HISTORY 195 - The Writing of History
Section: 001 Jewish Communities in Transition: German Jewry in the Age of Emancipation, 1800-1900
Term: WN 2008
Subject: History (HISTORY)
Department: LSA History
Requirements & Distribution:
Other Course Info:
This course may not be included in a History concentration. F.
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:

This class will introduce students to some of the central issues in German-Jewish history during the age of emancipation. This was a period of profound transformation for the Jews of Germany, not merely with respect to their political and socio-economic status, but also with respect to their self-perception and self-understanding. Over the course of the 1800s many Jews renegotiated questions about their own identity as Jews in Germany, about the role of gender, and about the place of religion. By taking a close look at primary and secondary sources, we will explore how and why German Jewry transformed from a small and predominantly rural minority in the late eighteenth century to one of the most highly acculturated urban communities of Europe by the 1890s.

This first-year seminar will also introduce students to methods of historical analysis and prepare you for college-level writing. Writing is a skill that you will need long after this term is over and for whatever path in life you might choose to take. This course will help you develop your reading and writing skills through a variety of assignments, ranging from the close-reading of a primary source (an article, poem, or image) and the construction of a convincing argument, to the composing and revising of analytical papers (response papers, book reviews, and essays). The focus of this course, in other words, is on the process of writing history, and we’ll practice this skill within the context of the Jewish-German experience. Critical thinking, close-reading, and writing about the events in German-Jewish history are thus closely intertwined.

No background in Jewish history required.

You will be expected to write three papers, each of which will ask you to evaluate primary source material and to relate these to the secondary readings and class discussions. Additionally, to get into the habit of writing, there will be regular in-class writing assignments. We will devote substantial class time to discuss how best to organize your papers, how to construct a clear and convincing argument, and how to use your source material. For the third paper you will hand in a draft, which we will discuss during my office hours and which you will revise into a final product during the last weeks of the semester.

HISTORY 195 - The Writing of History
Schedule Listing
001 (REC)
WF 1:00PM - 2:30PM
002 (REC)
MW 1:00PM - 2:30PM
003 (REC)
MW 2:30PM - 4:00PM
004 (REC)
MW 4:00PM - 5:30PM
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