General courses offered in the Jewish Studies Program. For courses offered this semester, click here.
Listed below are the courses from the University Course Catalog with Jewish Studies content. All of them count toward the requirements for the minor in the Program in Jewish Culture and Society.
Department of Anthropology, 109 Davenport Hall, 333-3616
ANTH 161. The Holocaust and Its Meanings
Survey of the Holocaust as a cultural symbol and crucial reference point for debates on morality, ethics and the lessons of history. Traces the Holocaust as a symbol in its historical and cross-cultural dimensions through text and film.
ANTH 190. American Jewish Culture
Examines American Jewish experience in its cultural and historical diversity. Introduces the approaches of cultural anthropology in order to investigate how an ethnic group has elaborated and continues to elaborate its identity in American culture and society through strategies of individual and collective behavior. In this way, American Jewish identities emerge as the products of specific interactions between Judaism's overarching cultural system and local American cultural formations.
ANTH 277. Ancient Cities, Sacred Land
Examines urban development from its origins to the present day. Among the concepts covered are urbanism, urbanization, ceremonial centers and ceremonial cities, the city as a system, the spatial and economic organization of cities, and the built environment (sacred landscapes, vernacular architecture, places of power). Small field project is conducted in Champaign-Urbana.
ANTH 290. Jewish Cultures of the World
Survey of the world's Jewish cultures with a particular focus on the non-Western world. Addresses the relations between Judaism and other religious systems and the nature of Jewish life in such locales as North Africa, Subsaharan Africa, India, China, and South America.
ANTH 393. The World of Jewish Sepharad
Study of the cultural legacy and history of the Sephardic Jews, mostly focusing on the Mediterranean and the thriving communities they established in countries of Muslim governance and in the Balkans, and more recently in America. The Judeo-Spanish language, which has been preserved until the end of the twentieth century, the press, literature and music will be components of this course. Same as HIST 393, RLST 393.
ANTH 488. Modern Europe
Historical studies which deploy anthropological methods in the study of early modern and modern Europe; looks at processes of twentieth century modernization through ethnographic studies. Western, Central and Eastern Europe will all receive attention, but the study of Western Europe will predominate.
Program in Comparative and World Literature, 3072 Foreign Languages Building, 333-4987
CWL 221. Jewish Storytelling: From the Russian Shtetl to New York
Course will introduce the great Jewish storytellers such as Nachman of Bratslav, Scholem-Aleichem, and I. B. Singer through readings of Yiddish tales, short stories, poetry, drama and excerpts from novels and autobiographies from the 19th and 20th centuries. In addition, Yiddish films and folklore will be used to exemplify the variety of Jewish cultural expression in Eastern Europe, Russia, and America. Course will also present a sample of critical approaches to Yiddish literature. Taught in English translation. Same as ENGL 223, RLST 220, YDSH 220.
CWL 271. The Holocaust in Context - ACP
Jewish contributions to German Literature from 1200 to the present day. Includes trips to the University Library's Rare Book Room. Same as GER 260.
CWL 320. Literary Responses to the Holocaust
Course introduces a variety of Jewish literary responses to the Holocaust written during and after the Second World War (from 1939). The discussion of Holocaust memoirs, diaries, novels, short stories, poems, and other texts will focus on the unique contribution of literary works to our understanding of the Holocaust. In addition, the works and their authors will be situated in their Jewish cultural historical context. Taught in English translation. Same as ENGL 359, RLST 320, YDSH 320.
CWL 421. Jewish Life-Writing
Jewish life-writing from the late 18th century until today. Emphasis on cultural historical context, literary styles, and forms. All texts will be available in English translation. Same as HIST 436, RLST 420, SLAV 420, and YDSH 421.
CWL 571. Seminar in Literary Relations
Investigation of the impact of one literature upon another, or of some specific works upon others (the role of English literature in continental Europe, the influence of Russian novelists on French and German writers, etc.).
Department of English, 208 English Building, 333-2391
ENG 272. Minority Images in American Film
Writing-intensive course which explores how a range of films made in the United States have represented diverse ethnicities and cultures in relation to each other and to dominant American media conventions and social ideas. A comparative, case study approach examines racial and gender stereotyping, historical and economic factors, and reactions of various audiences to the films. Same as AFRO 272.
ENG 284. Modern Jewish Literature
Surveys imaginative literature by Jewish authors from the Enlightenment to the present, including fiction, poetry, drama, and autobiography written in English or translated from other languages. Same as CWL 284, RLST 284.
