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Judaism and Race

RELI 479
Fall 2011
Section: 01  
Certificates: Jewish and Israel Studies

Before race became a named category used to differentiate between human bodies, Jewish converts to Catholicism in medieval Spain became suspect subjects due to the "purity" of their "blood" (limpieza de sangre). Beginning with the Spanish debates regarding pure and impure bodies, this course traces the relationship between Jews and racial categories to the 21st century. The course focuses on how evolving definitions of "race" and "Jewishness" have correlated and conflicted in varied and sometimes surprising ways. We will read about theories of race, examine their direct ties to European colonial projects, and discuss the pervasive impact of these theories and projects on contemporary societies. We will consider questions such as, What does "race" mean in particular times and places? How have Jews been racialized and how have Jews represented themselves in terms of racial categories? Why does race continue to inform social thought and institutions in such prominent ways and how do we situate Jews in these contexts? Case studies will address the question of Jewish "whiteness" in various geographical contexts, crypto-Jews in the United States, and mizrahim ("eastern" Jews) in Israel.

Essential Capabilities: Intercultural Literacy, Speaking
Students will regularly participate in discussions about a variety of Jewish cultures, histories, and identities.
Credit: 1 Gen Ed Area Dept: SBS RELI
Course Format: SeminarGrading Mode: Graded
Level: UGRD Prerequisites: None
Fulfills a Major Requirement for: (RELI)(SISP-Reli Conc)
Past Enrollment Probability: 90% or above

Last Updated on APR-19-2014
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