Past Courses - JEWISH STUDIES AT UC DAVIS

Past Courses 


Spring 2020

Upper Division:

HIS 110-2: Antisemitism and Islamaphobia: The Anatomy of Twin Hatreds 
Susan Miller
In this course we study the origins and evolution of two historical phobias that were initially disassociated but have in recent years become intertwined; hatred of Jews and hatred of Muslims. Both have deep historical roots in the Western psyche, and both have evolved over time, reflecting cultural trends and political crises in the wider world. Our focus is on the contemporary period and with an emphasis on those writings--popular and highbrow--that capture the mounting crescendo of antipathy toward Jews and Muslims around the globe today. In our seminar, we will expose the parallel structures in each phobia, their origins, their differences, their connection to world events, their evolving socio-historical meanings, and efforts to contain them through legislation and education. We will also discuss the costs and dangers that their unchecked spread could pose to democracy.

HIS 112A: Jewish Mysticism and Hasidism
David Biale
This course will introduce students to an important, but often misunderstood strand of the Jewish religious tradition. Jewish mysticism can be traced back to the Bible and it still exerts an important influence on Judaism today. We will read key original sources and also what remains the most important survey of our subject, Gershom Scholem's Major Trends in Jewish Mysticism. The last part of the course will treat Hasidism, the pietistic, mystical movement that arose in Eastern Europe in the 18th century and that is still influential today.

HIS 142B: Memory of the Holocaust
David Biale
This course deals with the myriad ways the memory of the Nazi genocide of the Jews has been constructed in the half century since the event. The goal of the course is to teach students how to analyze critically the way memory shapes and sometimes distorts our images of the past, especially when that past involves a collective trauma that may defy representation. The course is interdisciplinary in nature, involving varied texts from memoirs, literature, film, architecture and philosophy.

Required Readings:
Aharon Appelfeld, Badenheim 1939
Imre Kertesz, Fatelessness
Otto Dov Kulka, Landscapes of the Metropolis of Death
Art Spiegelman, Maus: A Survivor's Tale and Here My Troubles Began
Art Spiegelman, Maus: A Survivor's Tale: My Father Bleeds History
Elie Wiesel, Night

POL 136: Arab-Israeli Conflict
Ze'ev Maoz
Causes, course, and implications of Arab-Israeli conflict. Competing Israeli and Arab narratives, politics of force, diplomacy. Domestic politics and A-I conflict, the superpowers and the A-I conflict, A-I conflict and world politics, potential solutions.

POL 145: Israeli Politics
Matthew Shugart
Introduction to the domestic politics of Israel in comparative perspective, including issues of internal cultural diversity, religion and politics, fragmentation of the political party system, and coalition governance.

Graduate Seminar:

HIS 201W/ HIS 102X: Mediterranean Passages: The Theory and Practice of a Regional History
Susan Miller
The Mediterranean has been called the navel of the world. Since ancient times, it has been a sea of passage, trade, and conflict. In this seminar we examine the many ways in which the Mediterranean has been imagined, mapped, and written about from ancient times until the present by exploring various themes framing the idea of the "Mediterranean." We begin by considering the viability of the Mediterranean as a geographical and cultural unit by examining ancient Greek lyrical poetry evoking the region. From there we will move on to other topics, such as cities and routes, war and piracy, concepts of honor and shame, gender, ethnic cleansing, migration and displacement. We will examine art and film, poetry, fiction and travel writing as exemplars of a Mediterranean consciousness. Finally, we will consider how historical narrative contributes to defining this region as a constituent unit of global history. 

SOC 295: Eating for Change: Food and Social Justice
Rafi Grosglik


Winter 2020

Lower Division:

HEB 001B: Elementary Hebrew II
Galia Franco
Continuation of Speaking, listening, comprehension, reading and writing fundamentals of modern Hebrew.

