American Jewish History, 1492-2001
The two central questions is this course are these: How did American Jews begin, and continue, to develop a distinct identity from Jews elsewhere? And in turn, how has America been influenced by their presence?
While we begin with Christopher Columbus and discuss colonial episodes (for instance, George Washington’s significant letter to the Touro Synagogue), our primary focus will be the 19th and particularly the 20th centuries. Among issues to be explored are the successive waves of Jewish immigration, business and labor, political expression, the arts and popular culture, intergroup relations, and the impact on American Jews of European and Middle Eastern developments.
In addition to primary sources and historical scholarship, the class will look at fiction, poetry, music, and film.
The course will meet on Monday and Wednesday from 2:40-4pm. It is available as History 210 and as American Studies 223. Open to First-Years. Taught by Professor Ron Schatz