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Course Offerings

As always, check BUonline for the latest updates and the Harpur Bulletin for course descriptions and details.

Download the JUST Academic Planning Chart here (pdf, 320KB)

Summer 2019

TERM I


The Holocaust - JUST 345A - Gen Ed: C , N
Time: Distance Learning, Term I
Instructor: Gina Glasman
The Holocaust: A Victims' History How did the Jews of Europe respond to German occupation and its machinery of death during the Second World War? Our class will explore an answer to this question by seeking to reconstruct a history of the Holocaust through the voices of its victims. We will examine various forms of contemporary testimony including diaries and the spoken word. Works of history, as well as documentary cinema, will also frame our conversation about chronicling the effects of Nazi genocide through the surviving record of the murdered and the dead.

American Jewish Thought - JUST 352 - Gen Ed: C , H , P
Time: Distance Learning, Term I
Instructor: Randy Friedman
This course offers both a historical and a theological study of the American Jewish community, from its origins through contemporary times. We engage central historical and sociological studies of American Jews in relation to Protestant, Catholic, and Baptist Americans, as well as other minority groups. We will also examine central philosophical and theological texts in American Judaism. Students will also read short works of American Jewish literature. We will examine how specific Judaic thinkers transform aspects of the Judaic tradition to fit the challenges of religious life in the modern and democratic age, and the response(s) to this transformation. Question include: the relationship between theology and democratic culture, challenges to inherited religious traditions, the influence of feminist thought on religious practice, and the place and function of religious authority. The final third of the term will be spent analyzing rabbinic rulings on homosexuality and same-sex marriage.

 

TERM II

Religions of the World - RELG 101 - Gen Ed: G, H
Cross listed: JUST 100 / AFST 180E 
Time: Distance Learning, Term II
Instructor: Douglas Jones
What does it mean to study various religions from an academic perspective? How do we, as outsiders at a public university, discuss different traditions responsibly? Answering questions like these and developing our skills as scholars of religion is of no small importance in an increasingly global society. This class will take a thematic approach to a number of traditions, including Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Prominent themes include the history of Religious Studies as a discipline, religion and popular culture, religion and violence, the history of utopian thought, and the status of new and controversial movements across the globe.

Law and Society in the Middle Ages - JUST 280P - Gen Ed: N , W
Time: Distance Learning, Term II
Instructor: Michael Kelly
Medieval law is practically synonymous with violence, conjuring up images of amputated digits, burnings at the stake, legalized vengeance and murder, and other gruesome acts. In part, this is a fair representation – medieval law was at times the nastiest bit of society and at all times a form of moral and political domination. Medieval law was more than this, though. Much of medieval law and the legal communities that were its product, and vice versa, were governed by complex civil litigation that had its origins in the law of Roman Empire and early "barbarian" kingdoms. In this class, we learn about these laws and codifications, about medieval jurisprudence and debates on constitutionality and precedent, customary law, etc. We will see too how medieval law changed as it approached law and society of the emerging early modern state, capitalism and secularism. All readings will be provided in English.

American Jewish Thought - JUST 352 - Gen Ed: C , H , P
Time: Distance Learning, Term II
Instructor: Randy Friedman
This course offers both a historical and a theological study of the American Jewish community, from its origins through contemporary times. We engage central historical and sociological studies of American Jews in relation to Protestant, Catholic, and Baptist Americans, as well as other minority groups. We will also examine central philosophical and theological texts in American Judaism. Students will also read short works of American Jewish literature. We will examine how specific Judaic thinkers transform aspects of the Judaic tradition to fit the challenges of religious life in the modern and democratic age, and the response(s) to this transformation. Question include: the relationship between theology and democratic culture, challenges to inherited religious traditions, the influence of feminist thought on religious practice, and the place and function of religious authority. The final third of the term will be spent analyzing rabbinic rulings on homosexuality and same-sex marriage.


 

FALL 2019

Intro to Judaic Studies - JUST 101 - Gen Ed: H
Cross listed: RELG 180A
Time: T/R | 10:05-11:30
Instructor: Randy Friedman
This survey course, appropriate for first and second year students, will examine the course of Jewish history, philosophy, culture and religion through over three millennia. The course will include key sections of the Hebrew Bible, Rabbinic writings, medieval and early modern philosophy, as well as 19th and 20th century political works, art, and literature. No background is required.

