Jewish Studies

Jewish Studies

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Courses offered in 2020-2021


 HEBR 190   Introduction to Modern Hebrew (Full Year)

For students with no (or a minimal) background in Hebrew. Introduces elements of grammar and vocabulary of modern Hebrew

HEBR 294   Intermediate Modern Hebrew I (Winter)

An extensive grammar review with practice in speaking, writing, and translation, based on the reading of texts by modern Hebrew writers. 


 HIST 220  Jews on Film (Fall)

A history of the film industry from a Jewish perspective. Has Hollywood’s Jewish roots had a discernible impact on content? How has antiSemitism affected the way in which Jews and Jewish issues were represented on screen? Related subjects also covered in this course: radio, television, and comic books.

 HIST 244  Topics in History: Antisemitism in Historical Context (Fall)

Plague, economic collapse, fickle authoritarian rulers, popular unrest, religious fundamentalism, and conspiracy theories are not new in the study of Jewish history. “Antisemitism,” first coined in the nineteenth century, is an amorphous term that encompasses a wide range of earlier and contemporary phenomena, blurring different causes and effects, historiographic interpretations, and political motivations. Historians working in many fields of history have developed analytical paradigms that can be applied to the study of “antisemitism,” and “antisemitism” provides a test of these models for past and current events: the paranoid style in politics, crisis of rising expectations, messianic deprivation, culture code, and boundary formation. We will locate “antisemitism,” in a multi-causal model of studying historical phenomena, religious, economic, social, political, and racial, as we examine changes in the phenomenon during early and medieval Christiandom, early Islam, the Renaissance and Reformation, the Enlightenment, nineteenth century nationalism, the Holocaust, the modern Middle East, Zionism, the State of Israel, and careful reading of today’s news reports. This course will not present a single explanation for “antisemitism,” raise consciousness about it, or help end it, or similar scourges, but it will provide historical models for reading history and dealing with competing explanations, which are not always satisfying.

 HIST 295  The Holocaust (Fall)

The background to and processes of the destruction of the Jews of Europe between 1933 and 1945. Themes to be covered include: modern anti-semitism, Jewish communities in the inter-war era, Nazi racial policies, the Judenrat, the organization of the death camps, the attitudes of the Christian churches, the role of collaborators, the ideology of mass murder, and the questions of ‘compliance’, ‘resistance’, and ‘silence’.

 HIST 339  Jews without Judaism (Winter)

This course explores the North American Jewish engagement with modern ideologies such as secularism, antisemitism, liberalism, nationalism, socialism, feminism, and neo-conservativism. Other specific topics include the secularization of universities; the recent retrenchment of Orthodox Judaism; and the resurgence of ‘popular atheism’.

 HIST 344  Insiders/Outsiders: Jewish Identity in the New World (Winter)

An examination of the path that led from the state-sanctioned racial profiling of immigrants in the late nineteenth century to current multicultural ideas and policies in Canada and the United States, with an emphasis on the role Jewish intellectuals, politicians, and community leaders played in developing and, sometimes, resisting such changes.


 PHIL 367  Jewish Philosophy (Winter)

An examination of key Jewish thought from Philo to Fackenheim, exploring such themes as the relationship between philosophy, literature, law, and religion; developments within Jewish philosophy; non-Jewish influences on Jewish thought and vice-versa. Contributions to contemporary philosophical work such as those in bioethics and postmodernism may also be considered.


 RELS 234  Judaism (Fall)

An introduction to the self-definition of Judaism through an analysis of the concepts of God, Torah and Israel past and present. Also, a preliminary study of the struggles facing Jews in Europe, the State of Israel and North America.

 RELS 334  Jewish Views of the Other (Winter)

A study of the tensions that come into play as Jews formulated views of the Other to balance co-existence with them. Source materials include authoritative writings of Jewish commentary and law and social scientific views of them.

Courses offered in 2019-2020


HEBR 190   Introduction to Modern Hebrew (Fall)

HEBR 294   Intermediate Modern Hebrew I (Fall)

HEBR 393   Reading Modern Hebrew Literature


HIST 221   Jewish and World Civilization (until 1492) (Fall)

HIST 222   Jewish and World Civilization (since 1492) (Winter)

HIST 244   Jews on Film (Winter)

HIST 295   The Holocaust (Fall)

HIST 220   Jews without Judaism (Winter)

HIST 244  TIH: Antisemitism in Historical Context (fall)

HIST 344   Plural Visions: New World Jews & the Invention of Multiculturalism (Fall)

Hist 400 TIH: Russian Jewish Encounter in Imperial Russia (winter)


PHIL 367  Jewish Philosophy (Fall)


RELS 398 Judaism in the Modern Age (Fall)