Upper Division:

COM 142: Modern Jewish Fiction 
Tim Parrish
For our purposes, Modern Jewish Fiction begins when the wealthy farmer Job was challenged to prove his faithfulness to the Lord, despite having his family, his lands, and his health taken away from him. Not without agony, Job's faith endured. This ancient story frames our discussion of how modern Jewish writers have responded to the crises of identity that history in the twentieth and twenty-first century has posed for them. We will read a range of writers, focusing primarily upon European and American writers; some of our reading material will concern the Holocaust (or Shoah) but the emphasis will be examining how these writers confront the meaning of being Jewish in a world where religious ritual and faith is no longer understood to comprise the essence of being a Jew. Authors to be read and discussed include Kafka, Cynthia Ozick, Philip Roth, and the Nobel Prize Winners, Saul Bellow, Imre Kertesz, Isaac Bashevis Singer, and Patrick Modiano. Two exams, one paper. 

HIS 142A: History of the Holocaust
David Biale
In a century of genocides, the Holocaust of the European Jews remains perhaps the most systematic attempt to destroy a whole people.  In this course, we will attempt to understand how one nation committed genocide against another, first by instituting policies of exclusion and expulsion and then mass murder.  The course will consider the history of the Holocaust against the background of Jewish and German history in modern times.  We will also take up the question of the uniqueness of the Holocaust and comparisons with other instances of mass death, both by the Nazis (against the disabled  mentally retarded, the Sinti/Roma, homosexuals, Poles and Russian prisoners of war) and by others in the twentieth century.  Students should be aware that this is an emotionally, as well as intellectually challenging subject that has relevance to our world today.  

Required Books 
Doris Bergen, War and Genocide
Jan Gross, Neighbors
Sebastian Haffner, Defying Hitler
Primo Levi, Survival in Auschwitz
Joseph Pell, Taking Risks
Dawid Sierakowiak, The Diary of Dawid Sierakowiak

SOC 195: (University Honors Program) Farm to Fork: Food, Agriculture and Society (Comparative Perspectives: Israel, California and Palestine)
Rafi Grosglik
This seminar examines agriculture and food as a lens through which to gain insight into our identities, the shape of our local communities and nations, as well as the emergence of a global society. Based on case studies from California and other states, Israel and Palestine, we will explore how food and agriculture relate to culture, politics, health and environment. We will examine the social, cultural, economic and political dynamics of food systems and food consumption. We will discuss some of the major issues and controversies in sociology of agriculture and sociology of food, and relate these to contemporary debates on globalization, industrialization, MacDonaldization, inequality, social justice, labor rights and environmental sustainability.

Readings cover the social and the socio-ecological consequences of industrial food systems from global and local perspectives, the green revolution, organic agriculture, fair trade, food localism, veganism, agricultural and culinary heritage, the role of science and technology in agro-food systems and more. In the final assignment, students will develop an analytical research paper on a topic related to class readings and discussions.


Fall 2019

Lower Division:

HEB 001: Elementary Hebrew
Galia Franco
Speaking, listening, comprehension, reading and writing fundamentals of modern Hebrew.

Upper Division:

GER/HUM 144: Marx, Nietzsche, Freud
Sven-Erik Rose
The esteemed French philosopher Paul Ricoeur famously characterized the triumvirate of modernist master-thinkers Karl Marx (1818-1883), Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900), and Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) in terms of a hermeneutics of suspicion. By this Ricoeur meant that Marx, Nietzsche and Freud, each in his own way, are all modern detectives of sorts: they look at what is happening on the surface of things as so many dissembling fictions that individuals and societies perpetuate in order to keep hidden various kinds of unsettling "deep" truths that actually structure our desires and morals, our culture and politics, our identities and consciousness, our very sense of who we are. In this course we will explore the ways that Marx, Nietzsche and Freud each develop modes of analysis to unveil the deeper, latent meanings and forces that they understood to reside behind or beneath our consciousness (or false consciousness).

