Courses - All

JWSH: Jewish Studies courses, currently listed in the Academic Catalog under Global and International Studies
HEBR: Hebrew courses, currently listed in the Academic Catalog under Global and International Studies
YDSH: Yiddish courses, currently listed in the Academic Catalog under Slavic Languages & Literatures
Relevant courses in other units
 

JWSH: Jewish Studies Courses

JWSH 107 Living Religions of the West (3 ch)
A basic introduction to the major religious traditions of the Near East, Europe, and the Americas, with an emphasis on their development through the modern period and their expressions in contemporary life. Not open to students who have taken REL 109. LEC. H, HR
JWSH 124 Understanding the Bible (3 ch)
An introduction to the literature of the Bible, exploring the relationships among the various types of literature present and the function of each type in the history and religious life of the people who produced and used them. Cannot be taken concurrently with REL 311 or JWSH 321 or REL 315. Not open to students who have taken REL 125 or JWSH 125.  (Same as REL 124). LEC. H, HR
JWSH 125 Understanding the Bible, Honors (3 ch)
An introduction to the literature of the Bible, exploring the relationships among the various types of literature present and the function of each type in history and religious life of the people who produced and used them. Open only to students in the University Honors Program or by permission of instructor. Not open to students who have taken REL 124 or JWSH 124.  (Same as REL 125). LEC. H, HR
JWSH 177 First Year Seminar: _____ (3 ch)
A limited-enrollment, seminar course for first-time freshmen, addressing current issues in Jewish Studies. Course is designed to meet the critical thinking learning outcome of the KU Core.  First-Year Seminar topics are coordinated and approved by the Office of First-Year Experience. Prerequisite:  First-time freshman status. LEC. U
JWSH 300 Topics in Jewish Studies: _____ (3 ch)
Examination of special topics in Jewish Studies. May be repeated if topic varies. LEC. H
  • "Israeli-Palestinian Conflict" (Fa 2012, Sp 2013)
  • "Israeli Politics and Society" (Fa 2012)
  • "Theatre & Genocide" (Sp 2012)
  • "Mysticism and the Supernatural" (Sp 2012)
JWSH 311 Narratives of Jewish Life (3 ch)
The course focuses on the narratives through which Jews made sense of their lives under the impact of the forces of modernity, beginning in the "old world," and moving through the 19th century and into the 20th. The goal is to analyze how the imagination of Jewish writers was captured by the changes in social structures such as new educational, residential and occupational opportunities, leading to increased interactions with the gentile society. Students read and discuss literary works based in the shtetl in revolutionary Russia, and in America. We will also look at memoirs and letters written by ordinary Jews. All assigned texts will be in English. LEC. HL, H Course approved for Core 4 Outcome 2 (Culture & Diversity; Global Community).
JWSH 315 The Spanish Inquisition (3 ch)
A broad historical study of the Spanish Inquisition from 1478 to its afterlife in modern culture, including its use in political debates and its depiction in popular culture. Topics include anti-Semitism, the nature of the inquisitorial investigation, the use of torture, censorship and the relationship between the Inquisition, the Spanish monarchy and other religious and lay authorities. Taught in English. Will not count toward the Spanish major. (Same as HIST 325 and SPAN 302.) LEC. H
JWSH 318 Jews and Slavs in Eastern Europe (3 ch)
Jews and Slavs have shared territory from the Middle Ages to the present day. The contact between these culturally and linguistically distinct groups have shaped many centuries of Eastern European history - from the extreme violence of the pogroms to long periods of peaceful coexistence and cooperation.  "Jews and Slavs" examines the history and cultural geography of Slavic-Jewish contact from the perspectives of both groups.   Through literature, film, journalism, and folklore, students learn about the profound influence Jews and Slavs have had on each other, the uneasy feelings that accompanied their interactions, and the creative and fascinating impact their interaction had on both cultures.  (Same as SLAV 318). LEC. H