Jewish History Ancient to 1500 - JUST 201- Gen Ed: G, N
Cross listed: RELG 280A / HIST 285E / CLAS 280J
Time: M/W/F | 9:40-10:40
Instructor: Michael Kelly
This survey course examines the history, culture, philosophy, religion, and political experiences of Jews from the Biblical period through the second temple period, to the medieval period. Themes include the relationship between Jews, Christians and Muslims, Jews under foreign political rule (Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, Romans), and the social and economic history of Jews in Europe through the middle ages.

Jewish Non-Profit Organizations - JUST 259 - Gen Ed: J
Cross listed: HDEV 259 / RELG 280D
Time: T/R 10:05-11:30
Instructor: Barbara Goldman-Wartell
The Jewish Non-Profit Organizations course will look at the organizations and systems that make up the Jewish community in the United States. The goal of the course is to deconstruct the concept of "community" and to understand how institutions fulfill the purposes of community. We will introduce the course by learning about the history of the Jewish community and Jewish communal institutions in the U.S. and how they came to create the landscape of organizations that exist today. We will also use different tools for analyzing organizations and how they function. The main part of the course will explore the rich, diverse and complex landscape of Jewish communal organizations that exist today. We will cover many types of organizations, some emerging organizations and how they fit into the landscape of the Jewish Non-Profit world.

Capitalism' Past – JUST 281C- 2cr Mini-course
Time: Second half of semester // W | 6:00 – 9:00
Instructor: Michael Kelly
Capitalism's Past: A History of Non-Modern Capitalism (2cr mini-course) The aim of this course is to interrogate the idea that capitalism has existed and can exist in non-Modern worlds. We do this by way of critical inquiries and readings into the idea of capitalism – what it is, what it does, what it means to historians, etc. – in relation to the economic history of the Mediterranean and associated regions from the periods of the Roman Empire to the Middle Ages (c. 100 bc - ad 1500). Our guiding question is seemingly straightforward: did capitalism exist in the pre-modern world and, if so, what did it look like? This is hardly a simple question, one that is complicated first of all – in addition to its inherent lack of consideration of crises – because of its implicit premise that there is a consistent and agreed-upon definition of capitalism.

The Jewish American Novel - JUST 310 - Gen Ed: C, H
Cross listed: COLI 381N / ENG 300Z
Time: W | 4:40-7:40
Instructor: Beth C. Burch
In 1977, critic of Jewish culture Irving Howe lamented what he feared was the end of American Jewish literature: "What," he worried, "is the likely future of American Jewish writing? Can we expect a new generation of writers to appear who will contribute to American literature a distinctive sensibility and style derived from the Jewish experience in this country?" We address that question by reading Jewish American novels from early immigration through the golden era of Jewish American literature (1960s and 1970s) to present day. Reading- and writing-intensive: ten novels, in-class close readings/writings, two papers.

American Jewish Women Writers - JUST 340 - Gen Ed: H, O
Cross listed: COLI 480B / ENG 380C / WGSS 280H
Time: M | 4:40-7:40
Instructor: Beth C. Burch
This course will survey texts written in English by American Jewish women from the Civil War to the present as they move out of the kitchens and sweatshops and onto their own pages. Exploring the historical context surrounding their work, we will address chiefly the writers' contributions in fiction and non-fiction, focusing on key issues of immigration, acculturation, assimilation, family, sexuality, religious practice, and the experience of being or becoming American. Requirements: frequent oral reading and active class participation; two formal presentations related to the background reading; written critiques of others' presentations; quizzes, final examination, and full-on class participation.

