View Our Fall 2022 Course Lineup!
The Center for Jewish Civilization is pleased to announce its lineup of Fall 2022 courses!
- “Holocaust: Unique or Universal?,” Prof. Anna Sommer, JCIV-120
- The Holocaust is a case study through which to understand societal behaviors and the communal impact of hatred and prejudice. It provides a universal lesson on community responses to hatred and intolerance. Additionally, it demonstrates how modern nation states can wield accomplishments of modernity to implement destructive policies, ranging from social engineering to mass murder. This class will problematize the notion of the Holocaust’s “uniqueness.” Throughout this course, students will examine this genocidal event within the context of its universality. Students will look at the origins of authoritarian and totalitarian regimes and the role of “masses” in societies. They will also analyze the use of propaganda and terror to sustain power and social compliancy. Through an in-depth study of power, powerlessness, indifference and complicity, students will ultimately interpret and contrast the responses of so-called “ordinary people” vs. political leaders to state-sponsored mass murder.
- “Theological Implications of the Holocaust,” Prof. Ori Soltes, JCIV-138
- The Holocaust is recognized as one of the traumatic moments in human history. The uniquely systematic depths of human-human interaction it revealed, paired with daring acts of heroism which the period yielded, have raised a range of questions which challenge long-held assumptions about what humanity is, if and what God is, and how to understand the concepts of good and evil. This course will have as its goal to assess the Holocaust as it has been approached by a range of thinkers, and to place it within the larger context of theology, history, art and thought. While our primary backdrop will be theological questions provoked by its narrative — from both Jewish and Christian perspectives — we will inevitably encompass the larger historical picture of Jewish-Christian, Jewish-Jewish, Christian-Christian and human-divine relations. We will also consider the importance, in the later part of the twentieth century, of visual (and other) art as a means of response — both in the expression of anger and in seeking healing — to this trauma.
- “Nazi Policies and Practices Regarding Disability,” Father Patrick Desbois & Andrej Umansky, JCIV-218
- This course will examine both the philosophy and the practice of the Nazis against those who were disabled, whether German, Roma or Jewish. Emphasis will be placed in two areas: (1) the roots of the concept of “disability” in Nazi thinking and medical policy and (2) the application of this policy by medical and social service personnel throughout Nazi-occupied territory. A close look at the role of eugenics, social Darwinism and “race and blood” hygiene laws will also be included as contributing to the notion of “disability.” Various figures in implementing these policies will also be studied, such as Hans Asperger, a pioneer researcher in Autism, whose own discoveries encouraged the elimination of disabled children at killing centers such as Spiegelgrund.
- “Holocaust by Bullets,” Father Patrick Desbois & Andrej Umansky, JCIV-276
- While many students are familiar with the main lines of the Nazi extermination of Jews in Western Europe during World War II, few know that a parallel effort was waged in the East. There, Nazis killed Jews methodically, but not in mass camps built for extermination. Instead, the Nazis conceived of mobile killing units which wiped out the Jewish population of small villages, resulting in more than a million and a half more Jewish deaths than is commonly realized. Fr. Patrick Desbois, a forensic anthropologist and author of “Holocaust by Bullets,” will team teach a course that examines the Holocaust in general and this little known chapter in particular. Mid-term and final exams. Class participation and preparation essential.
- “American Catholics, the Hitler Regime, and the Holocaust,” Dr. Suzanne Brown-Fleming, JCIV-028
- How did American Catholics respond to the rise of Nazism (1933-1945) and the Holocaust, the systematic, state-sponsored persecution and murder of six million Jews by the Nazi regime and its allies and collaborators? Catholics were among those the Germans persecuted, incarcerated in concentration camps, and killed – and also part of a tradition in which antisemitism was not rejected as a sin until the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965). What messages came from American Catholic leaders and prelates during this era? This course will focus on several episodes and figures in particular: the 1938 radio address on so-called Night of Broken Glass, broadcast from The Catholic University of America; the threat of the far right Christian Front movement, led by Father Charles Coughlin; and the so-called “Hidden Encyclical” authored in part by Father John La Farge, long-time editor of America magazine. During the course, students will be exposed to recently released films, key readings, and the papers of Father La Farge, held at Georgetown University. This course meets on August 31, September 14, September 21, October 5, and October 19.
