Fall 2012 Courses

Fall 2012 Courses

FilmHistory | International and Public Affairs | Jewish Studies | MESAAS  | Music | Philosophy | Religion | Slavic Languages & Literatures | Sociology | Yiddish/Germanic Languages and Literatures



FILM W4145 Topics in World Cinema: Contemporary Israeli Film

Call Number: 29596   Points: 3

Day/Time: M 6:10pm-9:00pm   Location: 411 Kent

Instructor: Raz Yosef


The last decade has marked the growing visibility and worldwide interest in Israeli cinema. Films such as Yossi and Jagger, Or, My Treasure, Beaufort , and Waltz with Bashir have been commercially and critically successful both in Europe and the United States and have won a number of prestigious international awards. The course will examine the new ideological and aesthetic trends in contemporary Israeli cinema. One of the most striking phenomena in contemporary Israeli cinema is the number and scope of films dealing with past traumatic events – events that were repressed or insufficiently mourned, such as the memory of the Holocaust, traumas from wars and terrorist attacks, and the losses entailed by the experience of immigration. Traumatic events from Israeli society’s past are represented as the private memory of distinct social groups: soldiers, immigrants, women, gays. These groups feel duty-bound to remember the past, recasting repressed memories through the cinema in order to return and to give meaning to their identity. The course will explore these issues, critically viewing contemporary Israeli films and using feminist, postmodern and trauma and memory theories.


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HIST W3628 History of the State of Israel

Call Number: 73602   Points: 3

Day/Time: MW 2:40pm-3:55pm   Location: 310 Fayerweather

Instructor: Michael Stanislawski


The political, cultural, and social history of the State of Israel from its founding in 1948 to the present.


HIST W4645 Jews in Early Modern Europe: Spinoza to Sabbatai

Call Number: 15996   Points: 3

Day/Time: W 9:00am-10:50am   Location: 513 Fayerweather

Instructor: Elisheva Carlebach


The early modern period is one of dramatic transformation in Jewish and in Western European history. This survey course will examine how the expulsion and resettlement of Jews intersected with new cultural and political developments in Western Europe [1492-1789] with particular emphasis on the transition from medieval to modern patterns. We will study how the movements of Renaissance and Reformation and new political ideas intersected with Jewish life in European lands. We will look at the effect of print culture on  Jewish intellectual and cultural life, the rise of Kabbalah (Jewish mysticism), and Jewish skepticism as embodied in the thought of Spinoza, through beginnings of the quest for civil Emancipation.


HIST W4180 Religious Conversion in Historical Perspective

Call Number: 69445   Points: 4

Day/Time: W 4:10pm-6:00pm   Location: 311 Fayerweather

Instructor: Elisheva Carlebach


Boundary crossers have always challenged the way societies imagined themselves. This course explores the political, religious, economic, and social dynamics of religious conversion. The course will focus on Western (Christian and Jewish) models in the medieval and early modern periods. It will include comparative material from other societies and periods. Autobiographies, along with legal, religious and historical documents will complement the readings.


AMHS W4655 The Holocaust and American Culture

Call Number:  25942   Points: 4

Day/Time: R 11:00-12:50   Location: 302 Fayerweather

Instructor: Rebecca Kobrin


When the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. opened in 1993, people asked why a ‘European’ catastrophe was being memorialized alongside shrines to Washington, Jefferson, and Lincoln. One answer is that in the years since World War II, the experience and memory of the Holocaust have deeply shaped American culture. The course explores how Nazism and the Holocaust have been understood, interpreted and constructed by American scholars and the larger American society since the 1930s. This course considers how American scholars and laymen saw these phenomena through the analysis of different types of sources that lay bare the numerous conflicting perspectives on this regime and its policies present in American society. We will examine documentary films, television shows, memoirs, survivor testimonies, as well as legal documents and other scholarly and popular representations of the Holocaust. This course highlights how the codification of the Holocaust as a specific historical epoch and Nazism as a movement changed America in the following ways: by engendering a distrust of the masses among liberal intellectuals; by promoting civil liberties and religious toleration; by encouraging a view of the Soviet Union as equivalent to Nazi Germany; by making the imperatives of protecting human rights and stopping genocide central to foreign policy; and by providing a new focus for American Jewish identity.