JWSH 321 Religion of Ancient Israel (3 ch)
A study of the development of the Hebrew Bible from its earliest stages of oral tradition to its canonization with an emphasis on the relationship of the historical, intellectual, and cultural contexts shaping that development. Prerequisite:  REL 124 or JWSH 124 or permission of instructor.  (Same as REL 311). LEC. H
JWSH 325 Introduction to Judaism (3 ch)
Analyzes a selection of the core texts, teachings, and practices of Jewish religious traditions in terms of classical and contemporary understanding.  (Same as REL 325). LEC. H
JWSH 326 The Talmud: Its Origins, Nature, and Evolution (3 ch)
This course demystifies the Talmud, arguably the most central yet also the most mysterious text of rabbinic Judaism. Students will be introduced to the scope, substance, styles, and major figures of the Talmud, and will also learn how the text came into being over the course of several centuries. (Same as REL 326). Prerequisite: REL 104, REL 107, or REL 124/125, or permission of the instructor. LEC. H
JWSH 327 Jewish Secular Culture (3 ch)
By examining the modern concept of Yiddishkeit (Jewishness), this course explores Jewish secularism as a set of modern intellectual, literary, and cultural practices that redefined the relationship between the secular and religious in literature, music, theatre, art, humor, and foodways. This interdisciplinary course draws on theoretical approaches from history, cultural studies, religious studies, folklore, and linguistics to examine the different secularizing cultural practices of the Jews in Central and Eastern Europe, as well as in North America. LEC. HL, H Course approved for Core 4 Outcome 2 (Culture & Diversity; Global Community).
JWSH 329 Politics and Conflict in Israel and Palestine (3 ch)
This course focuses on various aspects of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict including its history from the Ottoman period to the present day, the social and political effects on Israel and Palestinian life and citizenship, official and unofficial narratives, and international responses. LEC. H
JWSH 335 History of Jewish Women (3 ch)
This course explores the history of Jewish women from antiquity to the twentieth century. It examines the historical constructions of women’s gender roles and identities in Jewish law and custom as well as the social and cultural impact of those constructions in the context of the realities of women’s lives in both Jewish and non-Jewish society.  (Same as HIST 335 and WGSS 335). LEC. H
JWSH 336 Jewish American Literature and Culture (3 ch)
In this class, you will learn why American Jewish culture, like the popular mid-20th-century play and movie Fiddler on the Roof, so often looks for its origins to the Eastern European culture of the late-19th and early-20th centuries that was nearly extinguished by the Holocaust. You will also learn through literary and other cultural texts the history and concept of diaspora as well as the languages, concepts, events, issues, and global perspectives constructed and challenged in American Jewish life from the arrival of Jewish people during the colonial period to the present.
This course fulfills the English 322 or equivalent requirement for the English major and could fulfill a concentration requirement for the American Studies major, e.g., in race and ethnicity, literature and culture, cultural studies, etc., and for the Minor in Jewish Studies. (Same as ENGL 336 and AMS 336). LEC. Course approved for Core 4 Outcome 1 (Culture & Diversity; United States).
JWSH 337 Religious Zionisms (3 ch)
A survey of the many types of Religious Zionism, from the origins of the movement to the present, from left to right, and from Jewish to Christian. The class asks questions about the relationship between religion and politics in Israel using these case studies as examples, and also considers the views of religious Jewish anti-Zionists. No previous knowledge of Judaism or Israeli history is required. (Same as REL 327). LEC.
JWSH 338 Languages of the Jews (3 ch)
