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The Jewish Diaspora in the Modern World

A photo of a young child lighting a menorah

The dispersion of Jews after the destruction of the First Temple in 586 B.C.E. and later of the Second Temple in 70 C.E. led to the term and the phenomenon of ‘diaspora’, an idea that identifies the existence of a transnational community outside of Israel connected by a common identity: Jewishness. The members of this diaspora have often fit uneasily into the various host societies to which they migrated; while at times they have become fully welcomed members of a society, at other times they have experienced discrimination, persecution, violence or expulsion. Engaging in the history of the Jewish diaspora invites us to analyse and discuss concepts such as migration, assimilation, integration, nationality, race, ethnicity, cultural identity, political and human rights, sovereignty, and belonging. 

This core seminar introduces students to the central components of historical practise through the study of the modern Jewish diaspora. Through the weekly readings, students will be introduced to case studies of the Jewish diaspora in many countries including Canada, Australia, the United States, Britain, South Africa, and, in a complex way, Israel itself. Students enrolled in this course will learn techniques of historical writing, participate in weekly debate and discussion with their peers during seminars, and become familiar with key texts and debates in the field. Over this year-long course, students will complete several assignments including short reading response papers, a primary source analysis, an annotated bibliography, and a final research paper focusing on a specific area (of their choosing) of the history of the modern Jewish diaspora.

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.