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The Jews of Europe, 1450-Present (42.405/505 Section 1)
M. Hickey Office: OSH 130 Office hours: T-Th, 2:00-3:30; W. 2-4 or by appointment
phone: 389-4161 e-mail: email@example.com
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Course Description Class Participation Historiographic Essay
Document Papers Term Paper Assigned Texts
Note to Graduate Students Weekly Schedule With Links to Study Questions
Brief Description: This course is a survey of European Jewish history from 1450 to the present. It presents an overview of Jewish history during the Renaissance, the Reformation and "Counter-Reformation," the Enlightenment, the French Revolution, the "Long Nineteenth Century," World War One, the Russian Revolution, World War Two and the Holocaust, and the Cold War. Our discussions will concentrate on specific topics that link each chronological period. These include the problem of Jews legal status; relations between Jews and dominant communities; Jewish participation in national politics; anti-Semitism; Jewish political self-organization and communal organization; Jewish family life and gender relations; and the demographics of Jewish communities. (Please note that we will spend little time on the important topics of Jewish cultural and religious history).
Although I may give short lectures, this is primarily a reading seminar. We will read a number of texts and documents in common, and we will then discuss them in class. You will find study questions linked to this syllabus, which serve as the starting point for our discussions.
Your final grade is based upon a 1,000 point scale. A=1,000-920; A-=919-900; B+=899-880; B=879-820; B-=819-800; C+=799-780; C=779-720; C-=719=700; D+=699-680; D=679-600; E=599-0
Your grade will be based upon class participation (20 percent); a brief historiographic essay (20 percent); two brief document analysis papers (10 percent each); and a term paper that functions as our final exam (40 percent).
In grading all papers, my primary concern is the essay's accuracy, clarity, and logic, but I will also take into consideration such "technical" matters as grammar and use of proper citation form.
Class Participation will account for 20 percent of your grade. Complete all assigned readings on time, take notes that answer the study questions (linked), and be prepared to discuss them in class. Ask and answer questions, but also be a good listener. While I am concerned with the quality rather than the quantity of your contributions, I do expect you to join in the discussion as often as possible. Your grade will be based upon attendance (your grade will fall in direct proportion to your absences) and the quality of your contributions.
Historiographic essay: (20 percent). Choose one topic from among the twenty listed below. (Please notice that these topics all cover the period before 1850.) Find and read books and/or articles that historians have written on that topic (i.e., you will be looking at secondary sources only). Your aim is to compare and contrast what at least three different historians have written on the topic. Your paper must be at 4-5 pages long, not counting references. You must use endnotes for all citations, and you must cite all quoted or paraphrased material. I will base your grade primarily on the accuracy, clarity, and logic of your essay, but I will also take into consideration such "technical" matters as grammar and use of proper citation form. Due on Week 9.
1) The Inquisition and the Jews (in Spain, Portugal, or in any Italian city)
2) The Expulsion of the Jews (from any particular country of princedom)
3) Crypto-Jews and New Christians
4) Martin Luther and Attitudes towards Jews during the Reformation
5) The Catholic "Counter-Reformation" and Attitudes towards Jews
6) The Growth of Jewish Communities in Poland (in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth), 1500-1750
7) The Readmission of the Jews (to any particular country or princedom)
8) Jewish Economic Life, 1500s, 1600s, and/ or 1700s (regional or in any one country or princedom)
9) The Impact of the Thirty-Years War on the Jews
10) Anti-Jewish Violence in the 1600s (regional or in any one country or princedom)
11) Jewish Community Life between 1450 and 1750 (regional or in any one country or princedom)
12) Enlightenment Philosophers and Attitudes Toward Jews
13) The French Revolution and the Emancipation of the Jews
14) The Creation of (and Jewish Policies in) the Pale of Settlement before 1860.
15) The Jewish Enlightenment and Jewish Identity (regional or in any one country)
16) Assimilation and Jewish Identity in the early 1800s (regional or in any one country)
17) Jewish Economic Life and Early Industrial Capitalism
18) The Nature of Antisemitism in the Early 1800s
19) The Demographics of Jewish Communities, 1750s-1850s (regional or in any one country)
20) You Define the Topic (but I must approve it!)
Brief Document Analysis Papers:
You will write two document analysis papers (10 percent each). They must be 2-4 pages long, not counting citations. Document Analysis One must be on any document assigned during the first five weeks of class, and is due on Week 5. Document Analysis Two must be on an assigned document dealing with Nazi Jewish policy or the Holocaust, and will be due on Week 13.