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 REGN U4690 Palestinian/Israeli Security Dilemma

Call Number: 93634   Points: 3

Day/Time: T 2:10pm-4:00pm   Location: 402 International Affairs Building

Instructor: Naomi Weinberger


Competing Palestinian and Israeli national aspirations have generated security dilemmas for each, with broad regional reverberations. The partition formula which failed to heal the conflicts of the Palestine mandate era still dominates the discourse on conflict resolution, but domestic and regional opponents stymie its implementation. This course examines the evolution of Palestinian resistance, Israeli foreign policy debates, Egypt's early leadership in war and peacemaking, Iran's rising influence, and the credibility of mediatory efforts by the US and other third parties. We will consider whether the international community can help remedy the absence of human security in the West Bank and Gaza and ongoing Israeli security dilemmas by facilitating realization of a two-state solution.


REGN U6690 Contemporary Israeli Politics

Call Number: 87288   Points: 3

Day/Time:  W 2:10pm-4:00pm   Location: 405A International Affairs Building

Instructor: Anat Maor


The goal of this course is to study and explore the power structure and mechanisms of the contemporary Israeli political arena. Students in the course will encounter the complexity, challenges, and difficulties faced by the young democracy of Israel. A mock election will contribute to the students' understanding and assimilation of Israel's political system


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JWST W4110 Migration in Modern Jewish Literature

Call Number: 28535    Points: 3

Day/Time: R 9:00am-10:50am    Location: 513 Fayerweather

Instructor: Rafi Tsirkin-Sadan


Migration had the greatest influence on Jewish history in the modern era. During the 20th century more than 4 million Jews left Eastern Europe, which was the largest Jewish center for centuries, on their way to Israel, North America, and Western Europe. During the course we will discuss representations of this tremendous phenomenon in various literary texts. The course is composed of four sections. The first one will focus on the issue of exile and the cultural crisis of Jewish centers in Eastern Europe in turn of 20th century. In the next section we will focus on typologies of migration to Pre-State Israel, and to North American and Russian cities. In the third unit we will turn to texts which deal with a Jewish emigrant's visit back to the declining Jewish centers in Eastern Europe. The fourth and final section of the course will be dedicated to literary representations of post-Holocaust displacement and mass immigration following the collapse of the Soviet Union.


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MDES W1510 1st Year Modern Hebrew: Elem I

Section 001

Call Number: 19851   Points: 5

Day/Time: MTWR 11:40am-12:45pm   Location: 116 Knox

Instructor: Rina Kreitman

Section 002

Call Number: 18829   Points:  5

Day/Time: MTWR 1:10pm-2:15pm   Location:  114 Knox

Instructor: Illan Goren


This is an introductory course for which no prior knowledge is required. Equal emphasis is given to listening, speaking, reading, writing and grammar. Daily homework includes grammar exercises, short answers, reading, or paragraph writing. Frequent vocabulary and grammar quizzes.


MDES W1512 2nd Year Modern Hebrew: Inter I

Section 001

Call Number: 67172   Points: 5

Day/Time: MTWR 1:10pm-2:15pm   Location:  116 Knox

Instructor: Rina Kreitman

Section 002

Call Number: 21074   Points: 5

Day/Time:  MTWR 11:40am-12:45pm   Location: 901 Schermerhorn

Instructor:  Illan Goren


Prerequisites: Prerequisite: MDES W1511 or the equivalent. Equal emphasis is given to listening, speaking, reading and writing. Regular categories of the Hebrew verb, prepositions, and basic syntax are taught systematically. Vocabulary building. Daily homework includes grammar exercises, short answers, reading, or short compositions. Frequent vocabulary and grammar quizzes.


