REL 249
Anti-Semitism Spring 2022
Division II Difference, Power, and Equity
Cross-listed JWST 249 / REL 249

Class Details

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: Format: seminar
Limit: 30
Expected: 18
Class#: 3702
Grading: no pass/fail option, no fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: three short papers (4-5 pages), one longer final paper (6-8 pages)
Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preferences: Jewish Studies concentrators, Religion majors, and students who have taken JWST 203
Distributions: Division II Difference, Power, and Equity
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
JWST 249 Division II REL 249 Division II
DPE Notes: This course will introduce students to discursive, institutional, and social structures that have organized the stigmatization, domination, and persecution of Jews in various geographic locations for over two thousand years. An understanding of these structures is crucial to understanding contemporary dynamics of difference and power. Students will also learn how anti-Semitism intersects with constructions of race, gender, class, religion, ethnicity, and nation.
Attributes: JWST Core Electives

Class Grid

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