Curriculum

Spring 2017

AMS 323/MTD 323       Irving Berlin and the Creation of the “American Songbook”
                                      Michael Friedman, Program in American Studies
The son of a Russian cantor, Israel Baline came with his family to New York in 1893, changed his name to "Irving Berlin," and dominated popular music in the United States for four decades, culminating in "God Bless America" and the most popular song of all time, "White Christmas." How did a Jew come to write songs that celebrate Christmas and Easter? How did a Jewish immigrant come to define the sound of American song? What about Ragtime or the Blues? This class will examine questions of identity, assimilation, and influence, as well as the crucial issues of race and appropriation.


SPRING 2016

ENG 356 /AMS 378 /JDS 377        American Jewish Writers: Exiles, Citizens, Provocateurs
                                                         
Esther Schor, Department of English

American Jewish writers adopt a variety of personae: they may write as exiles, as citizens, as provocateurs, among other figures. Why these strategies, and what sort of mark have they left on American Jewish writing? On American letters? On modern Jewish literature? We’ll consider the historic sweep of American Jewish writing from the 18th to the 21st centuries--and what better time, since the course coincides with the Princeton Art Museum’s exhibition on American Jewish life before the Civil War. Students are invited to explore the collection, and develop docent talks as part of their coursework.


Spring 2015

The Invention of the Promised Land: American Jewish History
Professor Yaacob Dweck

Over the past three and a half centuries Jewish immigrants have described America both as "the promised land" and "the land of impurity." The course examines these conflicting descriptions as it explores developments in Jewish life in America from the mid seventeenth century through the late twentieth century.


2013-2014

AMS 323 / JDS 323   America in Judaism 
                                 Rabbi Lance Sussman

Although the idea of an “American Judaism” emerged in the early decades of the nineteenth century, scholars have yet to define this concept in precise terms and explain how it differs from a simpler historical understanding of “Judaism in America.”  Our seminar will examine the Americanization of Judaism beginning with the earliest transplanted Iberian concepts of Judaism in the “new world” to the transformation of Jewish religious life in the United States.  Special attention will be paid to Jewish theology, the rabbinate, gender, denominationalism, and the polity of the American synagogue.

ENG 410 / AMS 393 / THR 368 / JDS 410 Jewish Identity and Performance in the U.S.     
Jill S. Dolan, Department of English; Lewis Center for the Arts; Program in the Study of Gender and Sexuality
Stacy Wolf, Program in Theater, Lewis Center for the Arts; Princeton Atelier     

What does Jewishness mean in the U.S.? Is it ethnicity or religion? Identity or culture? Belief or practice? How do performance and theater answer or illuminate these questions? We’ll consider plays and performances, bodies and texts, performers and spectators, history, memory, and the present.


2012-2013

ENG 356/ JDS 377/ AMS 378     Topics in American Literature: American Jewish Writers
                                                   Esther Schor, Department of English 

American Jewish writers are known to adopt a variety of personae: they may write as exiles, as citizens, as provocateurs, among other figures. Why these strategies—and what sort of mark have they left on the rich body of writing we have before us? on American letters? on modern Jewish literature? We’ll address these questions while considering the historic sweep of American Jewish writing from the 18th to the 21st centuries.


Spring 2012

338/JDS 336/HIS 450 The Invention of the Promised Land: American Jewish History
                                   Yaacob Dweck, Department of History

Over the past three and a half centuries, Jewish immigrants have described America both as “the promised land” and “the land of impurity.” This course examines these conflicting descriptions as it explores developments in Jewish life from the mid seventeenth century through the late twentieth century.


Spring 2011

365 (ENG 356)   American Jewish Writers
                          Esther Schor, Department of English

Reading fiction, poetry, essays and graphic novels from the 18th to 21 centuries, we will examine how American Jewish writers have left a mark both on American letters and on Jewish literature. Topics include immigration and assimilation; city Jews; Jewish feminism; secularity vs. religious observance; and the Jew in multicultural America. Texts include films, video, and song lyrics as well as Yiddish-language poetry in English translation.


Fall 2010

393 (ENG 410/THR 368)    Jewish Identity and Performance in the U.S.
                                           Jill S. Dolan, Department of English and Program in Theater
                                           Stacy Wolf, Program in Theater

What does Jewishness mean? Is it ethnicity or religion? Identity or culture? Belief or practice? How do performance and theater answer or illuminate these questions? We’ll consider plays and performances, bodies and texts, performers and spectators, history, memory, and the present.


Fall 2009

AMS 323/JDS 323/REL 394     America in Judaism
                                                   
Rabbi Lance Sussman

The seminar examined the Americanization of Judaism beginning with earliest transplanted Iberian concepts of Judaism in the "new world" to the transformation of Jewish religious life in the United States.  Special attention was paid to Jewish theology, the rabbinate, gender, denominationalism and the polity of the American synagogue.


Spring 2009

ENG/AMS/JDS 365     American Jewish Writers
                                  Professor Esther Schor


Fall 2008 

AMS/JDS 334    Growing Up Jewish in America
                          
Professor Jenna Weissman Joselit


Spring 2008

AMS/JDS 322     Jewish Law and American Legal Theory
                          Professor Suzanne Last Stone, of the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, Yeshiva University