MDES W1517 Hebrew for Heritage Speakers I

Call Number: 15281   Points:  4

Day/Time:  MTWR 11:00am-11:50am   Location:  112 Knox

Instructor:  Nehama Bersohn


Hebrew for Heritage Speakers I forms part of a year-long sequence with Hebrew for Heritage Speakers II. The course is intended for those who have developed basic speaking and listening skills through exposure to Hebrew at home or in day-school programs but do not use Hebrew as their dominant language and have not reached the level required for exemption from the Columbia language requirement. Heritage speakers differ in the degree of their fluency, but their vocabulary is often limited to topics in daily life and many lack skills in reading and writing to match their ability to converse. The course focuses on grammar and vocabulary enrichment, exposing students to a variety of cultural and social topics in daily life and beyond. By the end of the semester students are able to read and discuss simple texts and write about a variety of topics. Successful completion of the year-long sequence prepares students to enroll in third-year modern Hebrew.


MDES W4510 3rd Year Modern Hebrew

Call Number:  68648   Points:  4

Day/Time: TR 9:00am-10:50am   Location:  112 Knox

Instructor:  Nehama Bersohn


Prerequisites: Hebrew W1513 or W1515 or the instructor's permission. Students are expected to have basic familiarity with regular and irregular verbs in five categories of the Hebrew verb system: Pa'al, Pi'el, Hif'il, Hitpa'el and Nif'al. The course focuses on vocabulary building and on development of reading skills, using adapted literary and journalistic texts with and without vowels. Verb categories of Pu'al and Huf'al are taught systematically. Other verb forms are reviewed in context. A weekly hour is devoted to practice in conversation. Daily homework includes reading, short answers, compositions, listening to web-casts, and giving short oral presentations via voice e-mail. Frequent vocabulary quizzes. 


MDES W3529 Variants of the Israeli Novel

Call Number: 87499   Points: 3

Day/Time: MW 2:40pm-3:55pm   Location: 502 Northwest CO

Instructor: Dan Miron


This course will provide an historical view of the Israeli novel throughout its sixty years of existence, and, at the same time, focus thematically on the main issues Israeli fiction grappled with. It will start with the reading of texts which offer a critical hindsight view of the development of the Zionist project throughout the first half of the twentieth century both in pre-mandatory and in mandatory Palestine, then turn to Israel itself during its early days (the 1950s), and to the conflicts and dichotomies which eventually changed its character, such as the emerging awareness of the devastating and lingering impact of the Holocaust, the unrelenting and seemingly unsolvable Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and the coarsening of the fiber of Israeli society once it forfeited the idealistic halo of its years of nascence.


MDES G4247 Jewish & Islamic Medieval Literature

Call Number: 16946   Points:  3

Day/Time: R 11:00am-12:50pm   Location: 501 International Affairs Building

Instructor: Alan Verskin


The historian Marshall Hodgson invented the term “Islamicate” to refer to cultural phenomena which do not pertain to the Islamic religion but which have been historically associated with places in which Muslims live. Thus a synagogue built in Egypt might exhibit Islamicate architecture but would have no formal association with Islam itself. In this course we will read some of the great works written by Muslims and Jews in the medieval Islamic world. We will examine what features of these works made them appealing across religious boundaries. We will explore what makes a work Islamicate and in what ways these features were considered by these authors to be separate from Islam itself. Thus, for example, we will investigate how the works of the Jewish philosopher Maimonides can be Islamicate, but not Islamic and how this made it possible for them to be read and enjoyed by Muslim audiences. All texts will be provided in English translation.


CLME G6530 Dynamics of Israeli Culture

Call Number: 12268   Points:  3

Day/Time: T 9:00am-10:50am   Location: 522C Kent

Instructor: Dan Miron


The course will survey the development of Israeli Literature within three time sections and along the evolving process of its three main genres. The time sections are those a) the birth of Israeli literature in the aftermath of the 1948 War (the 1950s); b)the maturation of Israeli literature during the 1960s and 1970s; c) Israeli Literature in the era of the peace process and the Intifadas (1980s and 1990s). The genres are those of lyrical poetry, prose fiction (mainly novels), and drama. The course will also follow the crystallization of three sets of Israeli poetics: the conservative (realistic) one, the modernist, and the post-modernist ones. All texts will be available in English translations. Participation does not depend on former knowledge of Hebrew or Israeli literature.


