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JWST 1101 : Elementary Modern Hebrew I
Crosslisted as: HEBRW 1101, HEBRW 1101 Semester offered: Fall 2018 Instructor:
Intended for beginners. Provides a thorough grounding in reading, writing, grammar, oral comprehension, and speaking. Students who complete the course are able to function in basic situations in a Hebrew-speaking environment.
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JWST 1102 : Elementary Modern Hebrew II
Crosslisted as: HEBRW 1102, HEBRW 1102 Semester offered: Spring 2019 Instructor:
Intended for beginners. Provides a thorough grounding in reading, writing, grammar, oral comprehension, and speaking. Students who complete the course are able to function in basic situations in a Hebrew-speaking environment.
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JWST 1103 : Elementary Modern Hebrew III
Crosslisted as: HEBRW 1103 Semester offered: Fall 2018 Instructor:
Sequel to HEBRW 1101-HEBRW 1102. Continued development of reading, writing, grammar, oral comprehension, and speaking skills.
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JWST 1987 : FWS: Jews on Film: Visible and Invisible
Semester offered: Fall 2018 Instructor:
Why were Jews virtually invisible in films made during the Hollywood's "golden age"? Is this a surprise, given the leading role played by American Jews in founding the studio system? Writing about the films studied in this course will help students situate and interpret the presence (and absence) of characters identifiable as Jews in Hollywood films released from 1927 until the present. We will view approximately six films outside of class and study excerpts from others. Films to be studied in whole or part may include: The Jazz Singer, The Great Dictator, Holiday Inn, The Apartment, Funny Girl, Silent Movie, Annie Hall, Yentl, Barton Fink, and A Serious Man. Students will write film analyses, review essays, reflective responses, and explorations of contextual material. Readings from film studies and popular journalism will situate these films within the historical, cultural, and industrial contexts in which they were produced.
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JWST 1987 : FWS: Jews on Film: Visible and Invisible
Semester offered: Spring 2019 Instructor:
Why were Jews virtually invisible in films produced during the Hollywood's "golden age"? Is this a surprise, given the leading role played by American Jews in founding the studio system? Writing about the films studied in this course will help students situate and interpret the presence (and absence) of characters identifiable as Jews in Hollywood films released from the silent era through the present. We will view approximately six films in their entirety and study excerpts from others. Films to be studied in whole or part may include: The Immigrant, The Jazz Singer, The Great Dictator, Casablanca, The Apartment, Funny Girl, Annie Hall, Barton Fink, and A Serious Man. Students will write film analyses, review essays, reflective responses, and explorations of contextual material. Readings from film studies and popular journalism will situate these films within the historical, cultural, and industrial contexts in which they were produced.
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JWST 2100 : Intermediate Modern Hebrew
Crosslisted as: HEBRW 2100 Semester offered: Spring 2019 Instructor:
The course is aimed at training students in exact and idiomatic Hebrew, expanding vocabulary and usage of grammatical knowledge, and acquiring facility of expression in both conversation and writing. Uses written and oral exercises built around the texts. Reading and discussion of selections from Hebrew literature and Israeli culture through the use of texts and audiovisual materials.
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JWST 2155 : The Invention of Religion
Crosslisted as: HIST 2155, RELST 2155 Semester offered: Fall 2018 Instructor:
Religion is a term with a rich history but without a precise definition. Everyone can describe a religious idea or a religious experience even though there is no agreement about what it is that makes an idea or an experience religious. How did this state of things come about? What is it that makes religion both one thing and many things? Why do we apply this concept to Christianity, Islam and Judaism and to the deep feelings we associate with secular forms of devotion and enthusiasm — for food, for love, for family, for art, for sport? In this seminar, we will discover that religion is a distinctly modern concept, developed to address the psychological and social needs of Europeans increasingly adrift from the traditional communal practices and moral commitments of their parents and grandparents. Tracing the history of "religion" — rather than the history of religions — from the age of Immanuel Kant to the age of Emmanuel Levinas, we will examine paradoxical connection between the rise of religion and the decline of faith.
