REL 289 Spring 2013 Exile, Homecoming and the Promised Land (D) (W)

Cross Listed as JWST491, COMP309
In terms of vocabulary and metaphor, the Jewish experience of exile pervades modern, western discourse on the experience of being alienated, severed, and separated from one's national and natural homeland. Thus in this course we will take the Jewish experience of exile (galut) as our point of departure for a broader discussion of these themes as they relate to other diasporic communities. As a consequence of increased mobility, political instabilities, economic insecurity and the proliferation of means of communication, the state of Diaspora increasingly characterizes populations across the globe, from Africa, Asia, South America, and Europe. While we will not focus specifically on these communities, one of our tasks will be to discover how the Jewish experience shapes the discourse on exile and Diaspora that pervades modern discussions of displacement and emigration. We must further consider what is at stake politically and philosophically in privileging the Jewish experience, especially given the post-1948 community of Palestinian refugees. To illuminate this discussion we will draw on the literature of the Jewish tradition from the Hebrew Bible and rabbis to Twentieth Century accounts and reflections of Franz Kafka, Walter Benjamin and Emmanuel Levinas, as well as materials that reflect the voices of other refugee communities. We will then move to examine the relationship of the notion of the homeland to that of the promised land. We will consider the ambivalence in the nineteenth and twentieth century concerning discourse of blood and soil, and the consequent possibility that exile and rootlessness could signal positively.
Class Format: tutorial; meeting in pairs, each student will either write and present a paper or respond to their partner's paper
Requirements/Evaluation: each student will write and present a 5-page paper or be expected to write a 1- to 2-page critique/response to her classmate's paper each week; the final assignment will be an 8- to 10-page paper that expands on an issue or question raised in class
Additional Info:
Additional Info2:
Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preference: Religion majors
Department Notes: formerly REL 309; this course will also serve as the capstone course for senior Jewish Studies concentrators
Material and Lab Fees:
Distribution Notes: meets Division 2 requirement if registration is under REL or JWST; meets Division 1 requirement if registration is under COMP
Divisional Attributes: Division II,Exploring Diversity, Writing Intensive
Other Attributes: ARAB Arabic Studies Electives,REL Contemporary Critical Inquiry Courses
Enrollment Limit: 10
Expected Enrollment: 10
Class Number: 3685
REL289-T1(S) TUT Exile,Homecmng &Promised Land (D) (W) Division 2: Social StudiesExploring Diversity InitiativeWriting Intensive Sarah E. Hammerschlag
TBA 3685
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