Courses - Spring 2021

View all Jewish Studies courses in the SF State Bulletin.

Spring 2021 Jewish Studies Course Offerings

JS 301 Introduction to Judaism*

Gross, Th 11:00 a.m.–12:15 p.m. Bichronous

“Now, I know I haven’t been the best Jew, but I have rented Fiddler on the Roof and I will watch it,” says Homer Simpson. What is Judaism? What is Jewishness? Who are Jews? What do they do and what do they believe? This class starts with the Hebrew Bible and keeps going until the present day, asking all the big questions along the way.

Course Attributes: UD-C Arts and/or Humanities; Social Justice
Zero Cost Course Materials

JS/HIST 332 Ancient and Medieval Jews Among Pagans, Christians, and Muslims*

Astren, Tu/Th 5:00 p.m.–6:15 p.m. Synchronous

Why does no one dress up as a Jew at the Renaissance Fair, when Jews were an integral part of Renaissance Italy? What does it mean to say that there was a Golden Age of the Jews of Medieval Muslim Spain? How did Jews negotiate relationships with the peoples among whom they lived and with whose cultures they participated? This is a course that has it all. Persians, Greeks, Romans, the Caliphate, and the Church. Venice and Constantinople, kingdoms and empires. Judah Maccabee, Jesus, Rabbi Akiva, and Muhammad. Charlemagne, Maimonides, the mad caliph al-Hakim, and Richard the Lionheart. Rabbis, philosophers, Jewish aristocrats in Spain, and Jewish courtiers in Egypt.

Mystics, messiahs, and musicians.
Course Attributes: Global Perspectives; UD-C: Arts and/or Humanities
Zero Cost Course Materials

JS 408/CINE 314 Israeli Cinema

Kaplan, Mo 11:00 a.m.–12:15 p.m. Bichronous

This course provides a wide-ranging survey of Israeli cinema. The story of modern Israel is the tale of the conflict between East and West, between Arabs and Jews, and between the Jewish past and the Zionist ethos. It is the story of a transformation from a predominantly militaristic society that fought for its independence to a modern, self-doubting, and pluralistic nation that openly questions its past and constituting myths.

Course Attributes: UD-C Arts and/or Humanities; Global Perspectives
Zero Cost Course Materials

JS/HIST 421 Food Fights: The Politics of American Jewish Consumption

Gross, Th 2:00 p.m.–3:15 p.m. Bichronous

“You don't have to be Jewish to love Levy's Real Jewish Rye,” the 1960s advertisement said. You don't have to be Jewish to love talking about American Jews and food, either. This course explores issues of religion, power, gender, and politics through the ways that American Jews have eaten, drunk, and fought about food.

Zero Cost Course Materials

JS/PHIL/HUM 501 Judaism, Christianity, and Islam

Astren, Tu 12:30 p.m.–1:45 p.m. Bichronous

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 come 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!

Course attributes: UD-C: Arts and/or Humanities; Global Perspectives
Zero Cost Course Materials

JS/ENG/WGS 546 20th Century American Jewish Women Writers

Weiss, Tu 4:00 p.m.–6:45 p.m. Synchronous

This course surveys texts associated with American Jewish women writing in the Modern Period by focusing on the effects and influences of gender, ethnicity, race, historical experience, religion, class, and cultural practice. Understanding America to be a broad signifier for regions and countries beyond the United States, we will work with an expanded notion of Jewish American identity that insists on the necessity of other languages besides English as the vehicles for expressing Jewish women's experiences. With that multilingual end in mind, we examine how the need for Jewish tradition intersects with how Jewish women have reimagined the religion, culture, and desire, to include previously excluded female experiences. Thus, students will explore a spectrum of Jewish women writing in, from, and about the United States to suggest themes and issues pertinent to a global tradition of women’s writing. Although this course emphasizes novels primarily, we will also analyze poetry, essays, and plays, when such works enhance the themes of the course.

Course attributes: Amer Ethnic & Racial Minorities; Global Perspectives; UD-C: Arts and/or Humanities

JS 548/HIST 416 - The Jewish Sixties: A Journey Through the Social Protest Movements of the 1960s

Dollinger, Mo/We 11:00 a.m.–12:15 p.m. Synchronous

It’s not quite “Sex, Drugs, Rock’n’roll” and the Jews, but it’s close. We’ll study Dylan, Streisand, and Koufax. We’ll dive into free speech, Vietnam, feminism, and Zionism too. You will get to hear challenging new ways to think about the civil rights movement and the rise of ethnic politics. Missing something? Just let Professor Dollinger know and we could add it to the list! Join us…

Course Attributes: American Ethnic & Racial Minorities; Social Justice
Zero Cost Course Materials

JS 560/IR 530 - The Arab-Israeli Conflict

Kaplan, Mo 3:30 p.m.–4:45 p.m. Bichronous
This course offers an examination of the origins and causes of the Arab-Israeli conflict, beginning in the late nineteenth century and during the British Mandate of Palestine (1917-1948). The course examines the Arab-Israeli wars since 1948 and the attempts to end the confrontation since 1967.

Course Attributes: UD-D Social Sciences; Global Perspectives
Zero Cost Course Materials

*Modern Jewish Studies major core course

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