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JWST 2156 : Anti-Semitism and the Making of European Jewry
Crosslisted as: HIST 2156, RELST 2156 Semester offered: Spring 2019 Instructor:
Does hatred have a history? Historians insist that Europe invented a tradition of hating Jews and Judaism; some go so far as to argue that the destruction of European Jewry during the Holocaust was the culmination of a thousand-year-old prejudice against Jewish difference, cultivated not only by cranks and lunatics at the margins of European discourse, but by great luminaries with a reputation for progressive, even radical, opinions. In fact, the cultural problem of Jewish difference was implicated in both the destruction and the creation of European Jewry. In this seminar, we will examine exemplary works of Europe's famous anti-Jewish canon — such as Paul's letter to the Romans, Luther's "On the Jews and their Lies," and Marx's "On the Jewish Question" — in order to contextualize a mythology of Jewish "otherness" that enflamed the anti-Jewish imagination even when there were few Jewish "others" around to hate. We will also look at critical moments in Jewish history marked by the appropriation of anti-Jewish arguments in the name of Jewish social discipline and moral authority. Through the prism of provocative Jewish texts such as the Crusade chronicles, Mendelssohn's Jerusalem and Pinsker's "Auto-emancipation" we will explore some of the ways in which the "enabling violation" of anti-semitism both constrained Jewish existence and liberated Jewish self-consciousness, turning Europe into a home for Judaism as well as a Jewish "hell on earth."
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JWST 2501 : Kosher and Halal Food Regulations
Crosslisted as: FDSC 2500 Semester offered: Fall 2018 Instructor:
This course explores kosher and halal food practices as a way to understand how the global food industry accommodates diverse and competing religious, cultural, and scientific approaches to food. The essential online component of the course introduces Jewish and Islamic religious law and modern religious food supervision. From diverse presenters, you'll learn about how we celebrate and struggle with food through various religious traditions, conflicting scientific claims, secular public policy choices, and cultural and spiritual practices. We'll discuss how food and eating are used for inclusion as well as exclusion by individuals, families, and groups in private and public settings where food is handled and consumed.            
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JWST 2575 : Myth and Religion in Mesopotamia
Crosslisted as: NES 2575, NES 6575, RELST 2575 Semester offered: Spring 2019 Instructor:
This course will survey the cultic practices and beliefs of ancient Babylonia and Assyria, the two major civilizations of Mesopotamia. We will examine the major myths of this region, e.g., Ishtar's Descent into the Netherworld, Etana, and Gilgamesh, in light of what they reveal about Mesopotamian religion, politics, and understanding of the afterlife. We will also examine the performance of magical rituals and incantations, methods of predicting the future, and the role of sacred marriage, prostitution, and slavery in the ancient temple.
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JWST 2580 : Imagining the Holocaust
Crosslisted as: COML 2580, ENGL 2580 Semester offered: Spring 2019 Instructor:
How is the memory of the Holocaust kept alive by means of the literary and visual imagination? Within the historical context of the Holocaust and how and why it occurred, we shall examine major and widely read Holocaust narratives that have shaped the way we understand and respond to the Holocaust. We also study ethical and psychological issues about how and why people behave in dire circumstances. We shall begin with first-person reminiscences—Wiesel's Night, Levi's Survival at Auschwitz, and The Diary of Anne Frank—before turning to realistic fictions such as Kineally's Schindler's List (and Spielberg's film), Kertesz's Fateless, Kosinski's The Painted Bird, and Ozick's "The Shawl." We shall also read the mythopoeic vision of Schwarz-Bart's The Last of the Just, the illuminating distortions of Epstein's King of the Jews, the Kafkaesque parable of Appelfeld's Badenheim 1939, and the fantastic cartoons of Spiegelman's Maus books.
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JWST 2601 : An Introduction to the Ancient Near East
Crosslisted as: NES 2601 Semester offered: Fall 2018 Instructor:
The pyramids and mummies of Egypt, the ziggurats of Babylonia, and the armies of Assyria are all part of the legacy of the ancient Near East. This course serves as a basic introduction to the history, societies, and cultures of the major civilizations of the ancient world from c. 3300-300 B.C., focusing on Egypt and Mesopotamia but including lesser-known groups such as the Hittites in Anatolia and the Elamites in Iran. Students will learn how these states were organized, how each culture related to their gods, and how they chose to be remembered, as well as many other mysteries of the ancient world.
