J S 304M • Jewish Civ: Begin To 1492

40020 • Schofer, Jonathan
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM CMA 3.114
(also listed as HIS 306N, MES 310, R S 313M)
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This is the first half of a two-semester survey of Jewish civilization, from the origins of Ancient Israel to 1500 C.E. All materials are in English translation. The course will begin with readings from the Bible and the Ancient Near East, and at that time we will focus on the development of the civilization of the region now known as Israel or Palestine, including the complex cultural interactions of the second millennium B.C.E. We will have extensive readings from the Second Temple Period as well as classical rabbinic literature and other writings from the period known as Late Antiquity. The course will also include studies of Geonic and Medieval Judaism, including philosophy, poetry, and mystical writings.


  • First paper (5 pages): 25%
  • Second paper (5 pages): 25%
  • Final Exam: 50%

Regular attendance, careful preparation of assigned texts, and participation in class discussions are considered to be basic requirements of the course. 


  • Robert Selzer, Jewish People, Jewish Thought
  • Jack Suggs, et al, eds., The Oxford Study Bible: Revised English Bible with Apocrypha
  • Other primary sources

J S 311 • Judaism, Christianity, & Islam

40030 • Moin, A
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM GEA 114
(also listed as CTI 304, HIS 304R, ISL 311, R S 304)
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This course asks students to recognize the ethical implications of the ways we talk about religion – both our own religion (if any) and those of others. Choosing definitions for religion is an ethical choice with social, political, and civic implications; the goal of this course is to assist students in becoming self-conscious about that choice. In so doing, students will improve their ability to tolerate and reduce moral disagreements about religious beliefs and practices, something that is at the heart of practical ethics education. Specifically, the ethical issues in this course encourage students to:

• reflect on different definitions of religion, to choose which ones appeal to them, and to explore their implications

• analyze the ways in which religions form “communities of memory,” to consider in what ways these communities create boundaries that both enclose and exclude

• understand the different ways that religions have historically intersected with with politics, with science, and with culture

•consider how these intersections might influence the students’ perceptions of religion and the ways in which religion is presented in contemporary media and popular culture.


J S 363 • Jewish Folklore

40040 • Gottesman, Itzik
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM GDC 2.402
(also listed as ANT 325L, GSD 360, R S 357, REE 325)
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Course Description

Dybbuks, golems, evil eye are just some of the more well-known aspects of Jewish folklore, but this course will also examine the folklife of the Jews, their world view, their folk beliefs and fears. Call it folk religion if you will; many of these practices were dismissed by the "offical" Jewish religion as unJewish, but the "folk" persisted and eventually the practice became Judaized and accepted. The influence of the Kabbalah, Jewish mysticism, also led to the introduction of many customs.

Using literary sources, ethnographic memoirs, historical documents, films (among them "The Dybbuk" 1939), folkore collections and field trips (among them - to the oldest Austin Jewish cemetery), we will focus on what makes Jewish folklore Jewish. For example, the high literacy rate among Jews over the centuries and the people's close connection to the written word led to the development of specifically Jewish interpretations of internationally disseminated beliefs. Folklore genres -folktale, legend, folksong, folkmusic, custom, belief and, of course, Jewish humor will be included.


Grading Policy

  • Attendance, homework and class participation: 30%
  • Four short papers 30%
  • Midterm and final paper: 40%


Reading List

  • Joshua Trachternberg   Jewish Magic and Superstition
  • Joachim Neugroschel   Great Tales of Jewish Fantasy and the Occult
  • Moses Gaster    Maaseh Book
  • I. B. Singer    The Satan in Goray
  • Elizabeth Herzog/Mark Zborowski   Life is With People

J S 364 • Anti-Semitism In Hist & Lit

40050 • Hoberman, John
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM GEA 114
(also listed as C L 323, EUS 346, GSD 360)
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The origins of Western (Christian) anti-Semitism can be traced to the Gospel of St John in the New Testament, which stigmatizes the Jews as “the children of the Devil.” Anti-Semitism thus originates in the religious feud that gradually intensified between the Jewish community and the followers of Jesus Christ. The early Church Fathers denounced the Jews using the most violent language, and a pattern was established. The first part of the course consists of an examination of the Christian critique of the Jews through the Middle Ages.

The second part of the course focuses primarily on the development of an intensified anti-Semitism in Europe during the 19th and 20th centuries, culminating in the Holocaust in Europe. Literary texts by Henri de Montherlant, Somerset Maugham, Aharon Applefeld, Ernest Hemingway, and Georges Perec are used to explore the nature of anti-Semitic perspectives on the Jews as a group or “tribe.” The course covers anti-Semitic developments up to the present day.


Selected Readings:

  • Ashley Montagu, "Are 'the' Jews a Race?" in Man's Most Dangerous Myth: The Fallacy of Race (1974): 353-377.
  • Léon Poliakov, "The Fateful Summer of 1096," in The History of Anti-Semitism, Vol. 1 (1974): 41-72. 
  • Léon Poliakov, "Activated Anti-Semitism: Germany," in The History of Anti-Semitism, Vol. 1 (1974): 210-245.
  • Joshua Trachtenberg, The Devil and the Jews (1943): 11-52.
  • David I. Kertzer, "Introduction," in The Popes Against the Jews: The Vatican's Role in the Rise of Modern Anti-Semitism  (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2001): 3-21.
  • George L. Mosse, "Eighteenth-Century Foundations," "The Birth of Stereotypes," "Nation, Language, and History," in Toward the Final Solution (1978): 1-50. 
  • John M. Efron, "The Jewish Body Degenerate?" in Medicine and the German Jews: A History (2001): 105-150.
  • Maurice Fishberg, "Pathological Characteristics," in The Jews: A Study of Race and Environment (1912): 270-295.
  • Somerset Maugham, “The Alien Corn” (1931).
  • Henri de Montherlant, “A Jew-Boy Goes to War” (1926).
  • Jean-Paul Sartre, Anti-Semite and Jew (1946): 7-54.
  • Michael H. Kater, “Everyday Anti-Semitism in Prewar Nazi Germany: The Popular Bases” (1984): 129-159.



