HIST 433
Colonialism and the Jews
Last Offered Fall 2022
Division II Writing Skills Difference, Power, and Equity
Cross-listed JWST 433
This course is not offered in the current catalog

Class Details

Where are Jews in colonial history? Where is colonialism in Jewish history? In many ways, these questions haunt contemporary Jewish and often world politics. Indeed, in the twenty-first century, the relationship between Jews and colonialism has been present in debates about Zionism, the history of capitalism, Jewish-Muslim relations, the wider Middle East, the future of European identity, the aims and roots of American empire, and the intersections of race and religion in colonial domination. And yet, typically, the subject of Jews and colonialism is more polemicized or avoided than probed. This course will seek to address this lacunae by introducing students to new historical scholarship that has begun tracing these questions. Students will consider the ways in which imperial legal forms, economic structures, and cultural and intellectual underpinnings shaped Jewish lives from the British antipodes to French North Africa, and throughout the Russian and Ottoman Empires, as well as in metropolitan Europe. Among other issues, we will ask: How did Jews become defined and define themselves in the colonial venture? In their various roles in colonial empires, are Jews best understood as subjects or agents of empire or are there more fruitful ways to conceptualize their engagement? What was the impact of anti-colonial struggles on modern Jewish politics and historical development? The course will approach this topic thematically rather than as a comprehensive survey. By introducing students to some of the key debates in this emerging field, we will consider what it takes to construct a successful historical argument and how to engage critically with works in an emerging field. A semester-long writing project will expand students capacities to pose thoughtful historical questions; conduct research and gather compelling evidence; read deeply and critically; carefully assess evidence; and write inquiry-based essays.
The Class: Format: seminar
Limit: 15
Expected: 15
Class#: 1408
Grading: yes pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: Class participation; brief weekly writing on the readings; a final research paper written in stages, including two "research updates" ; an analysis of a source; a research proposal; a rough draft of one paper section; a rough draft of the paper; and a final 25-page paper.
Prerequisites: None; open to all students (however, a background in European history and/or Jewish Studies will be helpful).
Enrollment Preferences: Junior and Senior History Majors and Jewish Studies Concentrators
Distributions: Division II Writing Skills Difference, Power, and Equity
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
JWST 433 Division II HIST 433 Division II
WS Notes: Before each course, students will submit a 2-3 paragraph critique and a list of 3 questions for discussion. The final assignment will be a research paper (approximately 25 pages) or historiographical essay. Assignments en route to the final deadline, include: 1) two early "research updates" to document process and progress; 2) analysis of a source; 3) research proposal; 4) rough draft of a section; 5) draft of paper; 6) final paper. Only some work will graded, but all will receive feedback.
DPE Notes: This course considers the complex ways that religion, ethnicity and national identities shaped the colonial and post-colonial world. Never controlling or collectively representing a European power, Jews were also rarely situated at the bottom of any colonial hierarchy, sometimes occupying more than one social or political role in a single colonial territory. This course provides insight into the many ways hierarchies of power could operate in colonial and post-colonial settings.
Attributes: HIST Group C Electives - Europe and Russia
JWST Capstone Course

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