HIST 329/JS 329: American Jewish History

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Fall 2017
TTh, 1:00pm-2:15pm
Rich Building 104

Dr. Eric L. Goldstein
Office: 204C Candler Library
E-mail: egoldst [at] emory [dot] edu
Office hours: by appointment

Course Description:
This course is a survey of the Jewish experience in America, examining the religious, cultural, political, and economic activities of American Jews from the colonial period to the present. Students will explore the ways Jewish tradition has adapted to America, how patterns of communal life have been transformed, what the relationship of American Jews has been to other Americans and to the international Jewish community, and how American Jewish identities have been created from Jews’ dual impulses for integration and distinctiveness. We will also use the Jewish experience as a means of evaluating different definitions of American national identity.

The following texts are available for purchase at the Emory Barnes and Nobles Bookstore :

•Jonathan D. Sarna, ed., The American Jewish Experience, 2nd edition (Holmes and Meier, 1997).
• Rose Cohen, Out of the Shadow: A Russian Jewish Girlhood on the Lower East Side (Cornell, 1995).
• Samuel C. Heilman, Portrait of American Jews: The Last Half of the 20th Century (Univ. of Washington, 1995).
• Lisa Schiffman, Generation J (Harper San Francisco, 2000).
• Several articles on electrontic Course Reserves (enter your username and password; these readings are indicated on the schedule of lectures and readings by an asterisk*).

Course Format and Requirements:
Class sessions will be a mixture of lecture and discussion, with occasional sessions set aside for more in-depth discussion of certain topics and analysis of primary sources.
 In preparation for class discussion, students will be asked to answer a thought question that helps them process the readings (the questions are listed under each reading assignment on the syllabus). The answers to these questions do not have to be in well-polished prose; brief answers or bullet points are fine (often, the question will ask you for three examples of something, or to name three reasons for something, so you can just make a list). Students should be prepared to share their answers when called upon in class. On a few occasions I may collect these short homework answers to make sure students are keeping up with the readings. I suggest that you keep the answers to these questions in a folder or notebook, as this will be one of your most valuable study guides for the midterm and final.

In addition, at the beginning of each class I will put several terms on the board and I will define them during the course of the lecture/discussion. You should make note of these terms and their meanings, as some of these will appear on each exam. I have provided a full list of these terms on this website for your reference (see the links at the top and bottom of this page). In addition to the homework journal, there will be one longer “primary source” writing assignment of no more than five pages in which students will have to find and analyze a primary source bearing on the American Jewish experience.

There will be two examinations: an in-class midterm and a take-home final. Class participation is an important part of your grade, so please arrive ready to discuss and analyze the readings.

Grades for the course will be determined as follows:
Midterm: 25%
Final exam: 30%
Homework questions: 10%
Primary source writing assignment: 25%
Attendance and participation: 10%

Honor Code:
Honor Code: All students are expected to abide by Emory University’s honor code, which prohibits all forms of academic dishonesty including cheating and plagiarism. Plagiarism means submitting material from a book, a website, or any other source without acknowledging that the words or the ideas are someone else’s. When in doubt about this matter, please ask the instructor to explain further, or consult the Plagiarism Statement from the Emory College Honor Code. I treat academic dishonesty as a serious offense and, in accordance with the policies of Emory College, will immediately report all violations of the honor code to the Honor Council.


Schedule of Lectures and Readings

Terms to Study for the Midterm

Terms to Study for the Final

Primary Source Writing Assignment

Course website