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Jewish Studies

Chair: Annelise Orleck

Professors S. Ackerman (Religion), H. M. Ermarth (History), L. H. Glinert (AMELL), R. M. Green (Religion), L. D. Kritzman (French), T. H. Luxon (English), A. Orleck (History), B. P. Scherr (Russian), C. S. Wilder (History); Associate Professors E. Z. Benor (Religion), S. Heschel (Religion), I. Kacandes (German), A. Merino (Spanish and Portuguese), 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), S. E. Kangas (Art History), E. Rota (French and Italian); Visiting Brownstone Professor I. J. Yuval; Brownstone Post-Doctoral Fellow O. Kamil; Visiting Harris Professor C. von Braun; Visiting Professor K. Milich; Visiting Assistant Professor J. Karp; 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)

07W: 2

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)

06F: 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)

06F: 10

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. Karp.

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

06X, 07S: 11

In 06X and 07S at 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

06W: 10A06S: 10

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 06W at 10A, The Jewish Body (Identical to Religion 19). In a constant process of defending against racist stereotypes and their internalization, the Jewish body has been formed historically in a social discourse negotiating between self-perception and being the object of description by others. This interdisciplinary course (Religion and History) the construction of Jewish physicality, body parts (such as nose, hair, muscles, blood), intellectuality, and spirit. Topics will range from Judaism’s focus on bodily practices as forms of religious expression to anti-Semitic stereotypes about Jews. The impact of concepts of gender, race, and sexuality on Jewishness in different eras will be examined. The course will interrogate a range of sources, from the Bible, Talmud, mystical and ethical literature, to popular culture, including novels, film, comedic performance, and photographs. Class of 2007 and earlier: Dist: PHR; WCult: EU. Class of 2008 and later: WCult: W. Satisfies the Interdisciplinary Requirement (Class of 2004 and earlier). Heschel, von Braun.

In 06S at 10, The History of Israel from an Arab Intellectual Perspective (Identical to Hebrew 61 pending faculty approval). This course intends to explore the intellectual roots of Zionism and its complex ethical, cultural, political, and sociological evolution. Our investigation will focus both on the European context for the creation of Israel and, in addition, on the impact of Zionism both on Jewish society in Israel and on the Arab world. We shall demonstrate the role which Zionist ideology played in the rise of the Arab nationalism, and subsequently, in the Arab-Israeli conflict. Finally, the course will discuss the reasons for the integration, nonintegration and the future of Israel in the Middle East. Kamil.

20. Literatures of the Jewish People

06W: 2A06S: 10A06F: 2A07S: 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 06W, 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.

In 06S and 07S, 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 06F, Jewish Humor and its Roots (Identical to Hebrew 63 and Comparative Literature 41). What is Jewish humor, what are its roots, and what can it begin to tell us about Jewish society, its values and its self-image? This course mines the long and rich tradition of Hebrew comic and satirical folklore and fine literature, and their relationship to Yiddish, Israeli and Anglo-American Jewish humor. We will also compare the joke, popular song, film and the cartoon, asking how genre impacts on theme. Taught in English translation. Open to all classes. Dist: LIT. Class of 2007 and earlier: WCult: EU. Class of 2008 and later. WCult: W. Glinert

30. Topics in the History of the Jewish People

05F: 11, 10

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 05F at 11, The Nation and Its Others: France, the Jews, and the Muslims (Identical to Geography 49). 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 05F at 10, Jews in American Culture and Theory: The New York Intellectuals (Identical to English 72.3). 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

06S: 1107W: 2A

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

In 06S at 11, History of the Holocaust (Identical to History 58). 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. Class of 2007 and earlier: Dist: PHR; WCult: EU. Class of 2008 and later: WCult: W. Ermarth.

In 07W at 2A, History of the Holocaust (Identical to History 58). 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.

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

06W: 1006F: 10A07W: 1007S: 10A, 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 06W, Between Euro-Centrism and Third-Worldism: Arab Intellectuals and Holocaust-Discourse Reconsidered (Identical to AMES 24, pending faculty approval). The Holocaust was, and still is, a kind of non-event in the Arab consciousness. Despite the centrality of the Holocaust as a topic in European intellectual discourse after 1945, Arab intellectuals were hesitant to deal with the subject. When they did, its scope, causes and importance, if noted, tended to be relativized or denied. This course will examine Arab views of the Holocaust through the lens of the debate between Europe and the Arab world over “The Algeria Question” in the 1960s, a moment when Arab suffering under colonialism was posed as a kind of counterweight to Jewish suffering in the Holocaust. Class of 2008 and later: WCult: W. Kamil.

In 06F, Blacks and Jews in American Culture.This course goes beyond standard treatments of the topic that emphasize the history of political alliances and antagonisms between Jews and African Americans. It focuses instead on spheres of cultural confluence and conflict, such as religion, music, and film against a backdrop of shifting ideologies. Its ultimate aim is to grasp how the of Blacks and Jews has helped to reshape the broader contours of American cultural life. Karp.

In 07W, The Burden of the Nazi Past: World War, Genocide, and Firebombing (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 07S at 10A, Jews and the Protestant Imagination: The Merchant of Venice (Identical to English 65 and Religion 81). 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 07S 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)

Not offered in the period from 05F through 07S

60. Special Topics in Jewish Studies

05F, 06F: 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.

In 06F, European Jewish Intellectuals (Identical to Comparative Literature 70). The course will examine the role of the Jewish intellectual in 20th-century Europe. We shall focus on several paradigmatic figures (Adorno, Arendt, Benjamin, Levinas, Derrida) who confront the redefinition of politics and civil society in modern times. Some attempt will be made to deal with these changes through a critical reflection on the concepts of democracy and ethics and on how justice can be practiced either within or outside the geographical and spiritual boundaries of the modern nation state. Particular attention will be paid to topics such as the challenges of Eurocentric Christian humanism and universalism to Jewish assimilation; the promises of totalitarianism, Marxism and messianism; the politics of biblical exegesis; history and Jewish mysticism; Zionism, anti-Zionism, and the Arab-Israeli Conflict. Dist: LIT. Class of 2007 and earlier: WCult: EU. Class of 2008 and later: WCult: W. Kritzman.

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

06W: 12

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. Dist: SOC. Class of 2008 and later: W.Cult: CI. Fuechtner.

62. Jewish Mysticism (Identical to Religion 62)

07W: 10

The course examines the nature of claims to mystical experience or knowledge as they appear in various aspects of the Jewish tradition with primary focus on the enchanted and demnic worlds of the Kabbala. Forms of ecstasy, theurgy, and magic will be studied along with their theoretical and social backgrounds and their impact on elitist and popular Jewish practice. One class meeting every week will be devoted to readings in the Zohar, a classic work of the medieval Kabbala. Class of 2007 and earlier: Dist: PHR; WCult: EU. Class of 2008 and later: Dist: TMV: WCult: W. Benor.

70. Topics in Jewish Thought

Not offered in the period from 05F through 07S

80. Seminar in Jewish Studies

07W: 10A

In 07W, Advanced Topics on Holocaust Historiography (Identical to History 95). 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.