Short Course Description
In this class we will explore the development of Jewish culture in America during the last half century. As we do so, we will pose broad questions about human community, race, memory and immigration. We will closely read seminal literary works by authors such as Philip Roth, Grace Paley, Saul Bellow, Adrienne Rich, Isaac Bashevis Singer, Nicole Kraus and others. We will view films such as The Gentlemen's Agreement (Elia Kazan), A Serious Man (Coen brothers) and Fiddler on the Roof (Norman Jewison), as well as excerpts from popular television shows such as The Goldbergs and Curb Your Enthusiasm. We will grapple with the controversial question of if and how Jews 'became white' in America and why that matters. More broadly, we will explore themes of social inclusion and exclusion, markers of Jewish difference, the problem of responding to the Holocaust, American assimilation and its discontents, and the power of language to create or erase community.
Full syllabus is to be published
Requirements: Attendance, four weekly responses, weekly readings, take-home exam at the end of the class