J S 304N • Jewish Civ: 1492 To Present

39760 • Bodian, Marion
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM GAR 1.126
(also listed as EUS 306, HIS 306N, R S 313N)
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This is the second half of a two-semester survey of Jewish civilization. It begins with a brief discussion of Jewish history from earliest times, but focuses on the period from Spain’s Expulsion of the Jews in 1492 to the present. We will examine the major movements of Jews within an expanding diaspora, the impact of the Reformation, the changing attitudes to Jews, the breakdown of traditional authority in Jewish communities and the trend toward secularization. It will deal with the following transformative events: the rise of eastern European Jewry, the spread of kabbalah (a form of mysticism), the entry of Jews into a capitalist economy, Hassidism, Jewish Enlightenment (Haskalah), emancipation, modern antisemitism, Zionism, Jews in the Muslim world, the rise American Jewry, the Holocaust, the establishment of the State of Israel, and the Arab-Israeli conflict. The thematic core of the course will be the concepts of exile and return – their various meanings and interpretations over time, in a variety of historical contexts.

Eli Barnavi, A Historical Atlas of the Jewish People: From the Time of the Patriarchs to the Present. 

Paul Mendes-Flohr and Jehuda Reinharz, eds., The Jew in the Modern World: A Documentary History.


Two quizzes (20%), first mid-term (20%), second mid-term (20%), final exam (40%).

J S 311 • Amer Jews: The Yiddish Exp

39790 • Gottesman, Itzik
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM GDC 2.402
(also listed as AMS 315, GSD 310, R S 316K)
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Topic 9 

Course Description: Using literature, film and critical essays this course will examine the immigrant Jewish experience namely the Jews who came to the United States from Eastern Europe beginning in the late 19th century. We will study in particular the culture of the immigrants and the influence they had on American history and popular culture (for example: tin pan alley, garment industry, worker's unions, Hollywood, television and Jewish humor). The language that these Jews brought with them was Yiddish and we will look at the Yiddish theater in American, the press, literature, Yiddish films. But no knowledge of Yiddish is required. Other topics include Jews in smaller communities (including Galveston).

Textbooks: These books will be available for purchase at the University Coop. 

  •  World of our Fathers by Irving Howe
  • Jews Without Money Michael Gold
  • Bread Givers  novel by Anzia Yezierska
  • Yekl  novel by Abraham Cahan

There will be no packet but articles assigned on Canvas.

Grading: There will be two short papers (3 - 4 pages) 30% of grade, and a longer paper (8 - 10 pages)  40% of grade, attendance and participation 30%.


J S 311 • Comparative Religious Ethics

39765 • Schofer, Jonathan
Meets MWF 9:00AM-10:00AM GAR 3.116
(also listed as R S 306C)
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Comparative Religious Ethics
Spring 2018
Meets MWF 9:00AM-10:00AM GAR 3.116

The aim of this course is to examine and contemplate ideas about right and wrong, good and bad, excellent and corrupt as they are expressed in different religious traditions and across cultures. We will examine three different approaches to ethics and religion in a globalized world: a foundational set of methods in religious ethics, a more specific approach to comparative religious ethics centered on stories, and an account of justice for international and cross-cultural contexts addressing disparities in wealth and power. Students will learn to adjudicate and assess religions claims regarding what is good and right, differences across religious traditions, foundational narratives of religions, and the grounds for justice. Topics include war and peace, inequalities in wealth and income, leadership, and more.

Texts: (available at the University Co-Op Bookstore):
Fasching and DeChant, Comparative Religious Ethics: A Narrative Approach to Global Ethics (2nd edition)
Markham, Do Morals Matter? A Guide to Contemporary Religious Ethics (Wiley Publishing)
Sen, The Idea of Justice

Three short papers, 2 pages each; each 15% of the course grade (45% total)
Midterm exam, closed-book, in-class (25%)
Final Exam, closed book, in-class (15%)
Class Participation (15%)

J S 311 • Ethnc Humor/Multiculturl US

39777 • Gottesman, Itzik
Meets MWF 10:00AM-11:00AM PAR 1
(also listed as AFR 317D, AMS 315, MAS 319)
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What is meant by Jewish humor? African-American humor? This course will examine ethnic jokes from a variety of perspectives: sociological, psychological, folkloric and literary. We will explore racial and ethnic stereotypes in popular culture which serve as the basis for much of the humor. Among the questions we will address is: how do jokes migrate and change from one ethnic group to another?  What makes a joke funny and what makes a good joke teller, from the amateur to the professional comic? How do today's comics differ from previous generations? In addition to our readings we will screen weekly comedic material in film, TV and the web. 


