Department of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies

NEJS Spring 2024 Courses

FA / NEJS 43A - Middle Eastern Cities: Navigating the Transition from Empires to Nation-States and the Globalized World

Yuval Evri and Muna Guvenc; M, W 4:05 PM–5:25 PM

Offers an integrated exploration of Middle Eastern literature, urbanism, and architecture. It delves into the vibrant urban heritage of the Middle East, spanning from ancient metropolises like Cairo, Damascus, Istanbul, Jerusalem, and Baghdad. By engaging in a comprehensive examination of Middle Eastern cities, students will acquire profound insights into the region's multifaceted histories, including the impacts of colonialism, imperialism, nation-state formation, and the dynamics within our increasingly globalized world. Usually offered every second year. [CA / DJW / HUM]

NEJS 106A - Ancient Hebrew Inscriptions

Madadh Richey; T, F 9:35 AM–10:55 AM

An introduction to the analysis of Hebrew and related inscriptions from ancient (ca. 1000-586 BCE) Israel, Judah, and neighboring kingdoms in their literary, historical, and linguistic contexts. Usually offered every third year. Prerequisite: NEJS 10a or any 30-level Hebrew course. [HUM]

CLAS / NEJS 106B -Visions of Byzantium

Darlene Brooks Hedstrom; M, W 8:30 AM–9:50 AM

Focuses on the medieval Roman Empire during what is known as the “Middle Byzantine” period from roughly the ninth century until the conquest of Constantinople during the Fourth Crusade in 1204. The course is designed to establish a visual and textual history of the medieval Roman Empire during its height through the analysis of three categories of evidence: documentary sources (papyri, inscriptions); historical narratives (Michael Psellos, Anna Komnena, Michael Attaleiates); and visual culture (excavated material; museum collections). The course also explores the world of historiography surrounding the study of the tenth, eleventh, and twelfth centuries. Usually offered second year. [HUM]

NEJS 115B - Gender and Sexuality, and the Bible

Madadh Richey; T, F 12:45 PM–2:05 PM

The Bible's depiction of gender, relationships, and social values in narrative, poetry, and law. Topics include the legal status of women, masculinity, prostitution, and how particular readings of the biblical text have shaped modern ideas about gender and sexuality. Usually offered every third year. [HUM]

NEJS 117A - Antisemitism: an Intellectual History

Eugene Sheppard; T, F 11:10 AM–12:30 PM

Engages a variety of accounts regarding the origins and developments of the elusive meanings of antisemitism from antiquity to the present. We will focus primarily on the generative tensions between hostile views and acts against Jews/Judaism and Jewish reactions to these phenomena. We will delve into the ever shifting, but often recurring, complex of terms, ideas, beliefs, myths, symbols, and tropes which fuel the antisemitic imagination and forms the reservoir for potential violent action. Usually offered every second year. [HUM]

NEJS 140B - Gender, Ghettos, & the Geography of Early Modern Jews

ChaeRan Freeze; T, Th 3:55 PM–5:15 PM

Examines Jewish history and culture in early modern Europe: mass conversions on the Iberian peninsula, migrations, reconversions back to Judaism, the printing revolution, the Reformation and Counter Reformation, ghettos, gender, family, everyday life, material culture, communal structure, rabbinical culture, mysticism, magic, science, messianic movements, Hasidism, mercantilism, and early modern challenges to Judaism. [HUM]

NEJS 150B - Israeli Civil Society: Diversity, Democracy, and Justice

Edith Pick; Th 2:20 PM–5:10 PM

Civil society sustains democracy. It is where alternative futures are imagined, social boundaries are forged and contested, and identities are negotiated. As societies are becoming increasingly diverse and divided, and less stable and safe – civil society is where people organize, dream, and act. The Israeli civil society offers a fascinating case study for understanding the links between identity, organizations and society. 

