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 120

Jewish Folktales Around the World: Past and Present, Self and Other

Instructor: Sarah Levin
CN# 21933
Meeting Time: Tuesdays/Thursdays 11:00a to 12:30p
Location: Cory 289
Units: 3

*JS 120 Satisfies the Arts & Literature L&S breadth requirement
*JS 120 counts towards the Jewish Studies Minor.

Folklore helps us make sense of the world we live in at the same time that it entertains us.
In this course, we’ll read a sampling of folktales and jokes from diverse Jewish communities (German, Kurdish, Moroccan, Russian, Yemeni, etc.) while exploring themes such as creativity and artistic expression. We’ll also address gender, group identity and values, stereotypes, and the interactions of Jews and non-Jews. Films, videos, and guest storytellers will complement discussions. Final projects allow students to pursue their interests.

Students from all majors and backgrounds are welcome. Conducted in English with readings in English.

Jewish Studies 121A

“Jews in the Modern World”

Instructor: John Efron
CN# 25239
Meeting Time: Tuesdays/Thursdays 9:30a to 11:00a
Location: Wheeler 102
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
*JS 121A is eligible for the Social & Behavioral Sciences, L&S Breadth requirements through petition
*JS 121A counts towards the JS minor requirement

This course will examine the impact of modern intellectual, political, cultural, and social forces on the Jewish people since the eighteenth century. It is our aim to come to an understanding of how the Jews interpreted these forces and how and in what ways they adapted and utilized them to suit the Jewish experience. In other words, we will trace the way Jews became modern. Some of the topics to be covered include Emancipation, the Jewish Enlightenment, new Jewish religious movements, Jewish politics and culture, immigration, antisemitism, the Holocaust, and the state of Israel.

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: Hearst Field Annex B5
Units: 4

*Meets Historical Studies, L&S Breadth
*Meets Philosophy & Values, L&S Breadth
*Counts towards the JS minor requirement

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.

Anthro 196

“Mental Health in Conflict Zones: The Politics of Trauma on the Border of Israel and Gaza”

CN# 33161
Meeting Time: Wednesdays 12:00p to 2:00p
Location: Dwinelle 89
Units: 4

*Anthro 196 does not count towards the Minor in Jewish Studies

What happens when trauma is increasingly experienced, as well as promoted and embraced, as the defining characteristic of the daily life of a country? When a specific mental disorder – PTSD in this case – becomes a national identity marker that both expresses and exposes core dilemmas and contested values within the country? Relying upon contemporary ethnographic research from “behind the scenes” of Israeli mental health clinics located near the border with Gaza, the course addresses these questions with two main goals: 1). To explore the effects of the diagnostic categories of trauma and PTSD on the discourse of violence and social suffering in conflict and post-conflict areas; 2). To examine through the lens of key theories in anthropology, wide-ranging experiences of vulnerability, national identity, and gender and socio-economic inequality as expressed in interactions between psychiatrists and psychologists and their clients, including Israeli soldiers, members of secular, religious, and Ultra-orthodox Jewish communities, and members of Arab-Bedouin communities living near the border of Israel and Gaza.

Hebrew 104A

“Modern Hebrew Literature and Culture”

Instructor: Uri Mor, Visiting Professor of Hebrew Language
CN# 32173
Meeting Time: Wednesdays 2:00p to 5:00p
Location: Social Sciences Building 254
Units: 3

*Hebrew 104A counts towards the Minor in Jewish Studies
*Meets Arts & Literature, L&S Breadth
*Meets International Studies, L&S Breadth

A close reading of selected works of modern Hebrew fiction, poetry, and drama in their cultural and historical contexts. Topics vary from year to year and include literature and politics, eros and gender, memory and nationalism, Middle-Eastern and European aspects of Israeli literature and culture.

Hebrew 106A

“Elementary Biblical Hebrew”

Instructor: John Hayes
CN# 32355
Meeting Time: Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays  11:00a to 12:00p
Location: Social Sciences Building 136
Units: 3

*Hebrew 106A counts towards the Minor in Jewish Studies

An introduction to the language of the Hebrew Bible.

Legal Studies 190:

“Human Rights and Civil Rights in Israel”

Instructor: Michal Tamir
CN# 30279
Meeting Time: Tuesdays/Thursdays  2:00 to 3:30p
Location: Valley Life Sciences 2038
Units: 4

Legal Studies 190:

“Law and Social Change: The Case of Israel”

Instructor: Masua Sagiv
CN# 30280
Meeting Time: Tuesdays/Thursdays  8:00 to 9:30a
Location: Social Sciences Building 155
Units: 4

Political Science 191:

“Israel: Society and Politics”

Instructor: Ron Hassner
CN# 17243
Meeting Time: Wednesdays  12:00 to 2:00p
Location: Haviland 214
Units: 4

*PS 191 counts towards the Minor in Jewish Studies

The seminars will generally be led by ladder-rank faculty members in the subfields of Political Theory, Area Studies, American Politics, International Relations, and Comparative Politics. These intense writing seminars will focus on the research area of the faculty member teaching the course. The seminars will provide an opportunity for students to have direct intellectual interactions with faculty members while also giving the students an understanding of faculty research.

Yiddish 103

“History of Yiddish Culture”

Instructor: Burko, A.
CN# 23469
Meeting Time: Tuesdays/Thursdays  12:30p to 2:00p
Location: Dwinelle 189
Units: 3

*Yiddish 103 counts towards the Minor in Jewish Studies

“History of Yiddish Culture”.  This course will trace the development of Yiddish culture from the first settlement of Jews in German lands through centuries of life in Eastern Europe, down to the main cultural centers today in Israel and America. The course will examine how changes in Jewish life have found expression in the Yiddish language. It will provide an introduction to Yiddish literature in English translation, supplemented by excursions into Yiddish music, folklore, theater, and film. 

Note: Regarding “in-person” instruction please contact Professor Karen Feldman.

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 2:00 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.

Anthro 250X 002 – SEM 002

“Studies of Trauma and Resilience: The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict as a Case Study”

Instructor: Keren Friedman-Peleg
CN# 25569
Meeting Time: Tuesdays 10:00-11:00am
Location: Social Sciences 192
Units: 4

* Anthro 250X 002- SEM 002 does not count towards Jewish Studies DE.

Contemporary scholars in the fields of medical and psychological anthropology argue that trauma is “the great psychiatric narrative of our era,” and if this is true, then the imperative of resilience is perhaps the most pervasive counter-narrative. Delivered as both a proactive and reactive coping mechanism fostering the ability to bounce back as well as bounce forward in the face of adversity and tragedy, this concept of resilience has emerged as a universally accepted notion in a wide range of domains, especially in conflict-ridden regions of the world. This seminar points an ethnographic lens on the equation of resilience-against-trauma in the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Employing a top-down perspective, we will explore the deployment of resilience as a political tool in Israel’s discursive arsenal aimed at shaping public perception, and resilience as a data-driven category of measurement within a process aimed at mitigating the effects of trauma experienced by particularly vulnerable communities and by the population as a whole. From a bottom-up perspective, we will examine resilience as an ethos – a contestable ideal of human behavior which, as shaped within this particular socio-political and cultural context, has functioned as a catalyst for unique negotiations between diverse social players, among them Jewish-Israeli and Arab-Palestinian mental health experts, Palestinian and Israeli community leaders, and the chronically traumatized members of local communities living near the border with Gaza.