Division II; Difference, Power, and Equity;
Cross-listed as JWST249 / REL249
This course will investigate intellectual traditions, political movements, and cultural objects that portray Jews, Jewishness, or Judaism as essentially pernicious. We will analyze materials from a variety of times and places, including the ancient world, the medieval period, and the present day. We will assess the impact of anti-Semitism on the lives of Jews and non-Jews. But we will also read theoretical approaches to the study of anti-Semitism that raise key questions for our investigation. Where does the term “anti-Semitism” come from and how exactly should it be defined? Is anti-Semitism a continuous phenomenon that connects every claim of Jewish perniciousness, wherever it is alleged, for over two thousand years of human history? Or should every context be treated as fundamentally distinct, so that the claim of Jewish perniciousness is presumed to have a distinct meaning, origin, and purpose in each case? What motivates charges of Jewish perniciousness? What are the particular threats typically alleged to be posed by Jews, Jewishness, and Judaism? How do constructions of Jewish perniciousness fit with constructions of race, gender, ethnicity, religion, class, sexuality, and nationality in different times and places?
The Class: Type: seminar
Requirements/Evaluation: three short papers (4-5 pages), one longer final paper (6-8 pages)
Extra Info: may not be taken on a pass/fail basis; not available for the fifth course option
Enrollment Preference: Jewish Studies concentrators, Religion majors, and students who have taken JWST 203
Distributions: Division II; Difference, Power, and Equity;