Becoming "Modern": Emancipation, Antisemitism and Nationalism in Modern Jewish History


This course offers a survey of the Jewish experience in the modern world by asking, at the outset, what it means to be-or to become-modern. To answer this question, we look at two broad trends that took shape toward the end of the eighteenth century-the Enlightenment and the formation of the modern state-and we track changes and developments in Jewish life down to the close of the twentieth century with analyses of the (very different) American and Israeli settings. The cultural, social, and political lives of Jews have undergone major transformations and dislocations over this time-from innovation to revolution, exclusion to integration, calamity to triumphs. The themes that we will be exploring in depth include the campaigns for and against Jewish "emancipation;" acculturation and religious reform; traditionalism and modernism in Eastern Europe; the rise of political and racial antisemitism; mass migration and the formation of American Jewry; varieties of Jewish national politics; Jewish-Gentile relations between the World Wars; the destruction of European Jewry; the emergence of a Jewish nation-state; and Jewish culture and identity since 1945.
Course Attributes: EN H; BU Hum; BU IS; AS HUM; AS LCD; AS SD I; FA HUM; UC HSM; UC HEU; AS SC

Section 01

Becoming "Modern": Emancipation, Antisemitism and Nationalism in Modern Jewish History
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