The document analysis papers must present a thesis (a main point) based upon detailed, close analysis of a specific document. Be sure that you answer the following questions: Who produced the document, when, and in what context? What is the main point of the document? What does the document tell us about Jewish history or the history of Jewish relations with the dominant community?
I will base your grades primarily on the accuracy, clarity, and logic of your essays, but I will also take into consideration such "technical" matters as grammar and use of proper citation form.
Term Paper: Your term paper (40 percent) can be either an extended historiographic essay or a research paper.
It must be at least 10 pages long, not counting citations. You must formulate a research question and obtain my approval for that topic. (You need to have your topic approved by Week 5.) You will then conduct primary source research or read a large variety of secondary sources to answer that question. I expect that you will use a minimum of ten separate volumes of sources.
If you do a historiographic essay, then your paper must compare and contrast the arguments that historians have made regarding your question and come to a conclusion about how the question is best answered.
If you do a research paper, then you will use primary sources (and secondary sources, too) to formulate a thesis that answers your question.
I will base your grade primarily on the accuracy, clarity, and logic of your essay, but I will also take into consideration such "technical" matters as grammar and use of proper citation form.
The term paper is due at our scheduled final exam time, Weds, 11 December, by 6 pm.
Jonathan I. Israel, European Jewry in the Age of Mercantilism, 1550-1750, 3rd ed. (London, 1998).
David Vital, A People Apart: The Jews in Europe, 1789-1939 (New York, 2001).
Albert Lindemann, Esau's Tears: Modern Anti-Semitism and the Rise of the Jews (New York, 2001)
Bernard Wasserstein, Vanishing Diaspora: The Jews of Europe since 1945 (Cambridge, MA, 1996).
In addition, I will give you handouts and there are documents linked to this syllabus.
Graduate Students will write only one document analysis paper (number 1); instead of document analysis paper 2, they will write a historiographic essay comparing the arguments of Lindemann and Vital (e.g., on the nature of anti-Semitism, on the relationship between liberalism and Jewish civil rights, on their use of sources, etc.--consult with me in choosing the focus of your essay). This paper must be at least 10 pages long (not counting references), and will account for 10 percent of the course grade. I will base your grade primarily on the accuracy, clarity, and logic of your essay, but I will also take into consideration such "technical" matters as grammar and use of proper citation form. It will be due on Week 15.
Section 1: The Jews of Europe During the Renaissance, Reformation, and "Counter-Reformation
Week 1 (28 Aug): Introduction. What are we studying this semester? What is a Jew? Themes in Jewish Historiography.
Week 2 (4 Sept): Part A: The Expulsion of the Jews from Western Europe.
Readings: Israel, European Jews, Preface-Chapter 1; and 3 documents:
Synod of Castilian Jews, 1432 (http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/1432synod-castile-jews.html)
The Expulsion from Spain, 1492 CE (a first-hand account) (http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/jewish/1492-jews-spain1.html)
The Expulsion Edict, 1492 (handout from Edwards, The Jews in Western Europe, 1400-1600)
Week 2 (4 Sept): Part B: Europes Jews During the Reformation and "Counter-Reformation"
Readings: Israel, chapter 2; and 4 documents:
A Christian Hebraist: John Reuchlin (handout from Edwards, The Jews of Western Europe)
Martin Luther: Letter to George Spalatin, Wittenberg, January or February, 1514. (http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/1514luther.html)
Martin Luther: The Jews and Their Lies (1543) (http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/luther-jews.html)
The Jew and the Renaissance: Italy, 1571-1600 (handout from Edwards, The Jews of Western Europe)
Section 2: The Jews of Europe During the Enlightenment and the French Revolution
Week 3 (11 Sept): Jewish Life in the 17th Century, Part I
Readings: Israel, chapters 3-6; 3 documents:
(The first two documents are from the late 16th century, but illustrate points that Israel makes in chapters 2 and 3)
Giorgio Dati in Antwerp makes elaborate plans for inducing rich Portuguese Jews to settle in Tuscany (1545) (http://www.medici.org/jewish/jdoc8.htm)
Francesco I seeks permission from Philip II of Spain to allow Levantine Jews to transship goods (1576) (http://www.medici.org/jewish/jdoc7.htm)
Cosimo II permits a Jewish actor to travel without an identifying badge (1611) (http://www.medici.org/jewish/jdoc4.htm)
Week 4(18 Sept): Jewish Life in the 17th Century, Part II
Readings: Israel, chapters 7-9; 2 documents:
Declaration Protecting the Interests of Jews Residing in Holland (1657) (handout, from Mendes-Flohr and Reinharz, The Jew in the Modern World)
Emporer Leopold, Appointment of Samson Wertheimer as Imperial Court Factor (1703) (handout, from Mendes-Flohr and Reinharz, The Jew in the Modern World)
Week 5 (25 Sept): The Enlightenment and Europes Jews
Readings: Israel, chapters 10-11; Vital, A People Apart, Preface, Contents, Introduction; Lindemann, Essau's Tears, Table of Contents, Preface, Chapter 1; Chapter 2 (pp. 40-44).
