Fall 2013

Jewish History in the Modern Age

Listed in: History, as HIST-204


Adi Gordon (Section 01)


[C] This course introduces students to the history of the Jews from the 16th century to the present. Jews--a small group, lacking a stable geographical or political center for most of modern history--have played a remarkably central role in world events.  Jewish history exemplifies questions of tolerance, intolerance, and diversity in the Modern Age.  From Europe to the Americas to the Middle East, Jewish history has witnessed constant interchange between the non-Jewish world and its Jewish subcultures.  This course investigates Jewish history’s multiple dimensions: developments in Jews’ political status and economic opportunity; dramatic demographic shifts and global migrations; transformations in Jewish cultures, ideologies and identities; and religious adjustments to modernity.  We examine a variety of Jewish encounters with the modern world: integration, acculturation, assimilation, anti-Semitism, Jewish dissimilation and nationalism. Finally, the course will use this broad historical lens to explore and contextualize the double watershed of the 1940s—the Holocaust and the establishment of the State of Israel—as well as contemporary Jewish life.  Two class meetings per week.

Fall semester.  Five College Professor Gordon.


2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2013, Fall 2015, Spring 2019, Spring 2020