.

In 05W at 2A, European Anti-Semitism from the Enlightenment (Identical to History 6). This course will examine the contours and evolution of modern European anti-Semitism as the “dark grimace” of Western modernity. Anti-Semitism will be examined as an explicit ideology, as well as a more inchoate socio-political and cultural undertow. The course will move between national and international frameworks, elucidating the relation of anti- Semitism to concurrent trends of industrialization, nationalism, social Darwinism, imperialism, socialism and the “social question,” and pseudo-scientific racialism. Class of 2007 and earlier: Dist: PHR; WCult: EU. Class of 2008 and later: Dist: SOC; WCult: W. Ermarth.

In 05F at 10A, Jews and Hollywood (Identical to Film Studies 47). We would not have American popular culture as we know it today without the work of Jewish performers from Al Jolson, Fanny Brice, and Jack Benny, to Woody Allen, Barbra Streisand, Joan Rivers, and Adam Sandler as well as the writers, producers and directors behind the camera. This course will look at the complex, rich tradition of Jewish artists as well as the history of representations of Jews in U.S. film. While we will look at early Yiddish and selected European films the course will focus primarily on American produced film examining how Jews became American and how American culture became Jewish. Topics will include: the role of Jews in the creation of the product and myth of Hollywood, how anti-Semitism shaped images of Jews in film, how Jewish social consciousness effected popular entertainment, the political ramifications of American Jewish humor, and how mainstream film has shaped contemporary Jewish identity. Dist: ART. Class of 2007 and earlier: WCult: NA. Class of 2008 and later: WCult: W. Bronski.

In 06W at 12 Synagogue and Church: Archaeology of Roman Palestine (Identical to Religion 79, pending faculty approval). The Greco-Roman era in the ancient Near East is crucial for understanding the evolution of Biblical Judaism and the emergence of Christianity. This course will examine the archaeological, historical, and art historical evidence for the parallel development of Judaism and Christianity, beginning with the First-Century C.E. Topics of discussion will include the study of the city of Jerusalem and its Temple, the archaeology of Jesus, the Jewish revolt against Rome, and the art and architecture of the first synagogues and churches. Dist: ART. Kangas.

20. Literatures of the Jewish People

05S, 05F, 06S: 10A

This course is devoted to one or more literary traditions; topic varies. Students may take the course more than once provided the topic is not the same as in a previous election.

In 05S and 06S at 10A, Introduction to Hebrew and Israeli Culture (Identical to Hebrew 10 and AMES 17). This course is interdisciplinary, exploring the interaction of Hebrew literature, film, music, religion and society. For millennia, Hebrew has had a unique spiritual hold on both the Jewish and Christian imagination. We will focus on the Bible as wisdom, law and poetry, the Talmud of the ancient Rabbis, Kabbalah and Hebrew alphabet mysticism, war and the Israeli cinema, Hebrew folk and rock culture, and a modern political mystery: How today’s Hebrew was raised from the dead. No knowledge of Hebrew is assumed. Dist: LIT; WCult: NW. Glinert.

In 05F at 10A, Midrash: How the Rabbis Interpreted the Bible (Identical to Hebrew 62, and Comparative Literature 70). Midrash is the ancient Jewish term for Biblical interpretation. We examine how the Bible was interpreted by the Rabbis 1500 to 2000 years ago, at the crucial juncture in history when the Bible was being canonized in the form it now has. We focus on powerful motifs such as the Creation, the Flood, Jacob and the Angel, Joseph’s Dreams, and the Golden Calf, and view them through two prisms: through a wide range of ancient Midrashic texts themselves; and through one influential modern Jewish literary reading of the Midrashic themes of Genesis. Dist: LIT; WCult: NW. Glinert.

30. Topics in the History of the Jewish People

04F: 2A 05S: 10, 11

This course will be devoted to a specific issue, region or period; topic varies. Students may take the course more than once provided the topic is not the same as in a previous election.

