Spring 2012 Courses

Spring 2012 Courses

Film | History  |  MESAAS  | Philosophy | Religion | Germanic Languages and Literatures 



JWST W4101 Israeli Film

Call Number: 17654   Points: 3

Day/Time: M 6:00pm-10:00pm   Location: 301M Fayerweather

Instructor:  Avner Faingulernt


The aim of this class is to question and analyze the main thrust and thematic evolution of Israeli documentary cinema since 1960.  The course will attempt to draw a portrait of Israel as seen through a collection of films. It will focus on the major conflicts that the new state of Israel and its society confronted and confront and how these conflicts expose the unconscious streams of identity within a society in conflict with itself.


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HIST W3611 Jews & Judaism in Antiquity

Call Number: 87042   Points: 3

Day/Time: MW 9:10am-10:25am   Location: TBD

Instructor: Seth Schwartz


This course surveys the history of the Jews and Judaism from Cyrus the Great until the Muslim Conquest. It will focus on hellenization, the emergence of sectarianism, the beginnings of Christianity and of Rabbinic Judaism, and the crisis precipitated by the arrival of Rome.


HIST W4615 Tradition: Growing Up in the Shtetl

Call Number: 11501   Points: 4

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

Instructor: David Assaf


The seminar will focus on traditional Jewish life, in the Eastern European towns known as shtetlekh, from the early modern period until late 19th century. Through study of various primary sources, mainly memoirs, autobiographies, stories and poetry, we will portray the everyday life, especially childhood and adolescence, and the confrontation between tradition and modernity.


HIST G8612 Hasidism in the Eyes of Opponents

Call Number: 63146   Points: 4

Day/Time: R 2:10pm-4:00pm   Location: 302 Fayerweather

Instructor: David Assaf


The colloquium will look closely at the historical Hasidic movement, its doctrine, innovations and the nature of their leaders through the eyes of their ardent opponents. The religious and social confrontation between Hasidim and other circles of Eastern European Jewish traditional society,  whether the Lithuanian Mitnagedim or the Galician Maskilim, will be studied in light of the distorted mirror provided by polemic and satiric texts from the 1770s until the 1880s. The colloquium will focus on close reading of primary Hebrew sources.


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MDES W1511 1st Year Modern Hebrew: Elementary II

Section 001:

Call Number: 26348   Points: 5

Day/Time: MTWR 9:10am-10:15am   Location: 114 Knox Hall

Instructor: Zipora Rubin

Section 002:

Call Number: 27947   Points: 5

Day/Time: MTWR 12:00pm-1:05pm   Location: 325 Pupin Laboratories

Instructor: Rina Kreitman


Prerequisite MDES W1510 or the equivalent: based on performance on the placement test. Continued introduction to Hebrew, with equal emphasis on all languages skills.


MDES W1513 2nd Year Modern Hebrew: Intermediate II

Section 001:

Call Number: 24780   Points: 5

Day/Time: MTWR 8:45am-9:50am   Location: 103 Knox Hall

Instructor: Michal Nachmany

Section 0002:

Call Number: 60822   Points: 5

Day/Time: MTWR 10:35am-11:40am   Location: 313 Pupin Laboratories

Instructor: Rina Kreitman

Section 003:

Call Number: 29607   Points: 5

Day/Time: MTWR 12:00pm-1:05pm   Location: 411 Hamilton Hall

Instructor: Nehama Bersohn


Prerequisite MDES W1512: Equal emphasis is given to all language skills. Irregular categories of the Hebrew verb, prepositions and syntax are taught systematically. Vocabulary building. Daily homework includes grammar exercises, short answers, reading, or writing short compositions. Frequent vocabulary and grammar quizzes. (Students completing this course fulfill Columbia College and Barnard language requirement.)


MDES W1516 Intermediate Hebrew: Intensive Grammar Review 

Call Number: 81761   Points: 4

Day/Time: MTWR 1:10pm-2:00pm   Location: 101 Knox Hall

Instructor: Zipora Rubin


For advanced students with a Hebrew school background, who wish to review, systematize and expand their knowledge of the language through an intensive study of grammar, especially the Hebrew verb system. Readings include selections from Modern Hebrew literary and journalistic texts. Discussion and compositions in Hebrew. Students placed in this course have to take only one semester to fulfill their college language requirement in Hebrew. 


MDES W4511 3rd Year Modern Hebrew II

Call Number: 77034   Points: 4

Day/Time: TR 10:00am-11:50am   Location: 410 Knox Hall

Instructor: Nehama Bersohn


Prerequisites MDES W4510 or MDES W1515 or the instructor's permission: Focus on transition from basic language towards authentic Hebrew, through reading of un-adapted literary and journalistic texts without vowels. Vocabulary building. Grammar is reviewed in context. A weekly hour is devoted to practice in conversation. Daily homework includes reading, short answers, short compositions, listening to web-casts, or giving short oral presentations via voice e-mail. Frequent vocabulary quizzes.