  • Examination #1  — 20% of grade
  • Examination #2 — 20% of final grade
  • Paper #1 (4 pages) — 10% of final grade
  • Paper #2 (4 pages) — 10% of final grade
  • Paper #3 (10 pages) — 40% of final grade

J S 364 • Intro To The Holocaust

40055 • Lichtenstein, Tatjana
Meets MWF 3:00PM-4:00PM WEL 2.304
(also listed as EUS 346, HIS 362G, REE 335)
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Please note: “Introduction to the Holocaust” is an upper-division history course with an intensive reading and writing component.


This course on the Holocaust examines the mass killing of Jews and other victims in the context of Nazi Germany’s quest for race and space during World War II.  Using sources that illuminate victim experiences, perpetrator perspectives, and bystander responses, we investigate the Nazi racial state, the experiments in mass killing, the establishment of a systematic genocidal program, collaboration and complicity, resistance and rescue, as well as the memory of the Holocaust in western culture. 


Doris Bergen, War and Genocide: A Concise History of the Holocaust (3rd edition)

Thomas Blatt, From the Ashes of Sobibor: A Story of Survival

Marion Kaplan, Between Dignity and Despair: Jewish Life in Nazi Germany

Lianna Millu, Smoke over Birkenau

Gitta Sereny, Into that Darkness: An Examination of Conscience


Attendance and Participation: 20%

Tests incl. final exam: 35%

Essays: 45%

J S 365 • Holocaust Aftereffects

40070 • Bos, Pascale
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM BUR 234
(also listed as C L 323, LAH 350, WGS 340)
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The events of the Holocaust changed Western culture in fundamental ways. Not only was a great part of Jewish culture in Europe destroyed, the circumstances of the Nazi genocide as a modern, highly rationalized, efficient form of mass murder which took place in the heart of civilized Europe changed the conception of the progress of modernity and the Enlightenment in fundamental ways. This course explores the historical, political, psychological, theological, and cultural fall-out, as well as literary and cinematic responses in Europe and the U.S. to these events as they first became known, and as one moved further away from it in time and came to understand its pronounced and often problematic after effects. Central to our inquiry is the realization that the events of the Holocaust have left indelible traces in European and U.S. culture and culture production, of which a closer look (first decade by decade, then moving on to a number of themes and questions), reveals profound insights into current day culture, politics, and society.

Required Texts:

Levi and Rothberg, The Holocaust: Theoretical Readings; Art Spiegelman, Maus I ⅈ Ruth Klüger, Still Alive: a Girlhood Remembered; Primo Levi, Survival in Auschwitz;  Elie Wiesel, Night; Additional  course packet

Films: Nuit et Brouillard; Holocaust (excerpts); Shoah (excerpts); Schindler's List (excerpt)

Grading Policy

Attendance/participation 15%

Response papers (2) 10%

Class presentation 10%

Presentation paper 15%

Midterm exam 20%

Final research paper 30% (proposal, bibliography, outline + 1st, 5% each, paper: 15%)

J S 365 • Rep Of Jews Amer Pub Sphere

40065 • Seriff, Suzanne
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM SAC 4.118
(also listed as ANT 325L, R S 346)
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This course will critically examine how Jews have been represented and constituted in American public culture--as race, religion and/or nation-- through distinct institutions and display practices such as world's fairs, museum exhibits, photographic displays, immigration stations, and public/private spaces of home, leisure and work. We will focus especially on the ways in which distinct events and exhibitions constitute a particular image of the "Jew" in American diasporic life by way of an exhibitionary logic that dictates the way objects or subjects are classified, their arrangement in space, their status as art or artifact, their contextualization, their animation and mode of display. We also pay attention to specific moments in American public history when these "agencies of display" were used in the service of nation-building to forward distinct--and often competing--notions of Jews in American life as both "curiosities, freaks or archeological specimens" on the one had, or enthusiastic embracers of the American assimilationist dream, on the other. Students will have the opportunity to participate directly in creating and/or critiquing this process of cultural production--either through original field research of a local exhibitionary site; planning and designing a specific mode of display; or providing a critical analysis of an historic example of this production. This class includes two museum field trips to explore exhibits in which Jews are represented in very different "exhibitionary complexes".



  • Papers (2 x 25%)
  • Final Research / Performative Project (25%)
  • Class Participation / Attendance (25%)
  • Attendance (10%)
  • Online Comments (5%)
  • Pop Quizzes (5%)
  • Lead Class (5%)



Edward Lowenthal. 1997: Preserving Memory: The Making of the Holocaust Memorial Museum. Penguin Books

Frederic Brenner: Jews, America: A Representation / photographs by Frederic Brenner; with an essay by Simon Schama (note: arrangements will be made to have this book available for students so that they will not be required to buy the text)

Qurantine! Eastern European Jewish Immigrants and the New York City Epidemics of 1892

Susan L. Braunstein and Jenna Weissman Joselit 1990. Getting Comfortable in New York: The American Jewish Home, 1880-1950. The Jewish Museum (or BKG article in this volume: Kitchen Judaism)

Ivan Davidson Kalmar and Derek Johathan Penslar. 2004. Orientalism and the Jews. Hanover; University Press of New England.

Course Packet: Representations of Jews in American Public Culture