  • Freud, Sigmund, The Joke and its Relation to the Unconscious
  • Watkins, Mel. On the Real Side: A History of African American Comedy. Chicago: Chicago Review Press.
  • Davies, Christie   Ethnic Humor around the World: A Comparative Analysis
  • Mahadev Apte, Humor and Laughter: An Anthropological Approach (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press

J S 311 • Israel/Lat Am/Jewish Diaspora

39769 • Grossman, Jonathan
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM CLA 0.108
(also listed as LAS 310, MES 310)
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In this course we will explore the relationship between the State of Israel, the Latin American countries, and Jewish organizations, groups, and individuals in Latin America and elsewhere. In spite of Latin America’s geographical remoteness from the Middle East, extremely cordial relations have existed between Israel and most Latin American countries since Israel’s independence in 1948, and in some cases to these very days. A major reason for this cordiality has been the large and wealthy Jewish diaspora in Latin America, whose members generally belong to the middle and upper classes of their respective countries and often exercise considerable influence over their governments’ foreign policies. However, in the 1960s and 1970s, relations between Israel and many Latin American countries soured as a result of the Arab-Israeli conflict and Israel’s kidnapping of the Nazi war criminal Adolph Eichmann from Buenos Aires. Jewish Latin Americans reacted to this new state of affairs, and were affected by it, in various ways.

Throughout the year/semester we will examine this “triangular relationship” from various angles, from the pre-state period until the twenty-first century. When talking about the “World Jewry,” most people think of the Jewish diaspora in the United States or Western Europe. In this course we will get to know other Jewish diasporas whose characteristics, and the nature of their relations with Israel, are considerably different. We will especially focus on Israel’s relations with the largest Latin American countries with the largest Jewish populations – Brazil, Argentina, and Mexico – but smaller countries and diasporas will be discussed as well. We will read and analyze not only research articles but also primary sources – press articles, diplomatic correspondence, and Jewish archival documents, written in English or translated into it – in order to get a better notion of how Jewish and non-Jewish Israeli and Latin American contemporaries viewed this triangular relationship.

J S 311 • Israel: Space/Place/Landscape

39770 • Weinreb, Amelia
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM MEZ 2.122
(also listed as ANT 310L, MES 310)
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This multidisciplinary, interactive seminar is designed to foster conversation and creative projects between students with interests in Jewish studies, Middle Eastern studies, anthropology, and cultural geography. Diverse accounts--ranging from critical spatial theory and landscape phenomenology, to histories of Zionist architecture and urban planning--expose students to the spectrum of perceptions and debates on Israel’s spatial forms from the Yishuv period to the present. Some of the questions we address throughout course are: How is culture spatialized? What is the relationship between landscape, culture and memory? How do various social actors in Israel experience public spaces, holy sites, monuments and borders? What do various spatial narratives and maps reveal, conceal, or distort? A core goal of the course is to understand course materials through active participation, an alternative to the standard lecture-and-exam format. With this goal in mind, group projects, in-class workshops and individual portfolios challenge students to illustrate not only what they have learned, but also how they can apply their newly acquired knowledge in a variety of formats. The course is designed to appeal to students who want to experience a collaborative learning environment, gain a set of multidisciplinary analytic skills, learn about social and geographical space in Israel, and interact with students who may have different disciplinary and political viewpoints.

Note: This course carries a Global Cultures Flag. Global Cultures courses are designed to increase your familiarity with cultural groups outside the United States. Therefore, your course assignments cover the practices, beliefs, and histories of a non-U.S. cultural group, past and present in this case, groups living in Israel.

J S 311 • Judaism, Christianity, & Islam

39780 • Smith, Geoffrey
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM RLM 6.104
(also listed as CTI 304, HIS 304R, ISL 311, R S 304)
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This course will focus on the three related traditions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, which originated in the "near east" and today have a global reach.  These religions are sometimes called "Abrahamic traditions" as they all claim a special relationship with the Biblical figure, Abraham.  We will explore the historical development, belief systems, practices, sacred texts, and cultural influences of these three traditions, independently and in relation to each other.  by the end of the course, you can expect to have a basic understanding pf the essential characteristics of each tradition and the way they manifest in different cultural contexts in the past and present.  This class will also provide an introduction to the field of religious studies by exposing students to some of the interdisciplinary methods used to understand religion as a central component of human culture.  These methods include, but are not limited d to: historical methods, the study of ritual, and the analysis of ideas. 

J S 311 • The Rise Of Christianity

39785 • White, L
Meets MWF 11:00AM-12:00PM FAC 21
(also listed as C C 318, CTI 310, R S 318)
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Topic 3 - The Rise of Christianity  is an introduction to the origins and development of Christianity.