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MUSI V2030 Jewish Music in New York

Call Number: 23280   Points: 3

Day/Time: MW 4:10pm-5:25pm   Location: 814 Dodge

Instructor: Mark Kligman


This course will look at musical life of Jews in three broad contexts: art music, popular music, and non-European traditions.  This will include liturgical, para-liturgical, folk, pop, rock and the growing practices that synthesizes styles and genres.  From the mid 1600s until today Jews immigrated from Europe, South America, the middle East and Asia to America, New York City is the focal point of this migration.  The music of Jews in New York is diverse, dynamic and eclectic.  During the semester there will be visits to various venues to meet composers and performers and to investigate the ongoing dialogue of preserving tradition and innovating new ideas to express and encounter Jewishness in New York today.


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PHIL V3357 Maimonides' Guide of the Perplexed

Call Number: 68445   Points:  3

Day/Time: TR 11:40-12:55   Location: 702 Hamilton

Instructor: Zev Harvey


The Guide of the Perplexed, written in Arabic by Moses Maimonides (1138-1204), is the most influential book in medieval Jewish philosophy. It was the last great work in the Arabic Aristotelian traditon founded by the Muslim philosopher Alfarabi. It had a decisive influence on future Jewish philosophers, including Spinoza; and also had a deep impact on Christian philosophers, like Aquinas. It is a difficult but enchanting book, composed in the form of a puzzle. We shall read together Maiminides' Guide against the background of Greek, Hebrew, and Arabic thought, and try to unravel its secrets.


PHIL G4170 Medieval Philosophy

Call Number: 86780   Points: 3

Day/Time: R 2:10-4:00   Location:  201D Philosophy

Instructor: Zev Harvey


Latin, Arabic, and Hebrew philosophy from the 4th to the 14th century, including Augustine, Alfarabi, Avicenna, Anselm, Ibn Gabirol, Averroes, Maimonides, Aquinas, Duns Scotus, and Crescas


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RELI V3501 Intro to the Hebrew Bible

Call Number: 06829   Points: 3

Day/Time: TR 10:10am-11:25am   Location:  327 Milbank (Barnard)

Instructor:  Beth Berkowitz


An introduction, by critical methods, to the religious history of ancient Israel against the background of the ancient Near East. Introduction to the literature of ancient Israel against the background of the ancient Near East.


RELI W4537 Talmudic Narrative

Call Number:  04002   Points:  4

Day/Time: R 2:10pm-4:00pm   Location:  227 Milbank (Barnard)

 Instructor:  Beth Berkowitz


This course examines the rich world of Talmudic narrative and the way it mediates between conflicting perspectives on a range of topics: life and death; love and sexuality; beauty and superficiality; politics and legal theory; religion and society; community and non-conformity; decision-making and the nature of certainty.  While we examine each text closely, we will consider different scholars’ answers – and our own answers – to the questions, how are we to view Talmudic narrative generally, both as literature and as cultural artifact?


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CLSL W4995 Central European Jewish Writers

Call Number: 20390   Points: 3

Day/Time: TR 6:10pm-7:25pm   Location: 408 Hamilton

Instructor:  Ivan Sanders


Examines prose and poetry by writers generally less accessible to the American student written in the major Central European languages: German, Hungarian, Czech, and Polish. The problematics of assimilation, the search for identity, political commitment and disillusionment are major themes, along with the defining experience of the century: the Holocaust; but because these writers are often more removed from their Jewishness, their perspective on these events and issues may be different. The influence of Franz Kafka on Central European writers, the post-Communist Jewish revival, defining the Jewish voice in an otherwise disparate body of works.


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SOCI W3930 Immigration & Ethnic in Israel

Call Number:  67696   Points:  4

Day/Time:  T 4:10pm-6:00pm   Location: 707 Knox

Instructor:  Yinon Cohen


This seminar will focus on migration patterns to and from Israel and their effect on the ethnic composition and cleavages in Israeli society. We will discuss Jewish immigration and emigration in the pre-state period, Arab forced migration in 1948, Jewish immigration to Israel until the 1967 war, and migration patterns from the late 1960s until the present. In addition, we will discuss Jewish emigration from Israel, which is viewed as a major social problem. The focus will be on the number of emigrants, their composition, the causes for emigration, return migration, and on the question of the brain drain from contemporary Israel.