International Affairs and Diplomacy Courses
- “Congress and the Making of Middle East Foreign Policy,” Ms. Danielle Pletka, JCIV-235
- While foreign policy is the constitutional prerogative of the president, for much of recent history, it has been the Congress that has led the way in shaping US foreign policy toward the Middle East. From aid to Israel and sanctions against Iran to the war on terror, the legislative branch has influenced America’s role in the world in ways that few appreciate. Beginning with a detailed overview of the legislative process, this course will explore how Congress has shaped the modern Middle East, looking at key pieces of legislation and historical and contemporary case studies.
- “Jews and Muslims: Rethinking Narratives,” Prof. Jessica Roda, JCIV-271
- This course explores the modern history of Jewish-Muslim relations beyond conflict. By examining the Jewish experience in the Islamic world from the 7th century until today, students will discover the interconnected and entangled religious worlds of Jews and Muslims (from Morocco to Iran). Through active learning methods, they will learn about the two religious groups that participated in the production of a heritage that resonates today. During this course, students will investigate a subject pertaining to the Muslim-Jewish relationship (historical or contemporary perspectives) of their choice. They will present their research in a creative format of their choice (podcast, video, writing, art project), in addition to learning the tools to create a one-episode podcast.
- “The Weaponization of Hate: Antisemitism, Racism, Islamophobia, and Xenophobia in the Covid-19 Pandemic Era,” Mr. Jacob Ware, JCIV-281
- The Weaponization of Hate: Antisemitism, Racism, Islamophobia, and Xenophobia in the COVID-19 Pandemic era. Over the past several years, the Western world has suffered a dangerous rise in far-right extremism, providing an imminent terrorism and hate crime threat to Jewish communities, as well as Muslims, African Americans, and, in some cases, women. This class will assess the ideological underpinnings of the anti-Semitic far-right, trace the movement’s rise in the Obama and Trump years, analyze the current movement’s tactical and communications preferences, and evaluate ongoing and future counterterrorism and countering violent extremism measures. The aim is to provide an extensive and objective assessment of the current threat to Jewish communities and beyond, and to offer students an introduction to the counterterrorism world and to underscore the importance of understanding and fighting hate in all its forms.
- “The Societal, Political and Security Implications of Israel’s Relations with the Arab and Muslim World,” Mr. Jonathan Lincoln, JCIV-297
- The Societal, Political and Security Implications of Israel’s Relations with the Arab and Muslim World. This course will review the Zionist Movement’s and the State of Israel’s relations with the Arab and Muslim World throughout four modules. The first will examine the implications of Jewish immigration from the Middle East and North Africa for the state formation process. Students will also assess Israel’s approaches to Arab and Palestinian minorities. The second module will review the development of Israel’s relations with Arab and Muslim majority countries in the Middle East and North Africa, from the pre-state period through the major military confrontations of 1948, 1967 and 1973. It will also survey the Camp David Accords with Egypt, as well as Israel’s wars in Lebanon and their effect on Palestinians. The third module will take a closer look at the development of relations between Israel, Egypt, Jordan, Turkey, and Iran. During the last module, students will study the impact of recent political changes in the Middle East. Specifically, they will evaluate what the end of the Cold War, the Arab Spring, and the Abraham Accords have meant for both Israel’s diplomatic relations in the region and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
- “The History of Peacemaking in the Middle East,” Amb. Dennis Ross, JCIV-321
- This course will deal with the history of the Arab-Israeli conflict and the efforts to resolve it. One basic point to understand about the conflict is that it is not a morality play. One side is not all right and the other all wrong. That is not to say that they are equally responsible for what has happened, but it is to say that both have suffered and both would benefit enormously from ending the conflict and its animating grievances. We will explore why each side tends to see the world the way it does, and why mythologies have taken hold of all sides and made reality hard to grasp. We will examine narratives of the Israelis, the Palestinians, and the Arabs more generally. Mindsets must be understood in any negotiation, and we will look at what shaped each side’s approach to the conflict historically as well as its approach to conflict resolution over the periods of the most intensive diplomacy. We will analyze how close the efforts in the year 2000 came to ending the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians and Israelis and Syrians, and will discuss the lessons from the past. But we will also explore what has emerged more recently and explain what produced the Abraham Accords and peace agreements with four different Arab countries and Israel. Understanding the normalization process and how to build on it is essential not only for grasping the new realities in the region but also for promoting peace. Ultimately, the purpose of the course is to provide insight into why it has been so difficult to settle this conflict, and what can be done to settle it in the future.