SOC 144: Agriculture and Society: Israel/Palestine and California As Case Studies
Rafi Grosglik
This course examines agriculture and food as a lens through which to gain insight into our identities, the shape of our local communities and nations, as well as the emergence of a global society. By comparing case studies from Israel/Palestine and California (and other states), we will explore how food and agriculture relate to culture, politics, health and environment. We will examine the social, cultural, economic and political dynamics of food systems and food consumption. We will discuss some of the major issues and controversies in the sociology of agriculture and sociology of food, and relate these to contemporary debates on globalization, industrialization, McDonaldization, inequality, social justice, labor rights and environmental sustainability.

Readings cover the social and socio-ecological consequences of industrial food systems from global and local perspectives, the green revolution, organic agriculture, fair trade, food localism, veganism, agricultural and culinary heritage, the role of science and technology in agro-food systems and more. In the final assignment, students will develop an analytical research paper on a topic related to class readings and discussions.

SOC 195: Food, Culture and Society (Seminar)
Rafi Grosglik

Graduate Seminar:

GER 297: Modern Yiddish Culture 
Sven-Erik Rose
Yiddish is a fascinating peripheral European culture that is very rich in its own right, spanning multiple national and political contexts and opening up critical perspectives on how to look at dominant European discourses of culture, gender, territorial claims, and more. Germanists have a special obligation to become conversant with major trends in Yiddish culture, since  Yiddish culture was itself one of the victims of the German genocide of European Jewry. That said, this seminar will not, primarily, be about the Holocaust, but rather about the vibrant and extremely diverse transnational Yiddish cultural currents from the 19th century until the Holocaust, as well as about attempts to sustain Yiddish cultural life after the catastrophe.

We will survey the rise of modern Yiddish literature in the latter 19th and early 20th century through the work of the triumvirate of modern Yiddish classical authors, Sholem Yankev Abramovitsh (Mendele Moykher Sforim, 1835-1917), Shalom Rabinovitz (Sholem Aleichem, 1859-1916), and Yitskhok Leybush Peretz (1852-1915). We will furthermore explore the staging of tradition to various esthetic and political ends in modernist Yiddish drama (Sholem Asch, God of Vengeance, 1906; S. Ansky, The Dybbuk, 1920), and also read key works of experimental modernist prose including Dovid Bergelson's At the Depot and Descent (1913); Yiddish women's poetry (e.g. Rokhl Korn, 1898-1982 and Kadya Molodovsky, 1894-1975); and Yiddish culture in the USA (e.g. Mani Leyb, 1883-1953; Moyshe-Leyb Halpern, 1886-1932; Yankev Glatshshteyn, 1896-1971; and Isaac Bashevis Singer, 1902-1991). Along the way, we will engage with varieties of Yiddish nationalism and Yiddish socialism; touch on Yiddish culture in the Soviet Union and on cultural exchanges between Yiddish and German; and read recent scholarship including Naomi Seidman on fault lines between European vs. Ashkenazic Jewish gender systems; Daniel Boyarin on Ashkenazic Jewish masculinity; and Zohar Weiman-Kelman on intersections between Yiddish and queer theory.


Spring 2019

Lower Division:

HIS 11: History of the Jewish People in the Modern World
Susan Gilson Miller

Upper Division:

GER 141: The Holocaust and its Literary Representation
Sven-Erik Rose

HIS 112C: History of Jews in the Muslim World
Susan Gilson Miller

HIS 142A: History of the Holocaust
David Biale


Winter 2019

Lower Division:

HEB 002: Elementary Hebrew
Galia Franco
MTWF 10:00 - 10:50am
Speaking, listening, comprehension, reading and writing fundamentals of modern Hebrew.

RST 12: Abrahamic Religions (The Emergence of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam)
Kengo Akiyama
TR 10:30 - 11:50am
Jews, Christians, and Muslims all trace their origins to one biblical patriarch - Abraham. But who was Abraham? Did he really exist? And, if they all claim to come from the same source, how did Judaism, Christianity, and Islam develop into distinct traditions? In this class, we will learn about the historical roots of these three religious traditions in the ancient world. We will read their foundational documents to find out what Jews, Christians, and Muslims themselves believe about their own origins, how they understand their own scriptures and founding figures, and how each tradition has developed over time. We will also reflect on how religious practitioners navigate the desire to remain true to an ancient tradition, and the necessity of adapting to changing circumstances.