Holocaust Literature - JUST 341 - Gen Ed: C, H
Cross listed: COLI 380B / ENG 380M
Time: M 4:40-7:40
Instructor: Paul-William Burch
Students in this course read literature of the Holocaust, the Churban, or the Shoah—including diaries, journals, memoirs, fiction, poetry, and works of popular culture, informed by the belief that literary responses to the Holocaust are, as the poet Paul Celan has written, in themselves "material evidence of that which-occurred." The course includes works by First Generation writers, victims and survivors of the Shoah who bear direct witness to the horror, as well as pieces by Second Generation writers—that is, children and "offspring" of Holocaust survivors who bear witness to the witnesses and to events that they did not live through but that shaped their lives.
Prerequisite: Sophomore standing. Cross-listed with English and Comparative Literature. Not for First year students.

Jewish New York - JUST 351 - Gen Ed: H, P, W
Cross listed: HIST 380B
Time: T/R | 4:25-5:50
Instructor: Gina Glasman
From Pogroms to the Promised City - An exploration of why Eastern European Jews came to New York in the era of mass migration and what they made of city life once they arrived. Jewish New York is a study in both urban and immigrant history, examining how a newly arrived society responded to America's signature metropolis in an urban moment of extraordinary dynamism.

Modern Yiddish Culture - JUST 354 - Gen Ed: H, J
Cross listed: YIDD 354 / GERM 380H
Time: T/R | 11:40 - 1:05
Instructor: Gina Glasman
In the half century before the Second World War, a Yiddish ­speaking "Jewish Street" stretched from Buenos Aires to Boston, from London to Lodz, with many cities in between. What characterized the culture of this mostly urban and modernizing society is the subject of this class. Cinema and short stories, poetry and politics provide our vehicle to explore the world of Eastern European Jewry in a time of radical transformation and approaching catastrophe (all material is in English). Note: If a student has already taken a 200-level version of Modern Yiddish Culture they will not receive credit for this course.

At Home in the Diaspora - JUST 375- Gen Ed: C, G
Cross listed: ISRL 380C / RELG 380F / HIST 385N
Time: T/R | 1:15 - 2:40
Instructor: Allan Arkush
This course will trace the emergence of positive attitudes toward the worldwide dispersion of the Jews from the 19th century to the present. It will examine the rejection of the idea that Jews living outside of Palestine are by definition in Exile, the diverse ideologies of the proponents of diaspora nationalism, the diasporists' critique of Zionism and their involvement in the establishment of alternative Jewish homelands – both in fact and in fiction.

Sephardi Diasporas - JUST 384A - Gen Ed: G, N
Cross listed: ARAB 386G / HIST 381L
Time: T/R | 11:40 - 1:05
Instructor: Dina Danon
Charts emergence of the western and eastern Sephardi diasporas in the wake of the Expulsion of 1492. Topics covered include settlement in port cities, involvement in Mediterranean and Atlantic mercantile networks, the converso experience, mass migration to Ottoman lands, encounter with Islam, the rise of Ladino, the impact of westernization, the rise of nationalism and 21st century Sephardi communities.

Jews and Crime - JUST 384B - Gen Ed: W
Cross listed: HIST 385H
Time: T/R | 1:15 - 2:40
Instructor: Jonathan Karp
This course examines both the stereotypes surrounding Jewish criminality and specific cases of Jews' actual involvement in criminal activity, from criminal gangs in nineteenth-century Europe and prostitution rings in early twentieth-century Latin America, to the rise of Jewish mobsters like Louis "Lepke" Buchalter and Meyer Lansky in mid-twentieth-century America. We try to put Jewish criminality in historical perspective, examining the role it played in non-Jews' perceptions and in the Jewish community's own efforts to come to terms with the reality and image of criminals in their midst.

Moses Mendelssohn's World - JUST 384E - Gen Ed: H, W
Cross listed: RELG 380A
Time: W | 5:50 - 8:50
Instructor: Allan Arkush
This course will explore the writings and activities of the 18th century German Jewish philosopher and social reformer Moses Mendelssohn and its impact on the Jews of the Western world in modern times. It will concentrate on Mendelssohn's philosophy of religion and his struggles with Jewish and non-Jewish contemporaries. The course will also focus on his heirs and his critics in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Honors – Research Seminar - JUST 498 – 2cr
Time: W | 1:10 - 2:40
Instructor: Randy Friedman
Research Seminar for students accepted into the Judaic Studies Honor's Program. This 2-credit course includes workshops on research, thesis development, and writing. At the end of the Fall term students will have produced a precis or abstract, as well as a bibliography. Students will continue in JUST 499 Honors in the Spring to write and submit and Honor's Thesis or equivalent creative work.