ENG 359. Literary Responses to the Holocaust
Course introduces a variety of Jewish literary responses to the Holocaust written during and after the Second World War (from 1939). The discussion of Holocaust memoirs, diaries, novels, short stories, poems, and other texts will focus on the unique contribution of literary works to our understanding of the Holocaust. In addition, the works and their authors will be situated in their Jewish cultural historical context. Taught in English translation. Same as RLST 320 and YDSH 320.
ENG 363. Jewish Immigrant Literature
Examines Jewish immigrant literature in American from the late nineteenth century until the 1980's. Traces the change of the Jewish immigrant community into an ethnic community by contrasting Yiddish and English literary texts written in America. Films about the Jewish immigrant experience in American will be shown and discussed as examples of American popular culture. All readings will be in English. Same as YDSH 380.
ENG 460. Literature of American Minorities
Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures, 2090 Foreign Languages Building, 333-1288
GER 257. Vienna 1900
An overview of Vienna's cultural landscape (architecture, music, literature, and the visual arts) and investigation of the relevant historical and political developments at the roots of Vienna's cultural importance in turn-of-the-century Europe. Same as ANTH 257, HIST 257.
GER 260. The Holocaust in Context
Jewish contributions to German Literature from 1200 to the present day. Includes trips to the University Library's Rare Book Room. Same as CWL 271.
Department of Religion, 4088 Foreign Languages Building, 333-0473
HEBR 199. Undergraduate Open Seminar
HEBR 201. Elementary Modern Hebrew, I
Acquaints students with the fundamental principles of the Hebrew Language. Develops all four language skills; reading, writing, listening and speaking.
HEBR 202. Elementary Modern Hebrew, II
Continuation of HEBR 201, with introduction of more advanced grammar and with emphasis on more fluency in speaking and reading.
HEBR 205. Intensive Biblical Hebrew
Acquisition of reading knowledge of biblical Hebrew and a familiarity with all major aspects of biblical Hebrew grammar. Same as RLST 205.
HEBR 403. Intermediate Modern Hebrew, I
Continuation of HEBR 202. Advanced examination of the fundamental principles of the Hebrew language.
HEBR 404. Intermediate Modern Hebrew, II
Continuation of HEBR 403. Concentration on ability to engage in reasonable fluent discourse in Hebrew, comprehensive knowledge of formal grammar, and an ability to read easy Hebrew texts.
HEBR 405. Advanced Modern Hebrew, I
For students who have mastered the fundamental principles of the Hebrew language. Develops competence through reading Hebrew fiction and studying Israeli newspapers and television programs.
HEBR 406. Advanced Modern Hebrew, II
Continuation of HEBR 405. Course for advanced knowledge of spoken and written standard Modern Hebrew with emphasis on Modern Hebrew literature and language, Israeli newspapers and Israeli television programs.
HEBR 407. Topics in Modern Hebrew Language and Literature, I
Selected readings from modern Hebrew authors, with emphasis on the novel and short story; lectures and discussions on Hebrew literature and aesthetics; and detailed analysis of formal Hebrew grammar.
HEBR 408. Topics in Modern Hebrew Language and Literature, II
Selected readings from Modern Hebrew literature with emphasis on short stories and plays, lectures and discussions on Hebrew literature and other fine arts in Hebrew.
HEBR 414. Advanced Biblical Hebrew
In-depth study of the grammar and syntax of selected texts from the Hebrew Bible. Texts to be studied will change from year to year. Selections will cover the full range of biblical genres and styles, including prophecy, law, historical narrative, psalms, and wisdom literature.
Department of History, 309 Gregory Hall, 333-1155
HIST 135. History of the Islamic Middle East
Introduction to fourteen centuries of Middle East history from the rise of Islam to modern times. Examines the development of Islamic thought, and of religious, social, and political institutions, as well as the transformations of the 19th and 20th centuries, in the area consisting of Egypt, the Fertile Crescent, Arabia, Turkey, and Iran.
HIST 252. The Holocaust
Exploration of the Holocaust in historical perspective by examining European anti-Semitism, political developments in Germany, the rise to power of the Nazis, and the origins of the Holocaust with first-hand accounts, films, and historical texts, concluding with the legacy of the Holocaust in the contemporary world.
HIST 268. Jewish History to 1700
Examination of the Jewish past from its beginnings to the dawn of the modern age. Explores the place of Jewry in ancient, Islamic and Christian societies, as well as internal changes in Jewish culture and society. Same as RLST 268.