In 04F at 2A The Ghetto from Venice to Harlem (Identical to History 96.1). An in-depth look at a modern institution of oppression: the ghetto. The literature examines ghettoization across a wide geographic area. The course runs (fairly) chronologically, beginning with the ghettoization of Jews in Medieval Europe and ending with the ghettoization of African Americans and Latinos in the twentieth century United States. It also explores segregation and poverty in the urban “Third World”. Class of 2007 and earlier: Dist: PHR. Class of 2008 and later: Dist: SOC. Wilder.

In 05S at 10, The Nation and Its Others: France, the Jews, and the Muslims. France has played a central role in our understanding of liberty, equality, and nationhood. Concepts such as “human rights” or “universalism” entered the world of politics through the French Revolution and shaped our understanding of the political sphere ever since. This course will explore how immigrants are integrated or excluded from the nation and how ethnicity, religion, and citizenship sometimes clash with nationhood. As examples, we will look at two of the most important minorities in France: the Muslims and the Jews. Class of 2007 and earlier: Dist: PHR; WCult: EU. Class of 2008 and later: Dist: TMV; WCult: W. Rota.

In 05S at 11, Jews in American Culture and Theory: The New York Intellectuals (Identical to English 67). No other group of Jewish critics has been so influential in American literary and cultural politics as the New York Intellectuals, who came to prominence with the foundation of the Partisan Review (1937-2003). Starting from the assumption of what Russel Jacoby has identified as a Jewish-gentile split among the NYI, this course shall focus on how the political and cultural debates informed their notions of Jewish-American identity, particularly in respect to other minority. Dist: LIT. Class of 2007 and earlier: WCult: NA. Class of 2008 and later: W.Cult: W. Milich.

37. The Holocaust

05S: 2A 06S: 11

Each offering of this course examines a specific topic related to the Holocaust.

In 05S at 2A, History of the Holocaust (Identical to History 6.3). The focus of this course will be on the history of the murder of European Jews and the destruction of European Judaism at the hands of the Nazis. After surveying the history of racism in European society from the 18th to 20th century, the course investigates, from perspectives of history, psychology, literature, philosophy, and religion, how bureaucracy could exterminate six million Jews. Class of 2007 and earlier: Dist: PHR; WCult: EU. Class of 2008 and later: WCult: W. Heschel.

In 06S at 11, The Holocaust in History (Identical to History 6). A comprehensive examination of the origins, implementation, evolution, and aftermath of the Holocaust as the systematic genocide against the Jews and other marginal groups in Nazi-occupied Europe during World War II. This course will attempt to explore the concrete experiences and perspectives of victims, perpetrators, accomplices, and bystanders. The course will use many different forms of documentation and evidence to come to terms with the topic. Ermarth.

40. Topics in the History, Literature, Politics and Culture of Israel

04F: 10 05W: 10A 05S: 2A

Individual offerings of this course will focus on a specific topic relating to the history, literature, politics and culture of Israel. Students may take the course more than once provided the topic is not the same as in a previous election.

In 04F at 10 World War, Genocide, and Firebombing: The Burden of the Nazi Past (Identical to German 43). This course will examine the main events connected with the Second World War, the Genocide of European Jewry and Roma-Sinti, and the Allied attacks on the German civilian population. Its focus will be the different stages of coming to grips with that past on the part of the German population during events, directly after, and in the decades since. As a result, it will take up a number of controversies including those surrounding the Nuremberg and Frankfurt trials, the Eichmann trial, the construction of the Berlin Jewish Museum, the campaign to build a Holocaust memorial in Berlin, Neonazism, and the current campaign to remember German civilian casualties. Its approach will be interdisciplinary, utilizing history, journalism, music, literature, art, photography, and architecture. Its central question will be the formation of postwar German identity through the dialectic of suppressing and embracing past atrocities committed by and against the population. Taught in English. Dist: LIT. Class of 2007 and earlier: WCult: EU. Class of 2008 and later: WCult: CI. Kacandes.