From the beginning, Jewish history and culture is closely tied to language, from Hebrew and Aramaic to the languages of diaspora such as Yiddish and Ladino.  Focusing on issues of language in society, this course will survey the languages spoken by the Jews throughout their long history in diverse communities around the world.  We will learn about Hebrew as a spoken and a sacred language, examine how Jewish languages are born and die, and discuss the resurrection of Modern Hebrew in the state of Israel.  All readings are in English.  No prior knowledge of languages or linguistics is required. (Same as LING 338). LEC. H
JWSH 339 Languages of the Jews, Honors (3 ch)
Honors version of JWSH 338 or LING 338, Languages of the Jews.  Prerequisite:  Membership in the University Honors Program or consent of instructor.  (Same as LING 339). LEC. H
JWSH 340 Topics in Modern Jewish Literature: _____ (3 ch)
This course treats Jewish literature in English or English translation in the 20th and 21st centuries either as a broad survey or according to specific themes. May be repeated for credit. LEC
JWSH 341 Hitler and Nazi Germany (3 ch)
An examination of the rise of Hitler and Nazism, beginning with the breakdown of 19th century culture in the First World War and continuing through the failure of democracy under the Weimar Republic. The course will also discuss the impact of Nazism on Germany and how Nazism led to the Second World War and the Holocaust. (Same as HIST 341). LEC. H
JWSH 343 The Holocaust in History (3 ch)
The systematic murder of the Jews of Europe by the Nazis during World War II is one of the most important events of modern history. This course studies the Holocaust by asking about its place in history.  It compares other attempted genocides with the Holocaust and examines why most historians argue that it is unique. Other topics covered include the reasons the Holocaust occurred in Europe when it did, the changing role of anti-Semitism, and the effects of the Holocaust on civilization. The course also discusses why some people have sought to deny the Holocaust.  The course concludes by discussing the questions people have raised about the Holocaust and such issues as support for democracy, the belief in progress, the role of science, and the search for human values which are common to all societies. (Same as HIST 343). LEC. H
JWSH 344 Modern Jewish History (3 ch)
This course explores the complex of interactions between Jews, Judaism, and modernity by examining the challenges to Jewish life and thought, community and culture, self-understanding and survival, from the early modern period to the present day. Through the lenses of religious, cultural, intellectual, and political expression, the course examines the social, economic, and demographic changes in Jewish communities in Western, Central and Eastern Europe, the United States, and Israel along with the impact of antisemitism and the Holocaust. (Same as HIST 344). LEC. H
JWSH 350 Contemporary Jewish Identities (3 ch)
This course explores the variety of ways in which American Jews create Jewish identities as individuals and groups. It traces the emergence of the various current divisions within Judaism: Reform Judaism (which by definition, implies Orthodoxy), then Conservative Judaism, and then the later development of Reconstructionist Judaism. The course also explores other contemporary options for being Jewish: cultural Jews, secular Jews, unaffiliated Jews, religious Jews, and gay or lesbian or transgendered Jews. LEC. SC, H
JWSH 361 Jewish Film (3 ch)
An examination of the cultural history of the Jews through films that explore Jewish themes, including but not limited to: issues of tradition and modernity, religion and secularism, immigration, gender, Zionism, anti-Semitism, and the Holocaust. Films studied may be in English and in foreign languages (with English subtitles) like Yiddish, Hebrew, and Russian. LEC. H
JWSH 395 Study Abroad Topics in Jewish Studies: _____ (3-6 ch)
This course is designed for the study of special topics abroad in Jewish Studies. Coursework must be arranged through the Office of KU Study Abroad. May be repeated for credit if content varies.
JWSH 490 Directed Study in Jewish Studies (1-3 ch)
Intensive reading or research under faculty supervision. Prerequisite: Consent of instructor. IND. H Course approved for Core 6 (Integrate Knowledge).
JWSH 491 Directed Study in Jewish Studies, Honors (1-3 ch)
