(J ST 220)
Global Diaspora and Exile (3) Introduction to and survey of the Jewish and other Diasporas around the world.
HIST (J ST) 220 The Jewish and Other Diasporas (3)
The long dominant view that the Jewish experience since antiquity defines Diaspora as a concept has been challenged in recent years. The meaning of the term Diaspora and related terms, especially (ethnic and/or national) identity and (ethnic and/or national) community, is a matter of much debate across disciplines. The longevity and diversity of distinct Jewish communities around the globe make the Jewish case a particularly interesting subject for study. In a wide geographical, chronological and disciplinary comparative sweep, the course will explore the diverse nature of ethno-national and ethno-religious diasporas (and sub-diasporas), their position vis-à-vis their place of origin (“homeland”) and their new surrounding culture and society. More specifically, the course will analyze how Diaspora communities in Europe, Asia, and the Atlantic world reconstituted their identities as they expanded into new environments and encountered other cultures, from antiquity to the present. Emphasis will be placed on exploration of the intersection of politics and culture in respect to race, nationality, ethnicity, gender and class. A key question guiding the discussions will relate to the usefulness and limitations of the Diaspora concept, especially in regard to the discourse about globalization where the term is often used.
The course will begin with an extensive discussion of theoretical texts about the Diaspora phenomenon. This is followed by case studies of several larger Diasporas, ranging from the Jewish, the Greek to the Chinese Diaspora. Several case studies, notably the Muslim Diaspora, the concept of a victim Diaspora, or alternative Diasporas highlight the limitations of the Diaspora concept.
The course introduces students to interdisciplinary approaches, placing some emphasis on the use of theoretical texts written by historians, sociologists, political scientists, and anthropologists. The course includes a one-day field trip to the Lower Eastside in New York (visit of the Museum of Chinese in America, walking tour of the Lower Eastside to explore the history of a key American immigrant neighborhood).
General Education: GH
Bachelor of Arts: None
Effective: Fall 2015