HIST 269. Jewish History since 1700
Explores how life was lived by Jewish women and men through the past three centuries. Will also focus on wider place of the Jews in European society, and the achievements and tragedies of the modern Jewish- non-Jewish relationship. Same as RLST 269.
HIST 281. Constructing Race in America
Interdisciplinary examination of the historical, cultural, and social dimensions of race and ethnicity in the United States. Explores the complex and intricate pursuit of multiracial and multicultural democracy. Same as AAS 281, AFRO 281, and LLS 281.
HIST 335. The Middle East 1566-1914
Political, social, cultural, and ideological developments in Egypt, Arabia, the Fertile Crescent, Iran and Turkey from the mid 16th century to the eve of World War I. Premodern society and institutions, the question of "decline" and "awakening", encounters with Europe and self-strengthening reforms, relations between Muslims, Christians, and Jews, the role of women and the family, and class formations.
HIST 337. The Middle East in the Twentieth Century
Political and ideological developments in Egypt, Arabia, the Fertile Crescent (including Israel), Iran, and Turkey from World War I to the present, with emphasis on the period to the 1960s; economic, social, and cultural trends in the region also addressed.
HIST 355. Soviet Jewish History
An examination of how Jewish life and culture contributed to the creation of the world's first socialist society. Makes use of primary sources, scholarly essays and monographs, archival documents, literature, memoirs, film, and visual culture as a way of introducing students to Soviet Jewish History, from the reign of the last tsar, Nicholas II, to the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991. Special topics to be examined include: the breakup of the Pale of Settlement during the Great War; the role of Jews in revolution and revolutionary culture; Soviet nationality policy; shtetl culture; antisemitism; everyday life; the purges of the 1930s; the Jewish experience in World War II; the Holocaust; and mass emigration.
HIST 433. The History of the Jews in the Diaspora
Deals with the history of the Jewish people from the destruction of the Jewish state by Rome to the reestablishment of a Jewish state in 1948. The emphasis is on the interaction between the Jewish and non-Jewish worlds as well as changes internal to the Jewish communities. Same as RLST 434.
HIST 456. Twentieth-Century Germany
Political upheavals of twentieth-century Germany; topics include the First World War's impact on German society, the war's revolutionary aftermath, the political struggles and cultural achievements of the Weimar Republic, the rise of Hitler, the Third Reich, the Holocaust, the Second World War, and the divided postwar Germanies; novels and films complement readings.
HIST 472. Immigrant America
History of immigration and immigrant groups in the United States from 1830 to 1980. Covers major waves of immigration and focuses on the diverse cultural heritage, social structure, and political activism of immigrants from Europe, the Americas, and Asia.
HIST 495/498D. Family in HIstory
The family is in flux. The legalization of same-sex marriage in a number of countries is the latest in a series of developments since the mid-twentieth century that have re-shaped family ideology and family life itself in much of the world. However, there never was a "traditional family" to be undone. Instead, there was an older family ideal, only occasionally realized in practice, which was invented two centuries earlier. In this course we will be surveying historic Euro-American family ideals and practices, their export to the non-Western world, and recent developments from no-fault divorce to same-sex marriage. In addition to readings and discussions, students will research and present on a topic related to the family in history - as practiced, as idealized, as legislated, and so on.
Department of Philosophy, 105 Gregory Hall, 333-2889
PHIL 230. Introduction to the Philosophy of Religion
Introduction to philosophical analysis of religious thought and experience. Same as RLST 230.
Department of Political Science, 361 Lincoln Hall, 333-3881
PS 347. Government and Politics of the Middle East
Analyzes the transformation of Middle Eastern society from Morocco to Iran, as case studies in political modernization. The politics of the area are studied with special reference to causes and character of modernization, role of leadership, ideologies and institutions, methods and theories for analyzing political systems undergoing fundamental transformation, and implications for U. S. policy. Same as ASST 347.
Department of Religion, 3080 Foreign Language Building, 333-0473
RLST 101. The Bible as Literature
Themes and literary genres in the Bible, emphasizing content important in Western culture. Same as CWL 111, ENGL 114.
RLST 106. Archaeology and the Bible
Examination of archaeological evidence, especially from Syria-Palestine, and discussion of its use in the interpretation of Biblical literature.
RLST 108. Religion and Society in the West I
Introduction to classic writers and texts in Western religious and social thought form antiquity to the Enlightenment, with emphasis on their social and historical contexts. Same as ANTH 108, PHIL 108, and SOC 108.