In 05W at 10A, The Merchant of Venice: Jews and the Protestant Imagination (Identical to English 66). This course will offer a close examination of Shakespeare’s construction of “Jewishness,” in the context of a larger review of Jewish history in medieval and early modern Europe. Dist: LIT. Class of 2007 and earlier: WCult: EU. Class of 2008 and later: WCult: W. Satisfies the Interdisciplinary requirement (Class of 2004 and earlier). Luxon, Heschel.

In 05S at 2A Film, Fiction and the Israeli Reality (Identical to Hebrew 61). This course explores Israeli cinema and literature in the contexts of their social and historical backdrop of state-building, creation of an Israeli identity, war, secular-religious strife, and the Holocaust. In seeking to build a society on a radically self-reliant, secular Jewish self-image, Israelis have created a culture that is a complex interplay of traditional Jewish cultures, Mid Eastern, Western and East European motifs, and features that are uniquely Israeli. At the same time, the arts have undergone a precipitous shift from a national Zionist consensus to an introspective or cosmopolitan individualism, due in part to growing war-weariness and loss of ideology. Among the films to be studied are They were Ten, Hill 24 Doesn’t Answer, Sallah, My Michael, Summer of Aviya, Noa at 17, The Wooden Gun, Himmo King of Jerusalem, Song of the Siren. Our authors include Megged, Appelfeld, Amichai, Oz, and Yehoshua. Dist: LIT. Class of 2007 and earlier: WCult: EU. Class of 2008 and later: WCult: W. Glinert.

50. Archaeology of Israel (Identical to Art History 17.2)

Not offered in the period from 04F through 06S

60. Special Topics in Jewish Studies

05F: 2A

In 05F, The Jewish Family (Identical to Comparative Literature 46). This course will explore the various narrative forms—novel, short story, essay, self-portraiture, drama—in which the Jewish family is represented. We will examine how the rhetorical configurations of texts describe the varieties of Jewishness and the significance of Jewish cultural identity in a cross-cultural context. Authors to be studied include Aleichem, Bellow, Finkelkraut, Freud, Ginzburg, Kafka, Kushner, Paley, Perec, Roth, and Singer. Dist: LIT. Kritzman.

61. Freud: Psychoanalysis, Jews, and Gender (Identical to German 42 and Women’s and Gender Studies 46, pending faculty approval)

06W: 11

After a brief historical introduction to Freud’s time and environment, Fin-de-Siécle Vienna, we will discuss how Freud’s own writings, his biograpHy and his biographers have shaped the perception of psychoanalysis as a specifically Jewish theory and practice. Through a close reading of Freud’s seminal texts on gender, sexuality and religion, we will trace the connections between psychoanalysis, Jewishness and gender that have impacted theoretical discussions until today, i.e. on hysteria or on anti-Semitism. We will close the class with historical, theoretical readings that explore and critique Freudian psychoanalysis on issues of anti-Semitism, politics, gender and sexuality (among others Karen Horney, Wilhelm Reich and Herbert Marcuse) and discuss the most recent debates on the status of Freud in the U.S. Fuechtner.

70. Topics in Jewish Thought

Not offered in the period from 04F through 06S

80. Seminar in Jewish Studies

05S: 3A

In 05S at 3A, Advanced Topics on Holocaust Historiography (Identical to History 96, pending faculty approval). This seminar will examine several key issues in recent holocaust historiography with particular attention to the center-periphery debate concerning the extent to which genocidal policy was controlled by Berlin, or by German forces occupying regions in Eastern Europe. Additional issues concern feminist debates over Nazi natalist policies; consent or coercion as characterizing German civilian responses; application of social theory to concentration camps; the role of the churches; comparison of the Wehrmacht and the Italian army. Prerequisite for this seminar is prior knowledge of the history of the Holocaust and of Nazi Germany. Class of 2007 and earlier: Dist: PHR; WCult: EU. Class of 2008 and later: WCult: W. Heschel.

85. Independent Study and Research

All terms: Arrange

This course offers qualified students of Jewish Studies the opportunity to pursue work on a topic of special interest through an individually designed program. Requires permission of the instructor and the Chair.