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JWST 2644 : Introduction to Judaism
Crosslisted as: NES 2644, RELST 2644 Semester offered: Fall 2018 Instructor:
Jewish communities have been established, flourished and often struggled for millennia, throughout much of the world, and in vital contact with a vast range of other peoples and cultures. This course examines the constant and dynamic tension between that which unites Jews in all these different times and places, and that which makes every Jew a person of his or her own time and place. Our whirlwind tour will take us from ancient Israel, through Babylonia and the world of early Islam, into the medieval origins of Ashkenazi Jewry, down to Ottoman North Africa, and all the way across the Indian Ocean. We will learn how Jewish and other diaspora communities overcome challenges to maintain their distinctive identities, how to engage critically with the ways contemporary scholars the records of these far-flung communities, and how to generate their own critical questions.
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JWST 2724 : Introduction to the Hebrew Bible
Crosslisted as: NES 2724, RELST 2724 Semester offered: Fall 2018 Instructor:
The Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) is a repository of ancient Israelite religious, political, social, historical, and literary traditions. For the modern reader these ancient traditions are often obscured by a focus on the text as revelation. The purpose of this course is to introduce students to the biblical world by reading the Hebrew Bible in translation, on its own terms, as a body of literature that evolved in an ancient Near Eastern context. The Bible itself will be the primary text for the course, but students will also be exposed to the rich and diverse textual traditions of the ancient Near East, including Mesopotamia, Egypt, Moab, and Ugarit. In addition, this course will explore the impact of early biblical interpretation on shaping the monotheistic traditions inherited in the West. As participants in a secular course on the Bible, students will be challenged to question certain cultural assumptions about the composition and authorship of the Bible, and will be expected to differentiate between a text's content and its presumed meaning.
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JWST 2754 : Wondrous Literatures of the Near East
Crosslisted as: COML 2754, NES 2754 Semester offered: Fall 2018 Instructor:
This course examines Near East's rich and diverse literary heritage. We will read a selection of influential and wondrous texts from ancient to modern times, spanning geographically from the Iberian peninsula to Iran. We will trace three major threads: myths of creation and destruction; travel narratives; and poetry of love and devotion. Together we will read and discuss such ancient works as the 'Epic of Gilgamesh' and 'The Song of Songs,' as well as selections from medieval works such as the 'Travels' of Ibn Battuta, the 'Shahnameh' of Ferdowsi, poetry of Yehuda HaLevi, and The Thousand and One Nights. The modern unit will include work by Egyptian Nobel Laureate, Naguib Mahfouz. Students will also have the opportunity to research and analyze primary source materials in the collections of Cornell Rare Books and Manuscript Collection, and the Johnson Art Museum. All material is in English translation.
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JWST 2793 : Middle Eastern Cinema
Crosslisted as: COML 2293, NES 2793, PMA 2493, VISST 2193 Semester offered: Spring 2019 Instructor:
Film industries in the Middle East, as in much of the rest of the world, emerged out of efforts at the national level. In the Arab world and Israel, the film industries reflect upon struggles of self-determination. The Iranian film industry underwent significant changes following the Islamic Revolution of 1979. By viewing a range of films from the Arab world, including North Africa and the Eastern Mediterranean, as well as from Turkey, Israel, and Iran, we will consider the significance of these national rubrics and how they have shaped the work of filmmakers throughout the Middle East.   Films also reach beyond the boundaries of the nation, and so, we will consider how these films transcend national borders. On the one hand we will consider limit factors, like censorship, and the role of language and dialect on film viewership and distribution. And, on the other hand, we will consider the influence of external forces, such as the influence of foreign film markets in Europe and North America on filmmakers in the Middle East, as well as the effects of foreign financing—both from Europe and the Gulf States.  All films will be screened with English subtitles.
