Course Offerings

CLCS 3670: War Narratives: Israel & the U.S. – 3 units


This course provides an introduction to the study of cultural narratives (films, novels, short stories, popular music, and poetry) depicting military confrontation in Israel and the United States. The narratives examined in this class include audio, textual, and visual media. The study of the historical and cultural backgrounds of events depicted in these narratives will constitute a major part of the course.


ENGL 5030: Studies in Poetry ("Sacred Verse in Jewish, Christian and Buddhist Traditions: An Interreligious Inquiry") – 3 units


In the ancient world, religious texts, works of prayer and sacred wisdom often took the form of poetry. Psalms, the Song of Solomon and the Book of Common Prayer are all examples of works which blur the boundary between poetry and prayer. After immersing ourselves in the poems of the Hebrew Bible (as well as looking at some contemporary poets who reinterpret these ancient texts, to some surprisingly subversive ends), we will turn to the Christian prayer tradition and examine such powerful works as the mystical poems of Hildegard of Bingen and St. Teresa of Avila. The last sequence of the course will turn from the Western religious tradition to that of the East as we read the "gathas" (hymns) and prayers of the Buddhist tradition. An important part of this course will include several experiential encounters with the various faith traditions that we will make our object of study.


ENGL 5930: Theories of Race/Ethnicity/Nation ("Jews and Other Others") – 3 units


This course will explore the relations between Jews and others, including African Americans, Asians, and Latinos, in the interest of learning more about how racial, ethnic, and sexual difference work to shape that complex concept, known as "Americaness." We will read short stories, novels and watch a few great films as we ask: How has Jewish American writing and culture changed during the twentieth century? How do these representations of Jewish Americans challenge or deepen your understanding of Americans? How does this work change your ideas about religion, race and ethnicity? Does this work perpetuate, or shatter, dearly held beliefs about belonging and identity?


HEBR 3880: Introduction to Biblical Hebrew Culture – 3 units


Introduction to Biblical Hebrew Culture is a course designed to introduce students to the basic skills necessary to begin studying the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament in its original language. Though this course focuses primarily upon the fundamentals of grammar and vocabulary, it also provides students with an introduction to scholarly resources including dictionaries, and lexicons, that will assist in interpreting the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament.


HEBR 4900: Introduction to the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament – 3 units


An exploration of the multiple responses to the Hebrew Bible, from within the Bible itself down to our own times and experiences of it. History, anthropology, mythology, theologies, and readings of the Bible as allegory, as art, and as wisdom guide this course toward a sympathy for its profound indeterminacy.


HEBR 3210: Introduction to Judaism – 3 units


An overview of Jewish tradition, ritual, and practice with a focus on biblical and non-biblical textual sources, from ancient times to the present day. Questions of identity will also be explored, particularly with regard to the history of anti-Semitism, the Jewish Diaspora, political Zionism, and the post-Holocaust Judeo-Christian dialogue. No previous knowledge of Judaism or Hebrew is required.


HEBR/CLCS 3700: Holocaust and Remembrance – 3 units (Humanities Exploration designation)


This course provides an introduction to the study of cultural narratives (films, memories, poetry, and prose) related to the Holocaust. The primary source materials to be examined in this class include audio, textual, and visual media from several different national/linguistic traditions. In addition, we will study short selections of secondary source materials alongside each literary or cinematic narrative in order to illuminate the particular situational context of the events that it attempts to describe. There is no required prerequisite for this course.


HEBR 4300: Contemporary Culture of the Jewish/Israeli World – 3 units


This course focuses on a critical reading of relatively non-canonical literary texts. Examines the specific vocabulary, grammar, poetics, and strategy of such texts to better explore the ideological and socio-political construction of Zionism, ethnicity, religion, history and gender. Readings include works by women, Middle Eastern Jews, and Palestinians. Taught in English.


LANG 2900: Modern Hebrew Conversation –1 unit


This course provides students the opportunity to improve their skills in speaking and listening, to expand their cultural awareness, and to increase their self-confidence in the language. Designed to be taken with 1020, 2010, or 2020, but open to any student not enrolled at the 3000/4000 level. No written work. Credit/Non-Credit grading.