Courses - Fall 2020

View all Jewish Studies courses in the SF State Bulletin.

Fall 2020 Jewish Studies Courses

JS 280 Introduction to Jewish Studies: Lectures in Jewish Studies*
What does studying Jews and Judaism look like? This online course is an introduction the history, religion, literature, politics, and culture of Jews throughout time and around the world through a series of lectures from faculty members in SF State’s Department of Jewish Studies and from cutting-edge researchers in Jewish Studies from the Bay Area and throughout the country.
Gross, T/TH 5:00 p.m. – 6:15 p.m., Online
GE C2: Humanities Lower Division
Zero Cost Course Materials

JS/HIST 318 The Holocaust and Law: Complicity, Dissent, and Correction
How can genocide occur within a society that prides itself on intellectualism, culture, and logic? In studying the Nazi legal system, this course explains how German intellectuals, leaders, lawyers, and civil servants enacted a legal code that moralized, expedited, and condoned the annihilation of minorities (Jews, homosexuals, mentally and physically disabled, and Roma-Sinti) and marginalization of women and Africans. Genocide, unlike crimes of passion, requires planning and logic. This course explores how a society used reason to enact unprecedented mass murder. Lastly, we will examine how the crimes of the Holocaust were dealt with after World War Two and how such trials informed the prosecution of genocide criminals today.
Millet, T/TH 9:30 a.m. – 10:45 a.m.

JS/HUM 379 Jerusalem
For 3,000 years the city that is holy to all three monotheistic religions has known little peace and tranquility and has been the site of wars, conquests, and division. By drawing on historical, literary, religious, and cinematic sources, this course explores the history of Jerusalem from antiquity to the modern period. It examines its place in the religious imagination of Jews, Muslims, and Christians and traces the political history of a city that continues to be a symbol of peace and unity and also one of the most inflammable places on earth.
Kaplan, T/TH 11:00 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.
SF State Studies: Global Perspectives; UD-C: Arts and/or Humanities

JS 405/CINE 314 Film and the Holocaust
Film and the Holocaust surveys the ways in which the Holocaust has been represented. The course explores a wide range of genres—melodrama, horror, comedy, exploitation, etc. In addition, to these narrative approaches, we also survey an array of documentary modes and experimental films.
Kerner, Online

JS 430/I R 430/PLSI 430 Israeli Democracy: Politics, Institutions, and Society*
This course explores the formation and the development of modern Israel. The course follows the transition of modern Israel from a conformist society dominated by Zionist ideology to a society seriously questioning its values, ideals and norms in the age of globalization. By drawing on a variety of sources: political and diplomatic, cultural, literary, cinematic and more, the course examines the ideological origins of Zionist ideology as well as on the place of the Holocaust; the Arab-Jewish conflict; the Ashkenazi-Mizrahi and secular-religious divide in the development of modern Israel.
Kaplan, T/TH 9:30 a.m. – 10:45 a.m.
SF State Studies: Global Perspectives; UD-D: Social Sciences

JS/CWL 437/ENGL 533 The Holocaust and Literature*
Spanish writer Jorge Semprun declared that if he was to survive Buchenwald, the Nazi concentration camp, he would use only literature to represent what had happened to him and all the others taken by the Nazis. French dramatist Charlotte Delbo insisted that to know what happened at Auschwitz, another Nazi concentration camp, one “had to enter the camp,” but that entrance required literature with its special effects on the imagination. Retrace the narratives of Holocaust survivors who conscious of their immediate extermination fashion a “last look” at how to represent their experiences during the Holocaust.
TBD, T 4:00 p.m. – 6:45 p.m.
SF State Studies: Global Perspectives, Social Justice; UD-C: Arts and/or Humanities

JS/HIST 449 American Jewish History*
When Jews first arrived in the Dutch colony of New Amsterdam (now New York) in 1654, one of the very first things they did was try to sue each other. This course examines American Jews agreeing and disagreeing (mostly disagreeing) with each other from the colonial period to the present day. We will move between studies of specific Jewish communities and ideas of national American Jewish communities. What does it mean to be part of a community? What does it mean to be a Jew in the United States?
Gross, T/TH 2:00 p.m. – 3:15 p.m.
American Institutions: United States History; SF State Studies: American Ethnic & Racial Minorities, Social Justice; UD-C: Arts and/or Humanities
Zero Cost Course Materials

JS 485 Modern Israeli Literature
Survey of the works of modern Israeli writers of fiction, poetry, and drama; conceptual underpinnings of modern Israeli aesthetic projects in literature; how Israel’s multilingual heritage marks the modern writer. Modern Israeli literature reflects the real and sometimes surreal essence of life in Israel, which means it is always filled with fiction, poetry, and drama. Lots of drama. Come see how and where your drama converges with one of the world’s most complicated places.
Weiss, M/W 9:30 a.m. – 10:45 a.m.
Zero Cost Course Materials

JS/HUM/PHIL 501 Judaism, Christianity, and Islam
Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are integrally related. They share stories, traditions, values, and histories. Yet, Jews, Christians, and Muslims often take positions in opposition to each other in order to accentuate their differences. In this course the fascinating similarities and differences of these religions are examined through three primary perspectives: revelation, scripture, and interpretation. How do Jews, Christians, and Muslims conceive of divine revelation? What is its purpose in these religions? How does the idea of revelation generate scripture? How and why does scripture require interpretation? Special attention will be given to the stories of Adam and Eve and of Abraham in all three traditions. Besides reading about Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, we will also read religious literature from the three religions in order to comes to grip with religious worldviews and notions of tradition. We will think about how these worldviews differ from the ways we look at the world in our secular society. What is required of students and teachers in a public university to learn and teach about religion? Why is a university approach to religion useful but problematic? Don’t miss the opportunity to take one of the most unique courses in the university!
Astren, M/W 12:30 p.m. – 1:45 p.m., Online
Zero Cost Course Materials

JS 540 Antisemitism
News headlines remind us that antisemitism, from both sides of the political aisle, has reached its highest level since the 1930s. Join us for this seminar-style class as we learn about the history of Jew hatred from the ancient times to now. We’ll explore everything from the charge that Jews killed Jesus, to the blood libel where somehow folks thought that Judaism demanded the murder of Christian children, to the Holocaust, and finally to the ways antisemitism plays out in our current politics and mass media. In your education at State and in life, this class, sadly, is a must.
Dollinger, M/W 11:00 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.
SF State Studies: Global Perspectives, Social Justice; UD-C: Arts and/or Humanities
Zero Cost Course Materials

*Modern Jewish Studies major core course

View Spring 2020 Jewish Studies Courses

View Fall 2019 Jewish Studies Courses