JUDAIC 387 - History of American Jews
Section: 001
Term: FA 2018
Subject: Judaic Studies (JUDAIC)
Department: LSA Judaic Studies
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:

Jews today are one of the most visible minorities in the United States: college educated, high income, steadfast supporters of the Democratic party. But it wasn’t always this way. How did a poor immigrant group become American and how did they manage to stay Jewish at the same time?

This course explores a series of overlapping questions. How should American Jews be understood: As an American minority group? a dissenting non-Christian religious group? an immigrant and ethnic group? as a privileged white group? a cultural group? Employing the visual and aural dimensions of Jewish culture, including film, photography, music, and television along with readings in original documents and historical texts, the course suggests that studying American Jews challenges accepted interpretations of American history. Why for example, does the Jewish American poet Emma Lazarus’s sonnet “The New Colossus” adorn the Statue of Liberty? Why did the deaths of so many Jewish and Italian working women in Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire dramatically change labor laws in the U.S.?

Course Requirements:

No prior knowledge of Jewish or American history is required. The course requirements will include a mix of diverse writing assignments, from short blog posts to medium length reflections on texts, to one long term paper focused on newspaper sources. There will also be a prepared midterm and final exam. Students will gain insight into the many ways in which Jews shaped American culture, politics, and economy from the 18th to the 21st century.

Intended Audience:

Students from freshmen to seniors are welcome.

Class Format:

Although structured as a lecture course, regular time will be set aside for discussion in addition to section discussion

JUDAIC 387 - History of American Jews
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
TuTh 11:30AM - 1:00PM
002 (DIS)
W 9:00AM - 10:00AM
003 (DIS)
W 10:00AM - 11:00AM
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