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JWST 3101 : Advanced Modern Hebrew: Special Topics in Hebrew
Crosslisted as: HEBRW 3101 Semester offered: Fall 2018 Instructor:
Advanced study of the Hebrew Language both orally and through the analysis of mostly unedited texts of social, political, and cultural relevance with less emphasis on the study of grammar. Students are introduced to articles published in Israeli newspapers, magazines, works by authors and movies. Students develop composition and advanced writing skills by studying language structure, idioms, and various registers of style.
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JWST 3104 : Dynamics and Changes of Israeli Culture and Language
Crosslisted as: HEBRW 3104 Semester offered: Fall 2018 Instructor:
This course focuses and explores the development and changes of Modern Hebrew in all aspects of Israeli and Jewish culture. The course is intended to continue the development of all aspects of the language. Emphasis, however, will be placed on speaking skills and understanding by using text material: fiction, drama in their cultural and historical context relevant to Israeli contemporary society. The instructor will be sensitive to individual student needs.
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JWST 3105 : Life in Israel: Aspects of Israeli Society, Language and Literature
Crosslisted as: HEBRW 3105 Semester offered: Spring 2019 Instructor:
In this advanced Hebrew course we will be reading selected and relevant articles dealing with life in Israel. Students will focus on language skills and interests while paying attention to vocabulary building, grammar review, and literary analysis of modern texts.  We also will be reading stories, poetry; view and discuss Israeli TV programs and news broadcasts. Authors may include: N. Gutman, D. Shahar, O. Kastel-Bloom, E. Keret, and A. Oz.  Poets may include: Y. Amichai, D. Avidan, D. Pagis, D. Rabikovitz, N. Zack.   In addition, we will be reading a few modern children stories and will have a discussion of present-day influences on Israeli children's literature.
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JWST 3525 : Palestinians in Israel
Crosslisted as: NES 3525, NES 6525 Semester offered: Fall 2018 Instructor:
This course examines the political, intellectual, and cultural expression of Palestinian citizens of Israel. Referred to by the Arab media as "1948 Arabs" or "Arabs within" and by the Israeli media as "Israeli Arabs" or "the Arab sector," this community is marginalized and often overlooked. Our discussions will be situated within the context of the history of the Arab-Israeli and Israeli-Palestinian conflicts: the events of 1948-9 (Israeli Independence, the Nakba, the first Arab-Israeli War); the transformations wrought by the 1967 Arab-Israeli war; and the impact on Palestinian-Israelis of the first and second Intifada. We will also look at the status of Palestinian citizens within Israeli civil society: from the era of military rule (1948-1966) to the present. Our primary focus will be exploring words and images produced by Palestinian-Israeli writers, intellectuals, filmmakers, and artists to understand how members of this marginalized community assert their identities as both Palestinian and Israeli. All course materials are in English.
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JWST 3588 : Biblical Archaeology
Crosslisted as: ARKEO 3588, NES 3588, NES 6588, RELST 3588 Semester offered: Spring 2019 Instructor:
The purpose of the course is to place the Bible within the context of a larger ancient world that can be explored by systematic excavation of physical remains. Students will become familiar with archaeological excavations and finds from ancient Syria-Palestine from 10,000 bce to 586 bce. We will explore this archaeological evidence on its own terms, taking into consideration factors such as archaeological method and the interpretive frameworks in which the excavators themselves work, as well as the implications of this body of evidence for understanding the complexity and diversity of biblical Israel.
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JWST 3655 : Minorities of the Middle East
Crosslisted as: COML 3743, NES 3655, NES 6655 Semester offered: Spring 2019 Instructor:
This course examines the historic diversity of the modern Middle East, exploring histories of inter-communal contact and conflict. We begin by investigating the legacy of the Ottoman Empire and the impact of its dissolution. We will focus our attention on commercial centers that fostered inter-communal relations, as well as investigating sites of strife and cases of minority repression. We will read histories, memoirs, and fiction, and view films that help us better understand inter-communal relations, tensions, and conflict. We will also interrogate the terms for exploring a range distinctions among majority and minority populations including: religious difference (Muslims, Christians, and Jews); divisions of religious rite (Sunni and Shi'a); entho-linguistic minorities (Armenians and Kurds); national identities (Israelis and Palestinians); cultures of origin (Mizrahi, Sephardi, and Ashkenazi Jews). We will explore how these divisions inform urgent current conflicts: the civil war in Syria and the refugee crisis; the civil war in Iraq and the campaign by ISIS against minorities; as well as tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran.
