Current Course Offerings

Jewish studies offers courses in History, Gender Studies, Classics, Philosophy, Religion, and Hebrew. See below for the courses offered for the 2020-2021 academic year.

HEBR 190  - Introduction to Modern Hebrew (Full Year)

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)

HEBR 294  - Intermediate Modern Hebrew I (Fall)

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

HEBR 190  - Introduction to Modern Hebrew (Full Year)

HEBR 393  - Reading Modern Hebrew Literature (Winter)

From the mid 19th century, the Hebrew language has been revived to answer a need for the Jewish people for cohesion and a unified form of expression that would bring together scattered diasporic groups. From few visionaries of the Haskalah (or enlightenment), and in less then 150 years, it has become the spoken and written language of more than 9 million people. Modern Hebrew literature was used as a means to enhance this vision, to rebel against it, and to provide a platform of expression of the myriad streams of Jews and non-Jewish people that live in Israel today.  The course will explore Hebrew literature in translation produced by multiple social groups with competing visions of “Israeliness” to reflect the complex fabric of contemporary Israeli society.  

HIST 220 - Jews on Film (Fall)

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 221 - Jewish and World Civilizations (until 1492) (Fall)

The development of modern Jewish thought and practice, including the Reform, Orthodox, Conservative and Reconstructionist movements. The consequences of the Holocaust and the establishment of the modern State of Israel.

HIST 222 - Jewish and World Civilizations (since 1492) (Winter)

A thematic-chronological history of the Jews from ancient times to the beginning of the modern era. Topics to be explored include: emergence of Biblical Judaism; political, social, religious and cultural interactions of the Jews and other ancient and medieval civilizations and religions, such as Babylon, Greece, Rome, Christianity and Islam; the rise of rabbinic Judaism and Jewish communities in Diaspora. The course traces continuity and change of Judaism and Jewish civilization thorough examination of a variety of source material: primary historical texts, historiography, and works of art, including literature and film.

HIST 295 - The Holocaust (Fall)

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 306 - Holocaust: Problems and Interpretations (Full Year)

A fall/winter course taught in conjunction with HIST-295, the first half is a lecture that gives a broad overview of the Holocaust, and the second half is a seminar in which the main themes of Holocaust historiography are examined. Subjects to be covered: the difference between anti-Judaism and anti-Semitism, the origins of the "Jewish problem", European nationalism in the inter-war era, Nazi racial policies before WWII, the rise of the police state, the organization of the concentration camps and death camps, and the victims, perpetrators, and by-standers of the Holocaust. 

HIST 339 - Jews without Judaism (Winter)

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)

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.

HIST 400 - Topics in History: Antisemitism in Historical Context (Fall)

In this course we will use the tools of historical analysis to study events and attitudes subsumed under the rubric of “antisemitism” – while trying desperately to avoid the term in favor of more precise descriptions. These phenomena include the basic categories of political, cultural (including religious, intellectual, and artistic), social, and, economic. In addition, many of the isms of the nineteenth century mark turning points in the development of antisemitism as well as analytical lenses through which, given the limitations of anachronism, to examine earlier phenomena. These include romanticism, nationalism, nativism, racism, isolationism, fundamentalism, and colonialism.

HIST 400 - Jewish and Islamic Thought (Winter)

This course explores the intellectual history of Jews and Muslims and the intersections of their philosophical, theological, literary and religious cultures and traditions from late antiquity to modern times. In particular, the course is interested in philosophical fictions that stage interreligious dialogues, thought experiments, creative imaginings and visions to explore fundamental questions about human experience, knowledge, the cosmos, salvation and earthly history, the relationships to animals and nature, and divine truth.  It will involve close reading of such texts ranging from scripture/exegetical tracts to mystical treatises, polemical disputes, and philosophical dialogues, while appreciating the contexts and spaces of Jewish-Muslim thought in the learned circles of cities like Baghdad and Berlin, Cairo and Cordoba,  Palermo and Paris, and of course Jerusalem. Seminar discussion in our collaborative study will be crucial and depend upon short writing assignments. There will also be the opportunity to explore a sustained problem or issue historically and philosophically in a final project. 

PHIL 367 - Jewish Philosophy (Winter)

PHIL 367 - Jewish Philosophy (Fall)

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)

RELS 398 - Judaism in the Modern Age (Winter)

The development of modern Jewish thought and practice, including the Reform, Orthodox, Conservative and Reconstructionist movements. The consequences of the Holocaust and the establishment of the modern State of Israel.

Download the RELS 398 Course Description [PDF 32kb]