- “Terrorism: Middle East and North Africa,” Prof. and CJC Dir. Bruce Hoffman, JCIV-341
- Terrorism has long been a means of political expression in the Middle East and has flourished throughout the region from antiquity to the present. This seminar surveys the arc and evolution of terrorism from the Sicarii and the assassins through the violence and rebellions in Egypt and Palestine of the 1920s through the end of World War II; The anti-colonial campaigns in both those places as well as in Algeria and Yemen; The persistence of both Palestinian and Jewish extremist violence; The emergence of Hezbollah in Lebanon; Salience of state-sponsored terrorism across the region, the insurgencies in Iraq; The rise of Al Qaeda and ISIS; And the ongoing upheavals in Syria, Libya, the Sinai, and Yemen. Students who do not attend the first class will be dropped. Class restricted to JCIV minor/certificate and SFS students only. Sophomores, Juniors, and Seniors only.
- “Islam, Judaism and Western Civilization,” Prof. Ed Husain, JCIV-447
- Governments and non-state actors are fomenting conflicts and wars by perverting religion, history and identity. This course investigates Jewish and Islamic influences that form today’s Western civilization. It has been designed to equip students with a deeper understanding of the modern West, evaluate the narrative of clash of civilizations, and explore a synthesis of civilizations. With extremism and anti-Americanism on the rise in the Muslim world, and anti-Semitism and anti-Muslim sentiment increasing in the West, this course excavates the intellectual roots of the threats ripping apart modern civilization.
Humanities, Culture & Jewish Studies Courses
- “Interfaith Marriage in Literature and Film,” Prof. Meital Orr, JCIV-183
- This course will examine works of literature and film, from the early 20th century to the present day, which focus on the controversial subject and increasingly prevalent reality of interfaith and intercultural relationships and marriages. The course will begin with a view toward the Jewish perspective on this issue (from Biblical to Israeli) covered in the first three weeks, with the remainder of the semester devoted to the navigation of this complex terrain by different religious and national groups in international literature and film, among them: Christians and Muslims, Arabs, Africans and African-Americans, Asians and Asian-Americans, Indians and Pakistanis, Hispanics and Latinx, the LGBTQ community, and Native Americans. Texts will include primary works of fiction and cinema, and secondary works by literature and film critics, sociologists and anthropologists. Inquiry will focus on ways in which the concerns of each group have intersected, reflecting communal pressures as well as changing realities and norms. The multiplicity of perspectives across all groups, bely both the need to marry within the fold to preserve communal, religious-cultural values, along with a growing admission of the reality of increasing diversity in modern, pluralistic societies and the benefits these bring.
- “Jewish Literature in the Global South,” Prof. David Ebenbach, JCIV-220
- From Bombay to Buenos Aires: Jewish Literature of the Global South What did “Brazil’s greatest modern writer,” “The Father of Contemporary Indian English Poetry,” and “the doyenne of South African English letters” have in common? These writers (Clarice Lispector, Nissim Ezekiel, and Nadine Gordimer) were all Jewish—and they were far from alone. The nations of Asia, South America, and Africa have produced a variety of remarkable Jewish writers of fiction and poetry who belong in any canon of Jewish literature. In this course we’ll deeply engage a diverse sample of that literature, and in ways (discussion, creative writing, interactive projects) that take us beyond the borders of the standard analytical essay.
- “Symbols of Faith,” Prof. Ori Soltes, JCIV-224
- This course will consider the common origins and divergent and often convergent directions of the three Abraham faiths; and how those origins and directions affect their respective visual vocabularies. How have all three traditions adopted and adapted visual ideas from pagan art that predates all of them as well as from each other? How have they transformed or reinterpreted the meanings of common symbols in order to express their distinct sense of God and of the relationship between divinity and humanity? How have Judaism and Islam visually expressed God without the possibility of figurative imaging and how has Christianity gone beyond the limits of figurative expression in visually articulating God? How is the legacy of antiquity and the medieval period still palpable in the era of both modern and contemporary art?