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JWST 3711 : Sitcom Jews: Ethnic Representation On Television and On Stage
Crosslisted as: PMA 3711 Semester offered: Fall 2018 Instructor:
"Sitcom Jews" uses close media analysis, theoretical discussion, and student performances or media projects to examine the representation of Jews on television and on the Broadway stage from 1948-2017. We'll ask whether study of performed Jewish identity can serve as a locus for discussion of cultural representation at large, including African American, Latinx, Asian American and LGBT communities on screen and onstage. Starting with classic sitcoms ("The Goldbergs" (1948), "All in the Family", and "Bridget Loves Bernie"), and continuing through current Jewish TV shows ("The Marvelous Ms. Maisel", "Transparent", "Curb Your Enthusiasm"), as well as major theater landmarks ("Fiddler on the Roof", "Cabaret", "Bad Jews", "Indecent"), we will compare these constructed media images to concurrent political, historical and cultural trends.
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JWST 3719 : The Jewish Life of DNA
Crosslisted as: AMST 3719, RELST 3719, STS 3719 Semester offered: Spring 2019 Instructor:
This course will explore the relationship between DNA and Jewish life. We will conceive of Jews and Judaism broadly, in terms of religious, ethnic, and national discourses as we consider theories of kinship and nationalism, definitions of ethnicity and race, the "molecularization" of human life, the use of DNA as a spiritual metaphor, the ethics of "playing God" through biomedicine, and imaginations of utopian and dystopian futures. The entangled social, political, economic, legal, metaphorical, and theological questions that DNA has raised during the twentieth century will serve as a lens to fundamental issues in Jewish Studies and Science and Technology Studies about the nature of Jewish identity and about the social and political elements of knowledge production, respectively. Our readings will combine scholarly texts with a range of primary sources, while our classroom discussions will include guest lectures by scholars from Molecular Biology and other relevant fields to discuss the religious and social implications of their research. 
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JWST 4102 : Biblical Hebrew Prose: Genesis
Crosslisted as: HEBRW 4102, HEBRW 6102, RELST 4102 Semester offered: Spring 2019 Instructor:
From the Garden of Eden to Noah's Ark, from Abraham's journey from Haran to Joseph's coat of many colors, the book of Genesis contains stories that are at once familiar to Western readers, and foreign in their ancient Near Eastern setting.  Through reading the book of Genesis in the original Hebrew, this course will address issues such as how the Israelites understood their origins, and their relationships with their God, Yahweh, their neighbors, and the land of Canaan itself, as well as how these themes are developed in biblical myth and folklore. Close attention will be paid to matters of grammar, syntax, and vocabulary in order to develop students' skills in reading biblical Hebrew prose and to enhance their understanding of the Hebrew language itself as a window on ancient Israelite thought. Students will be expected to utilize commentaries, biblical Hebrew grammars and lexicons in their preparation of assigned texts.
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JWST 4180 : The Imaginary Jew: Roots of Antisemitism in Medieval England
Crosslisted as: ENGL 4180, ENGL 6180, JWST 6180, MEDVL 4180, MEDVL 6180 Semester offered: Fall 2018 Instructor:
When did anti-Semitism begin? The medieval period invented shocking fictions about Jews—that they killed and ate Christian babies; that they desecrated the Host; that they were the murderers of Christ. In manuscripts Jews were visually compared to beasts, devils, and perverts. By law, Jews were forced to live in ghettos, wear distinctive dress, abstain from certain professions, and suffer exile. Beginning with Shakespeare's Shylock, we will work our way back through visual and literary treatments of Jews in the Middle Ages, reading texts by Chaucer, chronicles, miracle stories, crusader romances, and mystery plays. Drawing on recent theories of the other we will also consider how medieval representations of Jews and other minorities were used to construct medieval communal, religious, and political identities.