Honors version of JWSH 490. Intensive reading or research under faculty supervision. Prerequisite: Membership in the University Honors Program or consent of instructor. IND. H Course approved for Core 6 (Integrate Knowledge).
JWSH 523 The Dead Sea Scrolls (3 ch)
A study of the archeological evidence and texts from the Dead Sea area that provide primary evidence for Jewish religious belief and practice in the Greek and Roman periods (ca. 250 B.C.E. - 135 C.E.). (Same as REL 523). Prerequisite:  REL 124 or JWSH 124, or consent of instructor. LEC. H
JWSH 525 Jews and Christians (3 ch)
This course examines the ways Jews and Christians have interacted with and characterized one another at various points in their histories. Special emphasis is placed on the gradual separation of the two religious traditions in the 1st-4th centuries. (Same as REL 525). Prerequisite: A previous course in Religious Studies or Jewish Studies, or consent of instructor. LEC. H
JWSH 526 Jewish History and Literature in the Greek and Roman Periods (3 ch)
The history and literature of the Jewish people from the hellenistic period (late fourth century B.C.E. to the codification of the Mishnah 210 C.E.). Select texts from the Hebrew Bible, the so-called apocrypha and pseudepigrapha, the Qumran scrolls, Philo, Josephus, related early Christian texts, and Rabbinic texts will be studied. (Same as REL 526).  Prerequisite: REL 124 or JWSH 124, or permission of instructor. LEC. H
JWSH 560 Modern Jewish Thought (previously: Classical and Contemporary Jewish Thought) (3 ch)
This course examines how a number of prominent Jewish thinkers from the seventeenth century through the present have encountered and engaged the special challenges posed by modernity to religious traditions, including the challenge of science to the validity of miracles, the challenge of the secular state to religious authorities, and the challenge of historical studies to the integrity of scripture. Thinkers covered may include Spinoza, Mendelssohn, Frankel, Hirsch, Geiger, Hermann Cohen, Buber, Rosenzweig, Arendt, Scholem, Leo Strauss, Levinas, and Derrida. Prerequisite: A previous course in Religious Studies or Jewish Studies; or consent of instructor. (Same as REL 560.)
JWSH 570 Studies in Judaism (3 ch)
A study of the major intellectual sources of the Jewish tradition from the Mishna, Talmud, Midrash, prayerbook, philosophers, the Zohar, and the Shulchan Aruch. (Same as REL 570). Prerequisite: A course in Religious Studies or Jewish Studies numbered 300 or above. LEC. H
JWSH 572 Jewish Folklore (3 ch)
Jewish folklore is extraordinarily rich and varied. From folktales to riddles, from legends about the exalted rabbis to irreverent jokes, folklore is central to the Jewish way of life. This course traces the extent to which oral elements appear in traditional Jewish literary texts such as the Bible; read and discuss folktales, and examine minor genres such as proverbs, riddles and jokes. Topics include the supernatural beings of Jewish folklore dybbuks, seductive female demons, and golems. Students acquire theoretical tools with which to analyze folklore (Jewish or otherwise), read stories, watch movies, and collect samples of folklore from informants. LEC. H
JWSH 573 Jewish Folklore, Honors (3 ch)
Honors version of JWSH 572. Prerequisite:  Membership in the University Honors Program or consent of instructor. H
JWSH 600 Advanced Topics in Jewish Studies: _____ (3 ch)
Examination of advanced topics in Jewish Studies. May be repeated if topic varies. Prerequisite: Consent of Instructor. LEC. H
JWSH 601 Senior Seminar in Jewish Studies (3 ch)
Investigation of topics related to Jewish studies from an interdisciplinary perspective: Jewish culture, history, and religion. The course will focus on research methods and intensive writing. Open only to Jewish studies majors. Suggested for students with senior standing. LEC. S
JWSH 650 Service Learning in Jewish Studies (3 ch)
This course, to be taken in the junior or senior year, gives students the opportunity to apply the knowledge, concepts, and ideas gained in courses in Jewish studies to real-life situations in appropriate agencies and organizations. Open to students in the Jewish Studies program. Permission of instructor is required. FLD
 