J S 363 • Abraham & Abrahamic Religion

39800 • Kaplan, Jonathan
Meets MWF 11:00AM-12:00PM WAG 208
(also listed as MEL 321, MES 342, R S 353)
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Abraham and Abrahamic Religions

 The biblical character Abraham is considered to be the father of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam by each religion’s adherents. How did Abraham become “Father Abraham?” Why does each of these three communities claim to be the people of Abraham exclusively? The primary aims of this course are to explore how Abraham is presented in the book of Genesis and how each of these religions transforms Abraham into a key figure of their tradition. After examining the figures of Abraham, his wife Sarah, and his sons Ishmael and Isaac in Genesis 12–25, the remainder of the course will consist of exploring how Judaism, Christianity, and Islam each retell the story of Abraham and his family. We will take note of the interpretive strategies employed by each tradition as it utilizes the story of Abraham in constructing a communal narrative of chosenness. Some attention will be paid to how participants in contemporary inter-religious dialogue approach the figure of Abraham. This course requires no prior exposure to biblical literature or Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.


J S 363 • Jewish/Hebrew/Israeli Theater

39805 • Horovitz, Roy
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM WIN 2.112
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Please check back for updates.

J S 364 • Germany Since Hitler

39810 • Crew, David
Meets MWF 2:00PM-3:00PM GAR 0.132
(also listed as HIS 350L)
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This seminar will analyze the effects of Hitler’s dictatorship upon German society, politics, economy and culture. It will explore the consequences of defeat, occupation, the Cold War and the political division of Germany after 1945. It will also compare and contrast the history and development of East and West Germany in the years between 1949 and 1989. Finally, the course will examine some of the consequences and prospects created by the fall of the Berlin wall in 1989 and the unification of East and West Germany in 1990.

(Books marked with * are available as electronic resources from the UT-Library system at no charge with your UT-EID. Please feel free to read these materials on-line if you prefer.)
*David F. Crew, editor, Nazism and German Society, 1933-1945(London and New York,1995)
Primo Levi, Survival in Auschwitz
*Edit Scheffer, Burned Bridge.How East and West Germany Made the Iron Curtain(Oxford, 2012)
Hanna Schissler,editor, The Miracle Years. A Cultural History of West Germany 1949-1968(Princeton,2001)
Katherine Pence and Paul Betts, editors, Socialist Modern.East German Everyday Culture and Politics(Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press, 2008).
*David F. Crew, editor, Consuming Germany in the Cold War(Oxford and New York: Berg, 2003)
Peter  Schneider, The Wall Jumper. A Berlin Story (Chicago,1983)
We will also be working intensively with documents and images on this Website

This is a substantial writing component course. You will be required to write three critical essays to write two critical essays  (6-8 pages each) which analyze the problems posed by selected readings from the above assigned reading list (each of these three essays is worth  30% of your final grade). In addition, you are each required to give in-class reports on two different images from the Website, “German History in Documents and Images” http://germanhistorydocs.ghi-dc.org/home.cfm . Each of these assignments counts for 10% of your final grade. Class attendance and participation count for 20 per cent of your final grade. I will be using the full range of +/- grades.

J S 364 • The Dead Sea Scrolls

39820 • Kaplan, Jonathan
Meets MWF 10:00AM-11:00AM PAR 201
(also listed as AHC 330, CTI 375, HIS 364G, MEL 321, MES 342, R S 353D)
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Dead Sea Scrolls

For almost seventy years, the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls has influenced significantly our understanding of Second Temple Judaism, the formation of the Bible, and the origins of the religious movements of Christianity and Rabbinic Judaism. This course presents an in-depth study of the Dead Sea Scrolls in order to understand better the development of law, interpretation, ritual, messianism, apocalypticism, and prayer in the late Second Temple period. This course will include discussion of the archaeology of the Qumran community, textual production and transmission in antiquity, scribal practices in antiquity, and pseudonymous authorship.

J S 365 • Jewish Cuba

39825 • Weinreb, Amelia
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM PAR 103
(also listed as ANT 325L, LAS 324L, R S 366)
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Cuba has a small Jewish community (between 1,000-1,500) whose origins are presumed to date back to 1492. By some accounts, the contemporary community is dying, and by others, it is vibrant. No matter the assessment, it is a community that has been written about and analyzed disproportionately for its size. As noted Cuban-American Jewish anthropologist Ruth Behar has proposed, Jewish Cuba presents the challenge of focusing on a small community to understand large philosophical and cultural issues: Diaspora, preserving identity in hybridized social worlds, and the concept of home. In learning about Jewish Cuba, students of are not only exposed to a nationally-specific case study in Jewish Latin America, but have the opportunity to study the relationship between state politics and Jewish life, Judaism under communist regimes, religious and linguistic revitalization movements, migration, and cultural survival. To explore these themes and concepts, this course uses scholarly texts and ethnographic accounts, but also personal memoirs, films, photographs, and documentaries about Jewish Cuba.

Core questions we address in the course are: What is Home? What is Diaspora? What is Revolution?  How do we write about it?