Courses 2021-2022

Fall 2021 Undergraduate Courses

Jewish Studies 39

“Holy Fanfiction: Retelling Stories from the Bible and Quran”

Instructor: Madeline Wyse
CN# 26564
Meeting Time: Mondays/Wednesdays 4:00p to 5:00p
Location: Dwinelle 258
Units: 2

Jews and Muslims of the medieval Islamic world produced a vast literature reimagining and embellishing the tales of famous biblical and quranic figures like Abraham, Joseph, Moses and David. This “holy fanfiction” ranges from poems to romances, mystic parables to cutting satire. It grapples with thorny theological issues, as well as other contemporary concerns, from gender relations to coping with life as a religious minority. We will read and analyze a selection of these tales and pay particular attention to the ways they complicate conceptual boundary lines that we might have taken for granted: the line between Jews and Muslims, between popular culture and scholarly culture, between piety and entertainment.

Jewish Studies 100

“Introduction to Jewish Religion, Culture, and People”

Instructor: Sarah Levin
CN# 25533
Meeting Time: Tuesdays/Thursdays 11:00a to 12:30p
Location: Cory Hall 289
Units: 4

The course is intended to give Jewish studies minors a general introduction to the field through a survey of religious and cultural expressions of Jews across time and geographies. No previous knowledge of Judaism or Jewish Studies is necessary.

Jewish Studies 123A

“Muslim-Jewish Encounters: From the Beginnings of Islam to Today”

Instructor: Ethan Katz
CN# 30673
Meeting Time: Tuesdays/Thursdays 12:30a to 2:00p;
Location: Etcheverry  3111
Units: 4

*JS 121A is eligible for the Historical Studies, L&S Breadth requirements through petition
*JS 121A is eligible for the Philosophy and Values, L&S Breadth requirements through petition

The course takes us far beyond contemporary tensions between Muslims and Jews, and deep into a more complicated history that spans the Mediterranean and beyond. We move through topics that include the earliest encounters between Muslims and Jews during the years of the rise of Islam; the historical impact and legacy of the dhimmi (the system of rights and restrictions that defined Jews’ status for centuries under Islamic rule); the culturally fruitful shared experience of Jews and Muslims in Medieval Spain and the Ottoman Empire; the effects of French, British, and Italian colonialism in the modern Middle East; and the important conflicts over Zionism and Arab nationalism during the past century.

Fall 2021 Graduate Courses

Jewish Studies 290:

“Jews and the Archive: Learning Methods, Questioning Sources”

Instructor: Ethan Katz and Francesco Spagnolo
CN# 19241
Meeting Time: Mondays 2:00p to 5:00p
Location: Room 117 at The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life, located at 2121 Allston Way in Berkeley.
Units: 4

This course teaches graduate students from History, Music, Anthropology, Museum studies, and a range of other disciplines and area studies how to “read” primary sources of all kinds critically. On the one hand, working with the world-class holdings of The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life on the UC-Berkeley campus (where the course will meet), we will undertake a practicum of working “hands-on” with a wide variety of cultural objects: archival materials (personal and institutional records), musical notations and recordings, as well as museum objects ranging from art to material culture across the global Jewish diaspora (embroidered textiles, painted manuscripts, coins, paintings, engravings, and more). At the same time, as we examine objects, we will enter into the thorny matter of how archives and collections are constructed, and examine some of the theoretical literature on this subject that helps us to read sources with a far more critical eye. Students will ultimately write a research paper in their area of particular research interest that shows the ability to utilize multiple types of sources in sophisticated ways. The instructors will encourage the students to utilize the holdings of The Magnes in some stage of their project. While the class focuses on the Jewish experience post-1500, we welcome students working on all times and places, and those with foci or background outside of Jewish history and culture.