RLST 109. Religion and Society in the West II
Introduction to classic writers and texts in Western religious and social thought from the Enlightenment to the present, with emphasis on their social and historical contexts. Same as ANTH 109, PHIL 109, and SOC 109.
RLST 110. World Religions
Survey of the leading living religions, including Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam; examination of basic texts and of philosophic theological elaborations of each religion. Same as PHIL 110.
RLST 116. Faith and Self in Global Context
Whether in fourth-century North African, tenth-century Japan, fourteenth-century Spain, or twentieth-century America, men and women have wrestled with the question of who they are and how they are to relate to the world. Through autobiographic writings, by reading the words of women and men attempting to make sense of the world and their place in it, we hope to focus attention on the personal dimensions of faith and of cross cultural contact at the same time that we provide an introduction to the worlds' major religions.
RLST 120. A History of Judaism
Conceptions of the Holy-Man and His Holiness within the Judaic tradition: the Man of God, the worldly Scribe, the Philosopher-king, Holiness through the heart, the mind and the law, Holiness through study, Holy Land, Holy Tradition, and the New Holy Man. Same as HIST 168.
RLST 130. Jewish Customs and Ceremonies
The major festivals and life-cycle rituals of Judaism; focuses on sacred time, interaction of external and internal factors producing change and conservatism, relationship of ritual and theology, and the thematic development inherent in the rituals.
RLST 201. Hebrew Bible in English
Analyzes the critical issues in the interpretation of the literature of the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament; surveys the history and religion of Ancient Israel with special reference to Israel's setting in the ancient Near East.
RLST 220. Jewish Storytelling
Course will introduce the great Jewish storytellers such as Nachman of Bratslav, Scholem-Aleichem, and I.B. Singer through readings of Yiddish tales, short stories, poetry, drama and excerpts from novels and autobiographies from the 19th and 20th centuries. In addition, Yiddish films and folklore will be used to exemplify the variety of Jewish cultural expression in Eastern Europe, Russia, and America. Course will also present a sample of critical approaches to Yiddish literature. Taught in English translation. Same as CWL 221 and YDSH 220.
RLST 221. American Judaism
Forms of Judaism in America: Reform, Conservative, Reconstructionist, Orthodox, and Hasidic Judaism; the American rabbi; Zionism in America; American Jewish communal life; national Jewish organizations; the American synagogue; and the secular Jew. Prerequisite: Completion of campus Composition I general education requirement.
RLST 235. History of Religion in America
Examines the religious history of the lands that have become the United States and the people who have become known as Americans through texts written by and about people of all races and creeds. From the precontact era through the twentieth century, this course emphasizes the diversity of American religion, the discord caused by and present in American religion, and the many instances of dialogue that have been a part of America's religious history. Same as HIST 289.
RLST 242. The Holocaust: Religious Responses
The theoretical foundation for ideas of national and racial superiority which attended the holocaust and responses to this phenomenon by major Jewish and Christian thinkers, including Rubenstein, Buber, Fackenheim, Berkowitz, Reuther, and Wiesel.
RLST 283. Jewish Sacred Literature
Literary study of the major post-biblical sacred texts of Judaism; includes readings in translation from Mishnah, Tosefta, Talmudim, midrashim, piyyutim, and mystical treatises. Emphasizes nature, history, function, and development of literary patterns and forms and the relationships between form and content in these texts. Same as CWL 283, ENGL 283.
RLST 320. Literary Responses to the Holocaust
Course introduces a variety of Jewish literary responses to the Holocaust written during and after the Second World War (from 1939). The discussion of Holocaust memoirs, diaries, novels, short stories, poems, and other texts will focus on the unique contribution of literary works to our understanding of the Holocaust. In addition, the works and their authors will be situated in their Jewish cultural historical context. Taught in English translation. Same as ENGL 359 and YDSH 320.
RLST 415. Introductory Readings of the Talmud
Introduces students to the rhetoric, vocabulary, grammar, and argumentation of the Babylonian Talmud. The students will read, translate, and analyze portions of the Babylonian Talmud daily in class.
RLST 416. Readings in Rabbinic Midrash
Introduces students to the rhetoric, vocabulary, grammar, and argumentation of the Rabbinic Midrashic Collections, especially Mekhilta, Sifre Deuteronomy, and Bereshit Rabbah. The students will read, translate, and analyze portions of these collections daily in class.