Through the Israeli context, we explore how national, ethnic, racial, gender, religious and socioeconomic differences are constructed and managed in diverse and divided societies; understand how civic engagement shapes the future of democracy; and learn about the complexity and diversity of Jewish identity, in Israel and the diaspora. Special one-time offering, spring 2024 [DJW / HUM] 

NEJS 153A - Between Ecstasy and Community: Hasidism in Jewish Thought and History

Yehudah Mirsky, M, W 4:05 PM–5:25 PM

Explores Hasidism, from the 18th century until today, as one of the dynamic forces in Jewish life, mixing radicalism and reaction, theology, storytelling and music, thick community and wild individualism, deep conformity and spiritual abandon. Usually offered every third year. [OC / HUM]

NEJS 154B - Zionism, Israel, and the Reshaping of Jewish Identity

Yehudah Mirksy, M, W 2:30 PM–3:50 PM

Explores the relations between pluralism, religious resurgence, secularism and democracy in our time through readings in history, literature, philosophy, sociology, theology and law. Focuses on one fascinating, contentious and deeply consequential place: The State of Israel. Usually offered every second year. [HUM]

NEJS 189B - Formative Moments in the Disputed Land of Israel-Palestine

Yuval Evri; M, W 2:30 PM–3:50 PM

Examines the history of Israel/Palestine during the 20th century by focusing on several formative moments that took place pre and post 1948. It reexamines key issues that emerged around each of those events and explores the implications they had on the formation of Israeli and Palestinian societies. Usually offered every second year. [DJW / HUM]

NEJS 196B - Mamluks to Modernity: Islamic History 1300-2000

Mariam Sheibani; T, Th 3:55 PM–5:15 PM

Explores the political and cultural history of early modern and modern Muslim societies including the Mongols, Timurids, Mamluks, and the Gunpowder empires (Ottomans, Safavids and Mughals). It concludes with the transformations in the Middle East in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries: European colonialism, modernization, and the rise of the nation-states. Usually offered every second year. [HUM]

NEJS 197A - Islamic Law: Classical Foundations to Modern Applications

Mariam Sheibani; T, Th 2:20 PM–3:40 PM

Examines the development, theories, and debates of Islamic Law, from its classical foundations to its modern applications. The course will present critical understanding of the history and practice of Islamic law while also giving students the framework and resources with which they can engage in modern discussions about Islamic Law. We will begin with the early development of Islamic Law and its interpretive theories, the rise and spread of the classical legal schools, and the emergence of pre-modern legal institutions such as legal schools and courts.

We will also delve into the content, morality, and evolving socio-cultural contexts of Islamic law. We will discuss the impact of colonialism and modernity on Islamic legal discourses and institution. We will conclude the course by exploring several case studies of “Islamic law” in action in society and examine its interactions with the American legal system. Usually offered every second year. [DJW / HUM]

NEJS 198A - Islam and the West

Carl El-Tobgui; M, W, Th 1:20 PM–2:10 PM

Explores various aspects of the interaction between “Islam” and “the West,” both historically and in contemporary times. Approximately half the course will examine the period from the rise of Islam in the 7th century until the age of Western colonialism in the 19th century, while the second half will concentrate on the modern and contemporary periods. Usually offered every third year. [HUM]

NEJS 236A - Seminar on Modern Jewish and Israeli History and Historiography

Alexander Kaye; T 9:35 AM–12:25 PM

Aims to introduce students to the emergence of history as an academic discipline in the nineteenth century and to provide some acquaintance with the classics of historical scholarship. It will also examine the emergence of Jewish historiography and analyze critically the works of the major Jewish historians. In addition, it will assess the contributions of the "new" historians to historical understanding and see how far their insights can aid in the study of key problems in Jewish history. Usually offered every second year.

 Strongly recommended for all graduate students in Judaic studies.

NEJS 247 - The Craft of Holocaust Research: Questions, Sources, Interpretations, and Debates

Laura Jockusch; W 2:30 PM–5:20 PM

Provides an introduction to the emergence and development of Holocaust studies as an academic discipline. It will acquaint students with the main questions and sources of the historical scholarship and teach them to critically analyze the works of the major historians of the Holocaust. Usually offered every second year.

HORN / NEJS 261A - Strategies and Quandaries in Contemporary Leadership

Lynn Kaye; W 9:05 AM–11:55 AM

Examines models of leadership and challenges facing leaders in contemporary organizational life, through Jewish history and culture placed in conversation with other cultural and disciplinary perspectives from critical race studies, women's and gender studies, disability studies, and indigenous studies. Classes will be discussion-based, centered around the productive contrasts and interactions between the readings, and the contemporary practices and experiences of students' leadership. Usually offered every second year.