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Topics in History: Modern Jewish History

An image of a coloured etching of Napoleon standing, holding a protocol up to show the Jews reaching toward him at his feet, with a menorah in the foreground.
Detail from Louis-Francious Couche, Napoleon le Grand rétablit le culte des Israelites, le 30 Mai 1806, published Paris, Ternisien d'Haudricourt, 1806. Collection Neher-Bernheim, etching and engraving.

In this course, we will explore Jewish history from Enlightenment to the present day. The course will take in political, social, economic and cultural developments on a grand scale, exploring what modernity meant for Jewish people from Paris to Baghdad and beyond. Beginning with the emergence of new ideas on the ‘Jewish Question’ in the eighteenth century, the course will examine how these ideas of nationhood, identity, and assimilation affected Jewish communities across the modern world. We’ll explore the historical experience of Jewish people- from philosophers to merchants, refugees to soldiers- and their evolving place in broader economic, social and political systems. At the heart of the course will be the enduring narrative of the Jewish experience over the last three hundred years. We will consider how Jews have shaped the societies in which they have lived, and how they have been shaped in turn.

Department of History, Queen's University

49 Bader Lane, Watson Hall 212
Kingston ON K7L 3N6




Queen's University is situated on traditional Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe territory.