RELIGIOUS STUDIES

Religions of the World - RELG 101- Gen Ed: G, H
Cross listed: JUST 100 / AFST180E / ANTH 180C
Time: T/R | 11:40-1:05
Instructor: Doug Jones
What does it mean to study various religions from an academic perspective? How do we, as outsiders at a public university, discuss different traditions responsibly? Answering questions like these and developing our skills as scholars of religion is of no small importance in an increasingly global society. This class will take a thematic approach to a number of traditions, including Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Prominent themes include the history of Religious Studies as a discipline, religion and popular culture, religion and violence, the history of utopian thought, and the status of new and controversial movements across the globe.

The Bible and Its Interpretation - RELG 361- Gen Ed: C, H
Cross listed: JUST 361
Time: M/W/F | 1:10 – 2:10
Instructor: Douglas Jones
This course takes a comparative approach to the history of biblical interpretation by looking at diverse communities within the Jewish and Christian traditions. How have these communities used the Bible to understand their place in history, address present tribulations, and even predict the future? What major conflicts have arisen over the issue of interpretation? Some topics include the theme of movement in the Torah and rabbinical tradition, 18th and 19th century biblical scholarship, the meaning of allegory in Catholic and Protestant interpretation, and the so-called literal sense of scripture. We will also close by considering the issue of biblical interpretation as it relates to new religious movements in America.

ISRAEL STUDIES

Intro to Israeli Literature - ISRL 120 - Gen Ed: G, H
Cross listed: JUST 120 / COLI 180P
Time: T/R | 10:05-11:30
Instructor: Lior Libman
This survey course introduces students to texts (poems, short stories, novels) and themes (nation-building, conflict, gender constructions, ethnic and religious tensions) in Israeli literature from 1948 to the present. We will place literary works within their historical, cultural and political contexts and examine them to illustrate the main features of the time. Texts will be read in translation. No previous knowledge is required. The course is a Core Course for the Minor in Israel Studies, a Literature Course for the Major/Minor in Hebrew, and an Area Course in Israel Studies for the Major/Minor in Judaic Studies.

Modern Israel - ISRL 150 - Gen Ed: N
Cross listed: JUST 150 / HIST 150
Time: T/R | 11:40-1:05
Instructor: Shay Rabineau
This course presents an overview of the history of Israel from its origins in the Zionist movement to the present. Key topics include: political relations and international diplomacy leading to the establishment of the state in 1948; Israel's wars with its neighbors; conflict with the Palestinians; religion and government; internal divisions between Ashkenazic and Sephardi/Mizrachi Jews; and Israeli cultural life. No previous knowledge is assumed or required. Students who had taken the course under the original number will not receive credit for re-taking the course with the new number.

Cultures and Society in Israel - ISRL 227 - Gen Ed: G, N
Cross listed: JUST 227 / ANTH 280C / LING280E
Time: M/W/F | 9:40-10:40
Instructor: Assaf Harel
This course examines the complexity of contemporary Israeli culture and society. To gain an introductory understanding of Israeli experiences today, we will begin with the formation of political Zionism and move on to engage with the increasing diversity of Israeli society and culture. We will explore central themes in Israeli life such as religion and secularism, minority majority relations, military, gender, sexuality, pop culture and globalization. Throughout the course, we will critically discuss the readings, films and clips in order to develop a reflexive awareness of our own analytical and personal positions in relation to the subject matter. In addition, you will pursue individual research projects that will deepen your familiarity and understanding of a sociocultural question pertaining to Israel and thus gain training in research, writing and presentation skills. By the end of this course, you will possess basic knowledge and analytical tools that will enable you to critically examine Israeli culture and society.

Walking the Land - ISRL 321 - Gen Ed: H, O
Cross listed: JUST 321 / HIST 321
Time: T/R | 2:50 - 4:15
Instructor: Shay Rabineau
Walking The Land: Hiking and Pilgrimage in Modern Israel/ Palestine/ The Holy Land - This course explores the religious traditions and political movements that have attached significance to the act of walking the land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, beginning in the late Ottoman period and continuing to the present day. Students who had taken the course under the original number will not receive credit for re-taking the course with the new number.