Upper Division:

AHI 120A/HMR 120A: Art, Architecture, Human Rights
Heghnar Watenpaugh
MW 2:10 - 4:00pm
Study of human rights as they relate to art, architecture, and cultural heritage.  Examines museums, art collections, and cultural-heritage management, their relation to the cultural prerogatives of communities and indigenous groups, and protection of cultural heritage during war and conflict.

COM 147: Modern Jewish Writers
Timothy Parrish
TR 9:00 - 10:20am
We will be reading a range of modern Jewish writers, focusing primarily upon European and American writers; some of our reading material will include experience during the Holocaust (or Shoah) but that will not be the emphasis of this course. Likely authors to be read and discussed include Kafka, Cynthia Ozick, Isaac Babel, Philip Roth, and the Nobel Prize Winners, Saul Bellow, Imre Kertesz, and Patrick Modiano. Two exams, one paper.

GER 116: Jewish Writing & Thought in German Culture
Sven-Erik Rose
TR 12:10 - 1:30pm
The most widespread association people have with German-Jewish culture is undoubtedly the Holocaust, the cataclysm that brought this culture to an end. But if we remember only the Holocaust, we forget what this extraordinarily creative tradition contributed to Jewish, German, and world culture. For 150 years”between the late 1700s and the rise of the National Socialists to power in 1933”Jews in Germany and German-speaking lands produced a body of works and ideas that have left an indelible mark on our modernity. An astonishing number of the salient currents in modern Jewish life have their origins in Germany. The Jewish Enlightenment began in Berlin at the end of the 18th century with the great Berlin philosopher Moses Mendelssohn. It was a Viennese playwright and journalist, Theodor Herzl, who invented political Zionism at the turn of the 19th to the 20th century. It was a Viennese Jewish doctor, a contemporary of Herzl's”Sigmund Freud”who invented psychoanalysis. In this course, we will explore works by important German-Jewish artists and intellectuals, in addition to those already mentioned, such as Heinrich Heine, Franz Kafka, Charlotte Salomon, Else  Lasker-Schüler's, Arthur Schnitzler, and Walter Benjamin. Course readings will include prose literature, poetry, philosophy, political theory, theology, psychoanalysis, and painting.

HEB100BN: Advanced Modern Hebrew II
Galia Franco
MWF 11:00 - 11:50am 
Third year Hebrew. Advanced grammar and composition. Focus on reading of literary texts, oral skills and accuracy in writing.

HIS 112A: Jewish Mysticism and Hasidism
David Biale
TR 9:00 - 10:20am
This course will introduce students to the basic texts and concepts of the Jewish mystical tradition. We will begin with esoteric thinkers of the Middle Ages who developed the set of symbols called Kabbalah. The course will then turn to the Lurianic Kabbalah of the sixteenth century and the Sabbatian messianic movement of the seventeenth. The last part of the course will explore the ideas of Hasidism, a popular pietistic movement that began in eighteenth-century Poland and continues to this day.

HMR 131: Genocide
Keith Watenpaugh
MW 1:10 - 2:30pm
Comparative and critical study of the modern phenomenon of genocide from religious, ethical and historical perspectives.

POL 179: Israeli Politics
Matthew Shugart
TR 1:40 - 3:00pm 
This course offers an introduction to the domestic politics of Israel in comparative perspective, including issues of internal cultural diversity, religion and politics, fragmentation of the political party system, and coalition governance. The course will introduce students to the domestic conflicts and institutional procedures for resolving them that characterize the state of Israel. The comparative perspective means that we will discuss the key ways in which Israel is atypical of other democratic political systems, such as the United States and European countries, as well as ways in which it differs from these comparison cases. Specific focus will be placed on the controversies among Israeli political parties and other actors over the relative emphasis on the state's Jewish and democratic characters, including the role of religion in society and politics, and the status of the country's Arab citizen minority. While the course is not focused on the Israeli“Arab conflict or on Palestinian politics, understanding of how the domestic Israeli political process works is essential for understanding the wider conflict and possible solutions to it. 