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JWST 4410 : The Holocaust in Postwar Culture (1945-1961)
Crosslisted as: COML 4415, COML 6415, FREN 4415, FREN 6415, GERST 4411, GERST 6411, GOVT 4786, GOVT 6786, HIST 4233, HIST 6233, JWST 6415, ROMS 4410, ROMS 6410 Semester offered: Spring 2019 Instructor:
There is an astonishing discrepancy between our perception of the Holocaust as a central event of the twentieth century and its marginal place in postwar culture.  It is during those years, nevertheless, that the destruction of European Jews aroused an intellectual debate whose philosophical, political, and literary contributions constitute landmarks for contemporary culture and criticism.  The course will explore the reasons for such a discrepancy, reconstructing the steps of the integration of the Holocaust into our historical consciousness.  It will analyze some of the most significant attempts to think such a trauma made by German-Jewish exiles (Arendt, Adorno, Anders), the survivors of the Nazi camps (Améry, Levi, Celan, Antelme), as well as the public intellectuals on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean (Sartre, Bataille, MacDonald, etc).
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JWST 4473 : Messiah and Modernity
Crosslisted as: ANTHR 4473, ANTHR 7473, GERST 4473, GERST 7473, JWST 7473, NES 4473, NES 7473 Semester offered: Spring 2019 Instructor:
This course combines Jewish religious history with studies in the philosophy of modernity, focusing on changing conceptions of time and history.  We will interrogate possible or implicit connections between traditional Jewish notions of Messianic redemption on one hand, and post-Enlightenment conceptions of revolution and progress on the other (always bearing in mind that the dominant Christian ideology in the West also has Messianic content).  Some readings will provide historical background on Jewish Messianism.  We will explore aspects of the intellectual dialogue between Walter Benjamin, a leading European thinker on literature and the philosophy of history in the first decades of the twentieth century, and his lifelong friend Gershom Scholem, founder of the scholarly study of Jewish mysticism.  We will continue by considering how post-World War II thinkers, especially on the Continent, have responded to the critique of modern ideologies of progress inaugurated by Benjamin and his friends in the so-called "Frankfurt School."
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JWST 4533 : The Lower East Side: Jews and the Immigrant City
Crosslisted as: AMST 4533, ANTHR 4733, ILRLR 4533, ILRLR 7533, JWST 7533, NES 4533, NES 7533 Semester offered: Spring 2019 Instructor:
American Jews have frequently been touted as a "model minority." This course will take a more critical look at the historical interactions between Jewish immigration, United States industrialization, and processes of social and geographical mobility—all through the prism of New York's Lower East Side, first home for over 750,000 Jewish immigrants from Central and Eastern Europe, the Ottoman Empire and elsewhere between the mid-19th century and the 1920s.  We will compare the Jewish experience to that of other immigrants/migrants by considering social institutions as well as material and other cultural practices. We will examine interactions with the built environment —most especially the tenement—in Lower East Side culture. Special attention will be paid to immigrant labor movement politics including strikes, splits, and gender in the garment trade. From the perspective of the present, the course will examine how commemoration, heritage tourism and the selling of [immigrant] history intersect with gentrifying real estate in an "iconic" New York City neighborhood. Projects using the ILR's archives on the Triangle Fire and other topics are explicitly encouraged. This course counts as an out of college elective for B. Arch and M. Arch students.
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JWST 4545 : Sound, Silence, and the Sacred
Crosslisted as: CLASS 4644, MUSIC 4345, NES 4545, NES 7545, RELST 4545 Semester offered: Spring 2019 Instructor:
From the ringing of Tibetan singing bowls to the quiet of desert monasticism, religious imagination and ritual is replete with sound and silence.  Cityscapes resound with church bells and calls from the minarets.   Music, chanting, recitations, incantations, mantras, gongs—the world of religion is intimately tied to ritualistic uses of sound.   But sound goes even beyond ritual to the realm of the imaginary, which frequently contrasts the music of the gods with the noise of the demons.   Sound and silence in such contexts are inherently tied to desire, temptation, and even salvation.  In addition, environmental sounds—the sounds of thunder, water, wind, animals, and so forth—are important for religious history and literature and contemporary practices.    This course will draw upon a wide array of sources—from texts to recordings, videos, and performances—to address the function and meaning of sound (and silence) within diverse religious traditions.   Our goal will be to read selections from the field of sound studies, listen and read closely in texts and music coming from diverse religious traditions, and to make some of our own recordings for a Cornell (and beyond) religious soundscape. 