The Kibbutz in Israeli Culture - ISRL 324 - Gen Ed: H
Cross listed: JUST 380D
Time: T/R | 1:15-2:40
Instructor: Lior Libman
The course focuses on representations of the kibbutz, a unique Israeli social formation which aimed at combining Zionism and Socialism, nation-building and the construction of a new, just society. Throughout the past hundred years, the kibbutz has been portrayed in countless literary texts and visual images. In this class, we will analyze and discuss selected literary and cinematic works from different genres and periods to examine the history of the kibbutz-image and the relationship between it and the kibbutz's history, while also asking, in a broader context, how social and political visions are shaped in, and are shaping, images. Texts will be read in translation. No previous knowledge is required, but for students who took Intro to Israeli Lit. this course will be a continuation of their studies. The course is an Area Course in Literature for the Minor in Israel Studies, a Literature Course for the Major/Minor in Hebrew, and an Area Course in Israel Studies for the Major/Minor in Judaic Studies.

Encountering Israel & Palestine - ISRL 346 - Gen Ed: N, W
Cross listed: JUST 346 / RELG 380D
Time: W | 1:10 – 4:10
Instructor: Assaf Harel
Few places attract as much spiritual and political attention as the Israeli and Palestinian space. This course offers students the possibility of gaining a better understanding of Israeli and Palestinian realities through exploration of lived experience of the local people. Rather than taking a comprehensive historical approach, it allows student to engage in brief yet critical intellectual encounters with central elements of Israelis and Palestinian lives such as religion, politics, violence and the mundane.

LANGUAGE

Hebrew I - HEBR 101- Gen Ed: FL1
Time: M/T/W/R | 8:30 – 9:30
Instructor: Orly Shoer
Hebrew 101 is the first semester of Modern Hebrew. The course is designed only for students with very little or no previous experience in the language. It offers a communicative introduction to Modern Hebrew language and its culture. It emphasizes all facets of the language – comprehension, speech, reading, grammar and writing. The focus of instruction is on enabling students to develop basic vocabulary and communicative skills in Modern Hebrew centering on the students' immediate surroundings and simple daily activities.
By the end of the course students will be able to read and write short stories, voice their opinion, converse and use basic grammar. Prerequisites: None

Hebrew III - HEBR 203 - Gen Ed: FL3
Time: M/W/F | 9:40 – 10:40
Instructor: Orly Shoer
Hebrew 203 is the third course in the Modern Hebrew program sequence, and the last course needed to fulfill the Binghamton University's foreign language requirement. It focuses on increasing students' confidence in using the language in different social settings. This course is designed to advance the Hebrew learner to the intermediate-high level by introducing complex grammatical structure forms and sentences. Grammar teaching covers three of the main verb structures. The course concentrates on improving speaking, writing, as well as, working on text analysis and comprehension skills. Prerequisites: HEBR 102 with a grade of C- or better, a placement exam, or permission of the instructor.

Texts and Conversations I - HEBR 311 - Gen Ed: FL3
Time: M/W/F | 10:50 – 11:50
Instructor: Orly Shoer
Hebrew 311 is an advanced-intermediate Hebrew language and culture course that is intended for students who wish to further develop their vocabulary building and practice all four language skills, with an emphasis on reading comprehension, grammar, syntax, composition, vocabulary building and conversation. Students will advance their Hebrew language skills through reading, discussing and writing about a variety of texts, with some emphasis placed on short articles. Prerequisites: HEBR 204 with a grade of C- or better, a placement exam, or permission of the instructor.

Yiddish I - YIDD 101 - Gen Ed: FL1
Cross listed: JUST 180A
Time: M/W/F | 10:50 – 11:50
Instructor: Gina Glasman
Yiddish 101 is the first semester of the Yiddish language course sequence and is intended for beginners. It introduces students to the Yiddish language and its culture. It emphasizes all facets of the language – comprehension, speech, reading, grammar and writing. The focus of instruction is on enabling students to develop basic skills.

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Last Updated: 5/28/19