Document Analysis Paper One DUE
Last week to obtain approval for your term paper
Week 6 (2 Oct): The French Revolution and the Question of Jewish Emancipation
Readings: Vital, A People Apart, Part I, Chapter 1 (pp. 29-98); Lindemann, Esau's Tears, Chapter 2 (pp.44-53); 1 Document:
The Assembly of Jewish Notables: Answers to Napoleon (http://www.acs.ucalgary.ca/~elsegal/363_Transp/Sanhedrin.html)
Section 3: The Jews of Europe During the "Long Nineteenth Century"
Week 7 (9 Oct): Responses to Emancipation
Readings: Vital, A People Apart, Chapter 2 (pp. 99-163); Lindemann, Esau's Tears, Chapter 2 (pp. 53-64); Document set:
Anti-Semitic Legends (translated and/or edited D. L. Ashliman), that appeared in early 19th century Germany (http://www.pitt.edu/~dash/antisemitic.html)
Week 8 (16 Oct): In the Thick of the 19th Century
Readings: Vital, A People Apart, Chapter 3 (pp. 166-248); Lindemann, Esau's Tears, Chapter 2 (pp. 64-96)
Week 9 (23 Oct): The 1870s-1914 as viewed by David Vital
Readings: Vital, A People Apart, Chapters 4-6 (pp. 279-641)
Historiographic Essay DUE
Week 10 (30 Oct): The 1870s-1914 as viewed by Albert Lindemann
Readings: Lindemann, Esau's Tears, Chapters 3-11 (pp. 97-387)
Section 4: The Jews of Europe and the Twentieth Century
Week 11 (6 Nov): The Era of War and Revolution and the Shadow of the Holocaust, as viewed by David Vital
Readings: Vital, A People Apart, Chapters 7-Epilogue (pp. 643-898)
Week 12( 13 Nov): The Era of War and Revolution and the Shadow of the Holocaust, as viewed by Albert Lindemann
Readings: Lindemann, Esau's Tears, Chapters 12-Conclusions (pp.387-545)
Week 13 (20 Nov): Nazism, World War Two, and the Holocaust
Readings: We will discuss the following documents (no formal study questions):
Adolf Hitler's First Antisemitic Writing September 16, 1919 (http://h-net2.msu.edu/~german/gtext/kaiserreich/hitler2.html)
Adolf Hitler Speech of April 12, 1921 (http://history.hanover.edu/courses/excerpts/111hit1.html)
Der Giftpilz (The Toadstool) (from Calvin College German Propaganda Archive) (http://www.calvin.edu/academic/cas/gpa/thumb.htm)
Also, each student will pick at least ONE document from one the following collections, which they will then "present" in class:
From the website of the Wiesenthal Center Special Collections, Institute of Documentation in Israel:
The Warsaw Ghetto in English (http://motlc.wiesenthal.org/specialcol/instdoc/d07c01/index.html)
We Shall Never Forget The Final Solution (http://motlc.wiesenthal.org/specialcol/instdoc/d07c11/sol1z3.html)
Long Dark Nazi-Years (http://motlc.wiesenthal.org/specialcol/instdoc/d08c01/index.html)
or from the documents section at
The Holocaust History Project (http://www.holocaust-history.org/)
Document Analysis Paper 2 Due
Week 14 (27 Nov): Thanksgiving Break
Week 15 (4 Dec): A Vanishing Diaspora?
Readings: Wasserstein book (no formal study questions, but I will ask each of you to focus on one chapter in particular).
Graduate Student Historiographic Paper DUE
Term Paper Due at Final Exam Period 11 December, by 6 pm
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