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JWST 4626 : Reinventing Biblical Narrative
Crosslisted as: CLASS 4626, CLASS 7626, MEDVL 4626, MEDVL 6626, NES 4626, NES 6626, RELST 4626, RELST 6626 Semester offered: Fall 2018 Instructor:
Narratives, particularly sacred narratives, are not static or fixed but rather infinitely flexible and malleable.   Subject to multiple retellings—elaborations, modifications, and deletions—stories take on lives of their own even after they come to be written down. What happens to sacred stories when they are heard and read by different communities of interpreters? This is the broad question at the heart of this course, which will explore the diverse interpretations of biblical narratives (e.g., stories of Adam and Eve, Abraham, Moses, Jesus and his disciples, Joseph and Mary) found in Jewish and Christian literature from the second century BCE through the 6th century and beyond.  Writers like the Hellenistic Jewish philosopher Philo and the Jewish historian Josephus, Jewish and Christian pseudepigrapha and apocrypha, the Dead Sea Scrolls, the New Testament, gnostic literature, early rabbinic literature, and Christian patristic writers—these are some of the sources that we will study in this class.    At the conclusion of the seminar, we will explore briefly the retellings of biblical stories and use of biblical characters in the early Islamic materials, especially the Qur'an.    Throughout the semester, we will consider the historical contexts of biblical interpretation and the production, transmission, and use of texts in antiquity, including questions about literacy and orality, education, and the physical forms of ancient books.
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JWST 4721 : Peace Building in Conflict Regions: Case Studies Sub-Saharan Africa Israel Palestinian Territories
Crosslisted as: ASRC 4721, GOVT 4723, NES 4721, STS 4721 Semester offered: Spring 2019 Instructor:
This course focuses on issues of conflict, peace, and reconciliation in Israel and the Palestinian Territories as well as Sub-Saharan Africa. Both regions exemplify how issues ranging from nationalism and ethnocentrism to land, water and resource management, climate change and migration, as well as socio-psychological dynamics, can exacerbate conflicts. At the same time, these regions also exemplify how trans-border collaboration and regional integration, civilian peace building efforts, strategies for achieving historical justice, as well as science education and science diplomacy can become crucial tools for long-term peace-building, reconciliation and development. In this course we will work with and discuss issues of peace and conflict with policy-makers and local stakeholders involved in peace-building efforts.
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JWST 4790 : Spinoza and the New Spinozism
Crosslisted as: COML 4090, GERST 4290, GOVT 4769 Semester offered: Spring 2019 Instructor:
Spinoza was excommunicated, wrote under death threats, and has remained a scandal to philosophy, psychoanalysis, politics, ethics, literature. "Every philosopher has two philosophies, his own and Spinoza's" (Bergson); and "the savage anomaly" (Negri) exerted profound influence on Marx, Nietzsche, Freud. We will introduce Spinoza and his legacy, from the "atheism controversy" in the eighteenth century to today's "New Spinozists," who have been developing anti-Kantian and anti-Hegelian formulations of burning contemporary questions. With Spinoza, we ask: "What is freedom, and whose power does it serve?" (Leo Strauss)-especially if "The new world system, the ultimate third stage of capitalism is for us the absent totality, Spinoza's God or Nature, the ultimate (indeed perhaps the only) referent, the true ground of Being in our time" (Jameson).
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JWST 4992 : Independent Study - Undergraduate
Semester offered: Spring 2019 Instructor:
For undergraduates who wish to obtain research experience or do extensive reading on a special topic.  Students select a topic in consultation with the faculty member who has agreed to supervise the course.