RLST 442. History of Early Judaism
The history of Judaism from Ezra to the rise of Islam: Hellenism and Judaism, varieties of Judaism, Palestinian Judaism and its documents, Babylonian Judaism, the rabbis, and popular Jewish culture. Same as HIST 432.
RLST 443. Ancient Near Eastern Cultures
Examines the literature and religious practice of the great civilizations of the Near East, particularly the Sumerian, Assyro-Babylonian, Egyptian, Canaanite and Hittite cultures.
RLST 458. Christians and Jews 1099-1789
Examines the complex relations between Christians and Jews in Europe from the high Middle Ages through the Enlightenment. Among our topics are the religious and social roots of medieval persecutions of Jews; the history of Jewish banishments; construction of myths to foment hostilities; Renaissance humanism (especially the Christian absorption of Jewish scholarship); the impact of the Christian reform movements, both Protestant and Catholic, on the status of Jews; mercantilism and the re-admission of Jews; and the emergence of a discourse of religious tolerance in the Enlightenment. Same as HIST 458.
RLST 496. Topics in the History of Judaism
RLST 498. Topics in Biblical Studies
RLST 594. Genesis in History
Survey of Jewish and Christian cultural reception of Genesis in the ancient and medieval worlds. Examines techniques of exegesis and strategies of interpretation in the ancient world, such as allegory, narrative expansion, and retelling. Engages with foundational studies of modern scholarship on biblical reception. While focusing on the initial chapters of Genesis, we will also explore the appropriation of Abraham traditions and the Joseph story.
Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures, 3080 Foreign Language Building, 333-0680
RUSS 261. Introduction to Russian-Jewish Culture
Introduction to the interaction of the intellectual, artistic, political, social, and religious life of the Jewish community in Russia through film, literature, art and historical record. Same as HIST 261.
RUSS 465. Russian-Jewish Culture
Study of Russian-Jewish cultural, social, and political life through literature and film.
School of Social Work, 1010 W. Nevada Street, Urbana IL 61801, 333-2261
SOCW 300. Diversity: Identities & Issues
This introductory course explores multiple dimensions of diversity in a pluralistic and increasingly globalized society. Using a social work strengths perspective as well as historical, constructivist, and critical conceptual frameworks; the course examines issues of identity, culture, privilege stigma, prejudice, and discrimination. The social construction and implications of race, class, gender, sexual orientation, and other dimensions of difference is examined at individual, interpersonal, and systems levels. Students are expected to use the course material to explore their personal values, biases, family backgrounds, culture, and formative experiences in order to deepen their self-awareness and develop interpersonal skills in bridging differences. Finally, students apply learning from the course to identify characteristics of effective social work and other health and human service provision among people culturally different themselves; and to identify opportunities for change contributing to prejudice reduction and cross-cultural acceptance at home, work and in society.
SOCW 473. Immigration, Health & Society
Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures, 2090 Foreign Languages Building, 333-1288
YDSH 101. Elementary Yiddish, I
Course develops basic conversational and reading skills as well as the essentials of Yiddish grammar.
YDSH 102. Elementary Yiddish, II
Continuation of YDSH 101 focusing on comprehension and reading skills.
YDSH 103. Intermediate Yiddish, I
Continuation of YDSH 102. Develops more advanced conversational, comprehension, reading and writing skills as well as introducing more advanced features of Yiddish grammar.
YDSH 104. Intermediate Yiddish, II
Continuation of YDSH 103.
YDSH 220. Jewish Storytelling
Course will introduce the great Jewish storytellers such as Nachman of Bratslav, Scholem-Aleichem, and I.B. Singer through readings of Yiddish tales, short stories, poetry, drama and excerpts from novels and autobiographies from the 19th and 20th centuries. In addition, Yiddish films and folklore will be used to exemplify the variety of Jewish cultural expression in Eastern Europe, Russia, and America. Course will also present a sample of critical approaches to Yiddish literature. Taught in English translation. Same as CWL 221 and RLST 220.
YDSH 320. Literary Responses to the Holocaust
Course introduces a variety of Jewish literary responses to the Holocaust written during and after the Second World War (from 1939). The discussion of Holocaust memoirs, diaries, novels, short stories, poems, and other texts will focus on the unique contribution of literary works to our understanding of the Holocaust. In addition, the works and their authors will be situated in their Jewish cultural historical context. Taught in English translation. Same as ENGL 359 and RLST 320.