HEBR: Hebrew Courses

 
HEBR 110 Elementary Israeli Hebrew I
A beginning course in modern Israeli Hebrew. Essentials of grammar, syntax and conversational practice; elementary reading and writing. Note: Students with other previous experience in Hebrew must take a placement exam. LEC. U
HEBR 120 Elementary Israeli Hebrew II
A continuation of HEBR 110. Note: Students with other previous experience in Hebrew must take a placement exam. Prerequisite: HEBR 110. LEC. U
HEBR 177 First Year Seminar: _____ (3 ch)
A limited-enrollment, seminar course for first-time freshmen, addressing current issues in Hebrew. Course is designed to meet the critical thinking learning outcome of the KU Core. First-Year Seminar topics are coordinated and approved by the Office of First-Year Experience. Prerequisite: First-time freshman status. LEC. U
HEBR 210 Intermediate Israeli Hebrew I (3 ch)
Further development of language skills: listening comprehension, oral efficiency, intermediate grammar and syntax, reading and writing. Note: Students with other previous experience in Hebrew must take a placement exam. Prerequisite: HEBR 120. LEC. U
HEBR 220 Intermediate Israeli Hebrew II (3 ch)
A continuation of HEBR 210. Note: Students with other previous experience in Hebrew must take a placement exam. Prerequisite: HEBR 210. LEC. U
HEBR 230 Biblical Hebrew (3 ch)
This course introduces students to the grammatical structure and vocabulary of biblical Hebrew. It includes basic biblical passages for students to translate into English and analyze. LEC. U
HEBR 240 Biblical Hebrew II (3 ch)
This is a continuation of Hebrew 230. It continues the study of the grammatical structure and vocabulary of biblical Hebrew, and includes biblical texts for students to translate and analyze. Prerequisite: HEBR 230 or permission of the instructor. LEC. U
HEBR 340 Advanced Israeli Hebrew I (3 ch)
Advanced study of Modern Hebrew.  This course is designed to strengthen linguistic skills, enrich vocabulary, and further the study of grammar and syntax. Not open to native speakers of Hebrew.  Prerequisite:  HEBR 220 or permission of the instructor.
HEBR 350 Advanced Israeli Hebrew II (3 ch)
Continued advanced study of modern Hebrew.  Not open to native speakers of Hebrew.  Prerequisite:  HEBR 340 or permission of the instructor.
HEBR 395 Study Abroad Topics in Hebrew: _____ (3-6 ch)
This course is designed for the study of special topics abroad in Hebrew. Coursework must be arranged through the Office of KU Study Abroad. May be repeated for credit if content varies.
HEBR 410 Studies in Modern Hebrew Literature (3 ch)
An introduction to Hebrew literature from the nineteenth century to the present day.  The course emphasizes the development of basic interpretive skills and the understanding of basic literary movements, genres, and concepts. Not open to native speakers of Hebrew.  Prerequisite:  HEBR 220 or equivalent.
HEBR 420 Studies in Modern Hebrew (3 ch)
This course is designed to help students achieve fluency in speaking, listening, and writing Modern Hebrew.  Not open to native speakers of Hebrew.  Prerequisite:  HEBR 220 or equivalent.
HEBR 490 Independent Study (1-3 ch)
Intensive reading or research under faculty supervision. Not open to native speakers of Hebrew. Prerequisite: HEBR 220 or equivalent. IND. U
 