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JWST 6180 : The Imaginary Jew: Roots of Antisemitism in Medieval England
Crosslisted as: ENGL 4180, ENGL 6180, JWST 4180, MEDVL 4180, MEDVL 6180 Semester offered: Fall 2018 Instructor:
When did anti-Semitism begin? The medieval period invented shocking fictions about Jews—that they killed and ate Christian babies; that they desecrated the Host; that they were the murderers of Christ. In manuscripts Jews were visually compared to beasts, devils, and perverts. By law, Jews were forced to live in ghettos, wear distinctive dress, abstain from certain professions, and suffer exile. Beginning with Shakespeare's Shylock, we will work our way back through visual and literary treatments of Jews in the Middle Ages, reading texts by Chaucer, chronicles, miracle stories, crusader romances, and mystery plays. Drawing on recent theories of the other we will also consider how medieval representations of Jews and other minorities were used to construct medieval communal, religious, and political identities.
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JWST 6415 : The Holocaust in Postwar Culture (1945-1961)
Crosslisted as: COML 4415, COML 6415, FREN 4415, FREN 6415, GERST 4411, GERST 6411, GOVT 4786, GOVT 6786, HIST 4233, HIST 6233, JWST 4410, ROMS 4410, ROMS 6410 Semester offered: Spring 2019 Instructor:
There is an astonishing discrepancy between our perception of the Holocaust as a central event of the twentieth century and its marginal place in postwar culture.  It is during those years, nevertheless, that the destruction of European Jews aroused an intellectual debate whose philosophical, political, and literary contributions constitute landmarks for contemporary culture and criticism.  The course will explore the reasons for such a discrepancy, reconstructing the steps of the integration of the Holocaust into our historical consciousness.  It will analyze some of the most significant attempts to think such a trauma made by German-Jewish exiles (Arendt, Adorno, Anders), the survivors of the Nazi camps (Améry, Levi, Celan, Antelme), as well as the public intellectuals on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean (Sartre, Bataille, MacDonald, etc).
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JWST 7473 : Messiah and Modernity
Crosslisted as: ANTHR 4473, ANTHR 7473, GERST 4473, GERST 7473, JWST 4473, NES 4473, NES 7473 Semester offered: Spring 2019 Instructor:
This course combines Jewish religious history with studies in the philosophy of modernity, focusing on changing conceptions of time and history.  We will interrogate possible or implicit connections between traditional Jewish notions of Messianic redemption on one hand, and post-Enlightenment conceptions of revolution and progress on the other (always bearing in mind that the dominant Christian ideology in the West also has Messianic content).  Some readings will provide historical background on Jewish Messianism.  We will explore aspects of the intellectual dialogue between Walter Benjamin, a leading European thinker on literature and the philosophy of history in the first decades of the twentieth century, and his lifelong friend Gershom Scholem, founder of the scholarly study of Jewish mysticism.  We will continue by considering how post-World War II thinkers, especially on the Continent, have responded to the critique of modern ideologies of progress inaugurated by Benjamin and his friends in the so-called "Frankfurt School." 
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JWST 7533 : The Lower East Side: Jews and the Immigrant City
Crosslisted as: AMST 4533, ANTHR 4733, ILRLR 4533, ILRLR 7533, JWST 4533, NES 4533, NES 7533 Semester offered: Spring 2019 Instructor:
American Jews have frequently been touted as a "model minority." This course will take a more critical look at the historical interactions between Jewish immigration, United States industrialization, and processes of social and geographical mobility—all through the prism of New York's Lower East Side, first home for over 750,000 Jewish immigrants from Central and Eastern Europe, the Ottoman Empire and elsewhere between the mid-19th century and the 1920s.  We will compare the Jewish experience to that of other immigrants/migrants by considering social institutions as well as material and other cultural practices. We will examine interactions with the built environment —most especially the tenement—in Lower East Side culture. Special attention will be paid to immigrant labor movement politics including strikes, splits, and gender in the garment trade. From the perspective of the present, the course will examine how commemoration, heritage tourism and the selling of [immigrant] history intersect with gentrifying real estate in an "iconic" New York City neighborhood. Projects using the ILR's archives on the Triangle Fire and other topics are explicitly encouraged. This course counts as an out of college elective for B. Arch and M. Arch students.
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