MDES W3541 Zionism: A Cultural Perspective

Call Number: 11787   Points: 3

Day/Time: MW 2:40pm-3:55pm   Location: 516 Hamilton

Instructor: Dan Miron


The course, based on Zionist texts of various kinds, will offer a view of Zionism as a cultural revolution aimed at redefining Judaism and the Jewish Identity.


CLME G6530 Dynamics of Israeli Culture

Call Number: 81784   Points: 3

Day/Time: T 9:00am-10:50am   Location: 201D Philosophy

Instructor: Dan Miron


Sh. Y. Agnon - the Early Work (1908-1931). This graduate seminar will focus on Agnon's search for his own literary voice against the background of the poetic options Hebrew prose fiction of the beginning of the twentieth-century offered. Agnon's "dialogues" with I.L Peretz, M.J. Berdichevsky, J.H. Brenner, U.N. Gnessin as well as his attitude toward contemporary European Realism, Impressionism, and Symbolism, will be explored. Among the texts which will be analyzed: Agunot, The Good Years, Nights, Miriam's Well, The Crooked Shall Be Made Straight, The Tale of the Scribe, The Banished One, In the Prime of her Life, Ovadia the Cripple, Poland, With Our Young and with Our Old, and The Bridal Canopy.

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PHIL V3910 Maimonides and Spinoza

Call Number: 23384   Points: 3

Day/Time: M 11:00am-12:50pm   Location: 513 Fayerweather

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 is a difficult but enchanting book, composed in the form of a puzzle. It had a formative influence on Baruch Spinoza (1632-1677), whose early reading in philosophy was in Jewish texts and who read the Guide in Hebrew translation. We shall read Maimonides’ Guide together with Spinoza’s Theological-Political Treatise and his Ethics, both written in Latin. Our focus will be on Spinoza’s use and criticism of Maimonidean themes. All texts will be read in English translation.


PHIL G4095 Medieval Hebrew Philosophic Texts

Call Number: 67002   Points: 3

Day/Time: M 4:10pm-6:00pm   Location: 513 Fayerweather

Instructor: Zev Harvey


This course will discuss readings from major medieval Hebrew philosophic works. We will look at Maimonides’ (1138-1204) Book of Knowledge, his systematic presentation of the foundations of religion, science, law, and ethics; Shemtob Falaquera’s (c. 1225-1295) Epistle of the Debate, a lively philosophic dialogue between a philosopher and a fundamentalist; Wars of the Lord by Levi Gersonides (1288-1344), the most important Jewish Aristotelian after Maimondies; Light of the Lord by Hasdai Crescas (c. 1340-1410/11), the most important Jewish anti-Aristotelian; and finally Book of Principles by Joseph Albo (d. after 1433). Discussions will be based on the original Hebrew texts, but readings are also available in English translation.


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RELI W4807 Divine Human Animal

Call Number: 60530   Points: 4

Day/Time: R 2:10pm-4:00pm   Location: 602 Northwest Co

Instructor: Jonathan Schorsch


This seminar offers coverage of an increasingly popular and important perspective on the construction of culture and the definition of the human, by means of animals.  Taking a more or less historical approach, the course will focus on "thinking with" animals (in Levi-Strauss's phrasing) through the lens of the religious imagination.  The concentration will be primarily on "Western" religious cultures, especially Judaism and questions of Jewishness.


RELI W4812 Angels and Demons

Call Number: 64691   Points: 4

Day/Time: T 2:10pm-4:00pm   Location: 602 Northwest Co

Instructor: Jonathan Schorsch


Angels and demons -- and similar intermediary beings -- comprise a prominent and ubiquitous feature of the cultures influenced by the three major monotheisms, as well as of the cultures influenced by other spiritual traditions.  With a focus on Jewish, Christian and post-religious environments of "The West," this seminar explores the history of angels and demons, and their changing theological meanings, psychological and cultural roles.  We will first survey selected traditional sources from the ancient, medieval and early modern eras -- theology, mysticism, magic, politics.



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YIDD W1102 Elementary Yiddish II

Section 001:

Call Number: 63442   Points: 4

Day/Time: TRF 10:35am-11:50am   Location: 315 Hamilton

Instructor: Miriam Hoffman

Section 002:

Call Number: 23442   Points: 4

Day/Time: TRF 2:40pm-3:55pm   Location: 406 Hamilton


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