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New Undergraduate Course Supplement 2020


JWST 13 Jews and Race

The question of Jewish difference has been foundational in the formation of both Christendom and Islam. Of course, the question of race, and the racialization of the Jews, is often thought to be modern phenomenon when Race Science became prominent in the nineteenth century. But lately scholars have begun to re-think the category of race in connection with modernity and to reconsider race as a construct that extends back at least into the Middle Ages.

This course will look at the long historical trajectory of Jews and race, beginning in the Middle Ages and focusing primarily on European modernity, America, including the complex alliance of Jews and Blacks from slavery to BLM, the role of race in the Israeli/Palestinian conflict and the rise of Islamophobia. The goal of this course is to better understand the nature of Jews as a genos/race/ethos/people as they are labeled by others as well as how they self-identify. Jews identified as a “race,” and were identified as such by others, until the 1930s, after which ethnos served as a substitute. The question of “whiteness” loomed large for Jews in America; are Jews white, and if so, what are the implications of their “whiteness”? Finally, we will explore more recent iterations of this vexing issue in contemporary politics that includes “Jews of Color,” Zionism, Israel/Palestine, conversion to Judaism, and progressive politics in America.

Distributive and/or World Culture

Dist:INT or TMV; WCult:W

The Timetable of Class Meetings contains the most up-to-date information about a course. It includes not only the meeting time and instructor, but also its official distributive and/or world culture designation. This information supersedes any information you may see elsewhere, to include what may appear in this ORC/Catalog or on a department/program website. Note that course attributes may change term to term therefore those in effect are those (only) during the term in which you enroll in the course.