YDSH: Yiddish Courses

YDSH 104 Elementary Yiddish I
Essentials of grammar, practice in speaking, reading, and writing Yiddish. Not open to native speakers of Yiddish. LEC. U
YDSH 108 Elementary Yiddish II
Continuation of grammar, practice in conversation, composition, and reading. Not open to native speakers of Yiddish. Prerequisite: YDSH 104 or equivalent. LEC. U
YDSH 177 First Year Seminar: _____ (3 ch)
A limited-enrollment, seminar course for first-time freshmen, addressing current issues in Yiddsh. Course is designed to meet the critical thinking learning outcome of the KU Core. First-Year Seminar topics are coordinated and approved by the Office of First-Year Experience. Prerequisite: First-time freshman status. LEC. U
YDSH 212 Intermediate Yiddish I (3 ch)
Structured grammar review, composition, conversation, with readings of literary and cultural texts. Not open to native speakers of Yiddish. Prerequisite: YDSH 108 or equivalent. LEC. U
YDSH 216 Intermediate Yiddish II (3 ch)
A continuation of YDSH 212. Structured grammar review, composition, conversation, with readings of literary and cultural texts. Not open to native speakers of Yiddish. Prerequisite: YDSH 212 or equivalent. LEC. U
YDSH 300 Studies in Yiddish: _____ (3 ch)
Examination of special topics in Yiddish.  May be repeated if topic varies. LEC
YDSH 395 Study Abroad Topics in Yiddish: _____ (3-6 ch)
This course is designed for the study of special topics abroad in Yiddish. Coursework must be arranged through the Office of KU Study Abroad. May be repeated for credit if content varies.
YDSH 490 Independent Study (1-3 ch)
Intensive reading or research under faculty supervision. Not open to native speakers of Yiddish. U
 
 

Courses in Other Departments that Satisfy the JWSH Minor

ANTH 465 Genocide and Ethnocide (3 ch): Study of the killing of peoples and cultures. Case studies, focusing primarily on tribal South America. Examination of the implications of these studies as regards our definition of culture and our evaluation of aid programs, missionary efforts, and international business expansion.

HA 305/505 History of Art - Special Study: Intro Islamic Art & Architecture (3 ch)

HA 305/505 History of Art - Special Study: History of the Islamic City (3 ch)

HIST 320 / WGSS 320 From Goddesses to Witches: Women in Premodern Europe (3 ch)HIST 320 / WGSS 320 From Goddesses to Witches: Women in Premodern Europe (3) HT H This course examines the social, cultural, and political contexts of women's spirituality and their relations to gender relations in Europe from about 30,000 B.C.E. to the 16th century Protestant Reformation. Lectures move both chronologically and topically, covering such subjects as goddess-worshiping cultures, women's roles in Christian and Jewish societies, symbols of women, and male attitudes toward women. Students will be able to participate in weekly discussions of primary and secondary source readings about women. LEC

THR 380 / AMS 344 Case Study in: Jewish American Popular Culture (3 ch), meets with JWSH 300 Topics in Jewish American Popular Culture

THR 302 / 702 Seminar in: Theatre & Genocide (3 ch)THR 302: Undergraduate Seminar in: _____ (3) H Course organized any given semester to study a particular subject matter or to take advantage of special competence by an individual faculty member. Topics change as needs and resources develop. Class discussion, readings, and individual projects. LEC

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 


Upcoming Program Events
Kudos to our faculty!

Dr. Renee Perelmutter, Associate Professor of Slavic and Jewish Studies, writes fantasy fiction and poetry under the name Rose Lemberg. Her book Marginalia to Stone Bird is the first book of poetry to be shortlisted for a Crawford Award, and is also up for an Elgin Award. Marginalia has been reviewed by Publisher’s Weekly and Strange Horizons. Available at Aqueduct Press and Amazon.

Kudos to our students!

March 16, 2017: JS students Mackenzie Haun, Sarah Herman and Ariel Silverman were elected to join Phi Beta Kappa, the oldest and most prestigious national academic academy. Phi Beta Kappa “celebrates and advocates excellence in the liberal arts and sciences. Its campus chapters invite for induction the most outstanding arts and sciences students at America’s leading colleges and universities.”

More Kudos!

Dr. Gal Levy, former Visiting Israeli Professor at KU, has won first prize for best article in Hebrew from the Israeli Political Science Association. The article looks at the post-protest protest in Israel and Dr. Levy gives acknowledgments to the KU Jewish Studies Program. Dr. Levy currently teaches at the Open University in Israel. He will be a guest speaker at KU on August 23, his lecture is titled, "Citizenship in Crisis in Contemporary Israel".

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