Current Courses

Course Offerings

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

SUMMER 2020 

TERM I (05/26-06/26)

The Holocaust - JUST 345 - Gen Ed: C , N
Time: Distance Learning
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
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 (07/06-08/07)
Religions of the World - RELG 101/ JUST 100 / AFST 180E - Gen Ed: G, H
Time: Distance Learning
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:  C , G , N
Time: Distance Learning
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.

Contested Judaism – JUST 384E / RELG 380B  - Gen Ed: C, N
Time: Distance Learning
Instructor: Blake McCabe
This course will address the definitions of Judaism and boundaries of membership. Who is a Jew? How is this defined in law both in the Talmud and by Israel? How has the definition changed throughout history? This is not just a theoretical question of belonging to a group, but one which affects civil rights. What are these civil rights and who are the people considered contested? This course will explore issues of immigration, emigration, civil rights, religious practice and the effects of decision made by the Rabbinate on both those in Israel and groups that identify as Jewish in Diaspora, including the US, India, Ethiopia, among others.

         FALL 2020
   JUDAIC STUDIES

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.

Survey of American Jewish Literature - JUST 140 - Gen Ed: C, H
Cross listed: COLI 180R / ENG 280B
Time: W 4:40-7:40
Instructor: C. Beth Burch
Through the Golden Door: Survey of American Jewish Literature: This course traces through literature the realities and challenges of being Jewish in America from after the Civil War to the present. We will read in all genres, exploring topics such as the immigrant experience, acculturation and assimilation, anti-Semitism, generational conflicts and differences, gender issues, and continuing themes in the body of work. Quizzes, short pieces of writing, mid-term examination, and final examination. 

Jewish History Ancient to 1500 - JUST 201- Gen Ed: G, N
Cross listed: RELG 280A / CLAS 280J / HIST 285E
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. 

Antisemitism in History - JUST 280N – Gen Ed: G
Cross listed: RELG 280B / HIST 285E
Time: T/R 1:15 - 2:40
Instructor: Allan Arkush
This course will begin with an examination of the roots of Jew-hatred in ancient times and the Middle Ages.  It will concentrate on the emergence of modern antisemitism in 19th century Europe and the ways in which it spread throughout the world in the 20th and 21st centuries.   The course will focus on antisemitic ideologies as well as antisemitic mass movements.  

Jews and Muslims - JUST 331 – Gen Ed: G, N
Cross listed: RELG 380E / HIST 384P
Time: M/W/F | 10:50 - 11:50
Instructor: Dina Danon
This course offers a survey of Jewish-Muslim relations from the emergence of Islam through the modern period. Beginning with the medieval period, topics covered include the relationship between Islam and peoples of the Book, Jewish communal life and self-government, participation in Mediterranean trade, the world of the Cairo Geniza, and intellectual and cultural achievements of the “Golden Age of Spain.” Moving to the early modern and modern periods, topics covered will include Jewish life in the Ottoman lands, the rise of European imperialism, the dissolution of empire and the emergence of nationalism. IF YOU HAVE TAKEN JUST 257 YOU MAY NOT RECEIVE CREDIT FOR JUST 331.

American Jewish Women Writers  - JUST 340 – Gen Ed: H, O
Cross listed: COLI 480B / ENG 380A/ WGSS 383A
Time: T | 4:25 - 7:25
Instructor: C. Beth 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:  ISRL 380C / COLI 380B / ENG 380M
Time: T | 4:25 - 7:25
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
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.

Contemporary Jewish Identities- JUST 384E- Gen Ed: C, H   
Cross listed: RELG 380A / HIST 385G
Time: W | 5:50 - 8:50
Instructor: Allan Arkush
This course will examine diverse articulations of Jewish identity in contemporary fictional and non-fictional writings.  It will focus on a large number of American, Israeli and European intellectuals who approach the question of Jewish identity in very different ways. The figures to be studied represent secular, religious, Zionist, anti-Zionist, universalist and particularist outlooks and are often engaged in dispute with each other.     

Gender in Jewish History - JUST 484D - Gen Ed:
Cross listed:  HIST 485G / WGSS 484A
Time: W | 1:10 - 4:10
Instructor: Dina Danon
This seminar foregrounds the study of gender in the wider Jewish historical experience.  Beginning in antiquity and continuing up until the present day, the course asks how constructions of maleness and femaleness impacted Jewish communities, institutions, and individuals in religious, cultural, social, and economic life. The course also seeks to reconstruct the lives of Jewish women over time, and in doing so will draw on case studies from across the Sephardi, Ashkenazi, and Mizrahi diasporas.  

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
Time: M/W/F | 12 - 1
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.

Christianity - RELG 120 - Gen Ed: 
Time: M/W/F | 10:50 - 11:50
Instructor: Douglas Jones
As the largest of the world’s religions, most people in the United States have some ingrained sense of what, precisely Christianity involves. However, we often miss the diversity of belief and practice existing under the umbrella of a monolithic tradition. Taking as “Christian” any movement which identifies as such, this course explores the rich diversity of the faith from the first century to the present Topics include the evolution of orthodox theology, millennialism and utopianism, reform and revolution, Christianity in the age of Trump, modern televangelism, and religious violence.

ISRAEL 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.

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.

LANGUAGES - HEBREW and YIDDISH


Hebrew I - HEBR 101 - Gen Ed: FL1
Time: M/T/W/R | 9:40 - 10:40
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 | 1:10 - 2:10
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 | 10:50 - 12:50
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.