SOCI G6160 Israeli Society – Special Topics

Call Number:  12102   Points: 3

Day/Time: T 12:10pm-2:00pm   Location:  707 Knox

Instructor:  Yinon Cohen


This semester the seminar will focus on migration patterns to and from Israel. The seminar has two main parts. The first focuses on immigration patterns to Palestine/Israel from the late 19th century until the present. We will discuss Jewish immigration in the pre-state period, Arab forced migration in 1948, Jewish immigration to Israel until the 1967 war, and migration patterns from the late 1960s until the present. The second part of the course discusses emigration from Israel since 1948, which is viewed as a major social problem. The focus will be on the number of emigrants, their composition, the causes for emigration, return migration, and on the question of the brain drain from Israel.


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GERM G4265 Jews in German Culture

Call Number: 19213   Points:  3

Day/Time: T 4:10pm-6:00pm   Location:  401 Hamilton

Instructor: Mark Anderson


This course will examine the contested notion of a 'German-Jewish symbiosis' in German literature and culture from the Enlightenment to the Holocaust. Works by Salomon Maimon, Fichte, Chamisso, Meyerbeer, Heine, Auerbach, Kafka, Benjamin and Scholem.


YIDD W 1101 Elementary Yiddish

Call Number: 77588   Points:  4

Day/Time:  TRF 10:10am-11:25am   Location:  316 Hamilton

Instructor:  Alyssa Quint


With the instructor's permission the second term may be taken without the first. Thorough study of elementary Yiddish grammar, with reading, composition, and oral practice. The cultural and linguistic background of the language is discussed.


YIDD W1201 Intermediate Yiddish

Call Number:  64756   Points:  4

Day/Time: TRF 1:10pm-2:25pm   Location:  404 Hamilton

Instructor: Alyssa Quint


Prerequisites: YIDD W1101-W1102 or the instructor's permission. Continuing study of grammar on a higher level. Continuing oral practice; readings from texts of significant literary value dealing with important aspects of Jewish life and culture.


YIDD W1202 Intermediate Yiddish II

Call Number: 81503   Points:  4

Day/Time:  TR 2:40pm-3:55pm   Location:  404 Hamilton

Instructor:  Alyssa Quint


Prerequisites: YIDD W1101-W1102 or the instructor's permission. Continuing study of grammar on a higher level. Continuing oral practice; readings from texts of significant literary value dealing with important aspects of Jewish life and culture.


CLYD W3500 Humor in Jewish Literature

Call Number: 74671   Points: 3

Day/Time: TR 2:40pm-3:55pm   Location:  503 Hamilton

Instructor:  Jeremy Dauber


Through an analysis of far-flung examples of comic Jewish literature created by Jews over three centuries and three continents, this course will attempt to answer two questions. First, are there continuities in Jewish literary style and rhetorical strategy, and if so, what are they? And second, can Jewish literature help us to understand the tensions between universality and particularity inherent in comic literature more generally? Works and authors read will include Yiddish folktales, Jewish jokes, Sholem Aleichem, Franz Kafka, Philip Roth, Woody Allen, and selections from American television and film, including the Marx Brothers, Mel Brooks, Woody Allen, Jerry Seinfeld, and Larry David.


YIDD W3800 Readings in Yiddish Literature: Studies in Jewish Language and Culture

Call Number: 68463   Points: 3

Day/Time: F 10:10am-12:00pm   Location: 404 Hamilton

Instructor: Miriam Hoffman


This course will be exploring the traditional structure and the collective expression of Jewish Culture as a national sense of identity, while integrating into the unfamiliar modes of the surrounding world.  The Yiddish language was the central means of national Jewish expression throughout its thousand year European sojourn while reflecting two thousand years of Jewish upheaval and creative upswings on the European continent.    


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