SOC 174:  Sociology of the Holocaust
Diane Wolf
TR 3:00 - 4:30pm
The purpose of this course is to study and analyze the Holocaust from a sociological perspective. Before exploring that exactly that means, we will begin by briefly reviewing key aspects in the history of the Holocaust, including questions about uniqueness and comparison. We will consider differences between individual and collective memory of the Holocaust, including the role of museums and memorials. Other topics will include the role of testimonies, gender and families, resistance, and how children of survivors well as children of perpetrators deal with their inheritances. In addition to readings, we will view a number of films. This course requires intellectual engagement and active participation. The challenge in this course will be to step back from the actual events in order to engage in a sociological analysis.

Graduate Seminar:

HIS 201W/102X: Mediterranean Passages: The Theory and Practice of a Regional History
Susan Gilson Miller
W 2:10 - 5:00pm
The Mediterranean has been called the navel of the world. Since ancient times, it has been a sea of passage, trade, and conflict. In this seminar we consider the many ways in which the Mediterranean has been imagined, mapped, and written about from ancient times until the present by looking at various themes framing the idea of the Mediterranean. We begin by thinking about the viability of the Mediterranean as a geographical and cultural unit through the lens of ancient Greek lyrical poetry. From there we move to other topics, such as cities and routes, war and piracy, concepts of honor and shame, gender, ethnic cleansing, migration and displacement. Finally, we shall consider how historical narrative contributes to defining this region as a constituent of global history.


Spring 2018

Lower Division:

HEB 003: Elementary Hebrew III
Galia Franco

HEB 010: Intro to Biblical Hebrew
Galia Franco

HEB 023: Intermediate Modern Hebrew III
Galia Franco

RST 012: Emergence of Judaism, Christianity, Islam
Eva Mroczek

RST 040: New Testament
Wendy Terry

Upper Division:

MSA 180: Between History and Fiction: Palestinian and Israeli Literature
Noha Radwan

RST 141C: New Testament: Paul
Wendy Terry

SOC 195: Farm to Fork: Comparative Perspectives on Food, Agriculture and Society in Israel, Palestine, and California
Ragi Grosglik


Winter 2018

Lower Division:

HEB 002: Elementary Hebrew II
Galia Franco

HEB 011: Intro to Biblical Hebrew
Kengo Akiyama

HEB 022: Intermediate Modern Hebrew II
Galia Franco

RST 021: Hebrew Scriptures
Wendy Terry

Upper Division:

HIS 142B: Memory of the Holocaust
David Biale

HMR 131: Genocide
Keith Watenpaugh

POL 135: International Politics of the Middle East
Zeev Maoz

RST 125: Dead Sea Scrolls, Apocrypha, and Pseudepigrapha
Naomi Janowitz

RST 135: Bible and Film
Wendy Terry

SOC 195H: Farm to Fork: Food, Culture, and Society
Rafi Grosglik


Fall 2017

Lower Division:

HEB 001: Elementary Hebrew I
Galia Franco

HEB 010: Intro to Biblical Hebrew
Kengo Akiyama

HEB 021: Intermediate Modern Hebrew I
Galia Franco

HIS 011: Introduction to Jewish History
David Biale

Upper Division:

GER 127: Major Writers in German”Franz Kafka (in English)
Sven-Erik Rose

HIS 112B: Topics in Modern Jewish History
David Biale

HIS 112C: Jews Among Muslims
Susan Miller

POL 136: Arab-Israeli Conflict
Zeev Maoz

RST 122: Studies in Biblical Texts
Seth Sanders

RST 130: Doom: The End of the World and Afterward (Topics Course)
Seth Sanders

RST 150: Religious Ethics
Meaghan O'Keefe


Summer 2017

Upper Devision:

HMR 130: Genocide and Film
Amila Becirbegovic