Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Jewish Studies SPRING 2017 courses: Do we have courses for nearly every interest? Yes we do!

SPRING 2017      Jewish Studies and Related Courses


Elementary Hebrew 2
Haya Feig
JS 0014    
 MTWThF 10-10:50 (5 credits)
Intermediate Hebrew 4
Haya Feig
JS 0025
MWF  11-11:50
Biblical Hebrew
Haya Feig
JS 0037
TTh  11-12:15 (5 credits)
è  e-mail feig@pitt.edu for info on Hebrew courses and placement

Introduction to Yiddish Language and Literature
David Schlitt
JS  0040 /GER 0033
Th 6-8:20 pm
Israel in the Biblical Age
Benjamin Gordon
JS 1100/HIST 1765/RELGST 1100
MWF 11-11:50  Gen-Ed: Foreign Culture/Reg
Jerusalem: History and Imagination
Benjamin Gordon
JS 1160/HIST 1779/HAA 1105/RELGST 1160
MW 3-4:15  Gen-Ed: Foreign Culture/Reg  OR Historical Change
Religion, Nature, and the Environment
Benjamin Gordon
TTh 9:30-10:45   Gen-Ed : Foreign Culture/Com
Jews and Judaism in the Modern World
Rachel Kranson
JS 1250/HIST 1767/RELGST 1250
TTh 11-12:15  Gen-Ed: Historical Change
Holocaust History and Memory
Rachel Kranson
JS 1252/HIST 1769/RELGST 1252
TTh 2:30-3:45  Gen-Ed: Foreign Culture/Reg  OR Historical Change
Christians, Muslims, Jews in the Middle Ages: Connection & Conflict
Adam Shear
JS 1644/HIST 1768/RELGST 1644
TTh 9:30-10:45  Gen-Ed: Historical Change
The Historical Jesus
Tucker Ferda
JS 1645/RELGST 1645
TTh 1-2:15   Gen-Ed: Historical Change 
Inventing Israel: Zionism, Anti-Zionism, Post-Zionism
Adam Shear
JS 1681/HIST 1712/RELGST 1681
TTh 1-2:15  Gen-Ed: Historical Change
Capstone Paper for Certificate
Benjamin Gordon
JS 1901 Independent Study (3 credits)
times TBA
Internships for Credit, Research Assistantships, Teaching Assistantships, Directed Research:  http://www.jewishstudies.pitt.edu/undergraduate/independent.php for opportunities or email: bdg36@pitt.edu  for more information about internships and research opportunities.
JS 1900,1902,
1904, 1905
1-4 credits


Yiddish Language and Literature
For hundreds of years, the majority of Jewish life happened in Yiddish. On the eve of World War II, eleven million Jews spoke this rich, Slavic-infused Germanic language. After undergoing the demographic devastation of the Holocaust and experiencing marginalization of all kinds, Yiddish has survived as a linguistic chain that connects modern diaspora Jewry to centuries of Jewish civilization and culture. Yiddish is key to some of the most exciting creative and cultural developments happening in Jewish life today. This course will serve as a lively introduction to Yiddish language and culture. By the end of the course, students will have the reading proficiency to work with basic Yiddish texts, and will be able to understand and conduct simple conversations. Students will learn the basics of Yiddish grammar and will be conversant in Yiddish culture, both past and present.

Israel in the Biblical Age
This course explores the history and development of the people of Israel in ancient times. What do we know about the Israelites and how do we know it? Students will read both biblical and extra-biblical materials and study the remains of key archaeological sites. They will learn about everyday life in ancient Israel, the role of class and gender, life-cycle events, religious festivals, political institutions, systems of belief, and famous personages in history and lore. The trajectory of the course will begin with the Near Eastern origins of the people, continue through the rise of the Israelite and Judahite monarchies, and end with the post-exilic reestablishment of the Second Temple commonwealth in the Persian period.

Jerusalem: History and Imagination
The holy city of Jerusalem is at the heart of the Western religious imagination and of contemporary political conflict in the Middle East. Traditionally it has been a center of religious pilgrimage, home to Israelite kings and Islamic caliphs. Today it is a cutting-edge urban center marked by stunning demographic diversity, a rapidly expanding economy, and an intractable political crisis. In this course, we will examine the history of the city—from its earliest days to today—with an eye toward its religious significance in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Special attention will be given to Jerusalem’s changing urban fabric: its architecture, neighborhoods, natural resources, economy, and religious institutions.

Religion, Nature, and the Environment
When is religion good for the environment? When is it not? In this course, students will become acquainted with how religious traditions throughout the world have addressed specific ecological problems. They will explore ways in which religious institutions are an important organizational hub in struggles for environmental justice. After a survey of approaches to the natural world, students will focus on themes such as garden spiritualties, gendered Nature reverence, and eco-justice. They will also acquire the skills to assess the scripturally inspired indifference—or even antagonism—to environmental science, and the long shadow it has cast on the global economy.

Jews and Judaism in the Modern World
What is a “secular Jew?” How was medieval anti-Judaism different than modern anti-Semitism? How did German Jews go from being full citizens of their country to victims of genocide? What was the relationship between Middle Eastern Jews and European Jews during the age of colonialism? Why did some Jews think it necessary to build a nation of their own, while others were content to be citizens of non-Jewish states? In this course, we discuss these and other questions that are critically important not only to the history of Jews, but also to the history of the modern world.

Holocaust History and Memory
The Holocaustthat is, the genocide of six million Jews in Nazi-Occupied Europe during World War IIwas a critical event of the early twentieth century that continues to resonate today. Our historical survey looks at the Holocaust primarily through the experiences of its Jewish victims, though we discuss some of the other groups, such as the Roma, disabled people, and gay men, who were also targeted and systematically murdered by the Nazis. Additionally, we think about the perpetrators of the Holocaust and the ideologies that led to the genocide, such as racism, nationalism, and anti-Semitism. Finally, we move beyond the history of the Holocaust to think about the ways that this event has been remembered and reconstructed by survivors, nations, institutions, museums, the arts, popular culture, and the media. Looking at how institutions here in Pittsburgh commemorate the Holocaust offers us local, concrete examples of how people continue to grapple with this history.

Christians, Muslims, and Jews in the Middle Ages: Connection and Conflict
Was the world of Europe and the Middle East before the Enlightenment a period of unending religious conflict and intolerance?  Were Jews the victims of severe persecution and violence everywhere during this period?  Did Christians and Muslims engage in unceasing religious wars? The answer to all three of these questions is no. While the Middle Ages were a period of conflict and competition between the three major western religious groups, they were also a time of coexistence and cooperation. This class shifts from extreme dichotomies and simplistic stereotypes to deeply examine the period in all of its complexity: what were the theological, political, and legal contexts in which Christians, Muslims, and Jews interacted in both Christian Europe and the Muslim world?  How did these deeply religious societies organize themselves to tolerate the religious “Other”?  When and why did toleration break down and lead to expulsion, forced conversion, or violence?  What kinds of cross-cultural exchanges and cooperation take place in economic, cultural, intellectual, and social life?  We will also look at new ideas of toleration (and intolerance) that emerged at the end of the Middle Ages and examine aspects of inter-religious encounters and dialogues today.  We will discuss not only the significance of Jewish-Christian-Muslim interactions in the Middle Ages but also assess these encounters as a case study in the broader history of religious diversity, pluralism, and conflict.

The Historical Jesus
It comes as a surprise to most people to learn that there is actually very little agreement among historians about who Jesus of Nazareth really was and what he intended to accomplish. This class explores critical research on the historical Jesus and the important primary sources and methodologies that are used to reconstruct his public career. Did he claim to be the Messiah, or perhaps more? Why did he call disciples, and what did he teach them? How can we explain how early Christians reflected on Jesus after his crucifixion? This course attempts to situate Jesus in his first century Jewish and Greco-Roman contexts, and to hear his message afresh in that time and place.

Inventing Israel: Zionism, Anti-Zionism, and Post-Zionism
How did the modern nation-state of Israel emerge against backdrop of a wide range of different views of nationalism among 19th- and early 20th-century Jews?  Why did some Jews support the idea of a Jewish state and others oppose it? In this course, we will study the origins and development of Zionism as a form of modern Jewish nationalism, the emergence of different Zionist ideological streams, and non-Zionist, anti-Zionist, and post-Zionist views of Jews and non-Jews. We will also explore 
Zionism as a case study of relations of religion and nationalism in modernity.


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