- “Jews on Trial,” Prof. Ori Soltes, JCIV-225
- This course begins by asking when and how law became separate from religion in the Israelite-Judaean world. It moves on to consider how we might evaluate and understand the narrative of Jesus’ trial and demise in the Gospels in light of information outside those accounts within Judaean, pagan Roman and early Jewish literature. Noting that, regardless of the details that favor or disfavor the Gospel account, many generations of Christians have accept it as unequivocally true, the book goes on with a review that is both concise and extensive of the history of Christian-Jewish relations, examining that relationship through a legal and quasi-legal lens. From medieval Blood Libels to the notorious Dreyfus Affair and from the story of Leo Frank’s trial and eventual murder to that of Adolph Eichmann’s trial and execution to that of Jonathan Pollard’s trial behind closed doors and ongoing incarceration, the narrative suggests that the Jew seems always to be on trial in the courtroom of journalistic and historiographic examination, whether as the accused, the accuser, the jury or the judge.
- “Arguing with God: The Bible as Literature,” Prof. Meital Orr, JCIV-254
- In a somewhat idiosyncratic essay, the literary critic George Steiner made the intriguing observation that the true homeland of the Jewish people was not necessarily Zion, the synagogue, or some other space, be it physical or meta-physical. Rather, Steiner insisted that the true Jewish homeland was the text. In this course, we will introduce you to a wide variety of classic (Biblical) and less than classic Jewish texts which interpret them. We will argue that for Jews the process of interpreting those texts is every bit as important—if not more so—than understanding the intentions of those who authored them. This then is a class about the interpretive injunction inherent in Jewish tradition, or its unique and relatively liberal propensity for discussing, interpreting, questioning, and even arguing – not only with the text but with G-d Himself. We will understand Jewish texts from a historical, literary and above all, comparative perspective, and examine all the many ways in which Jews read their texts. It will be our working hypothesis that it is this very interpretive, or hermeneutical, process that lies at the core of Jewish identity. Our inquiry is beholden to certain classic Jewish forms of argumentation and disputation. As such this class will be taught in a manner that replicates many classic Jewish learning styles, so the student should be prepared to speak up and out, all the while listening very carefully to the thoughts of their colleagues. No previous knowledge of the Hebrew Bible, Jewish history, literature or culture is assumed. Class performance is entirely based on analytical investment.
- “Jews and the Making of Modernity,” Prof. Ed Husain, JCIV-304
- Jewish artists, writers, musicians, thinkers and politicians have shaped our shared world. This course examines some of those luminaries and their contributions to our way of life. For example, the Statue of Liberty is adorned with the words ‘Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,’ — penned by a proudly Jewish poet, Emma Lazarus. But is freedom enough? Hannah Arendt wryly observed that ‘The most radical revolutionary will become a conservative the day after the revolution.’ This course will explore paradoxes and paradigms that have moulded modernity. To advance our grasp of the ideas underpinning our 21st-century inheritance, we will study the abiding works of Jewish influencers, including Marx, Disraeli, Herzl, Proust, Kafka, Modigliani, Mahler, Freud, Popper, Wittgenstein, Simone Weil and others.
- “Jews in 20th Century American Pop Culture,” Prof. Lauren Strauss, JCIV-029
- The plethora of Jews in America’s theater, movie, music, comics, and television industries has attracted a great deal of notice from observers and from Jews themselves. But Jewish involvement in the development of American popular culture is about much more than religious identification or ethnic jokes. In this course, we explore questions of Jewish identity and social change, as well as the influence of politics, gender, race, and sexual identity on the production of culture. From earlier twentieth century entertainers like Irving Berlin, George Gershwin, and Sophie Tucker to later legends such as Stephen Sondheim, Barbra Streisand, Lenny Bruce and Superman, and on to contemporary figures like Sarah Silverman and Jerry Seinfeld, the study of Jews in American popular culture invites us to reflect on what it means to live as a minority in society, as a Jew in a democracy, and as an American in the modern world. Course meets for five Tuesdays: September 6, 13, 20, October 4, 11.
Required Certificate / Minor Courses
- “Introduction to JCIV,” Prof. Meital Orr (point of contact) and CJC Faculty, JCIV-199
- This course will provide a holistic, multi-disciplinary approach to understanding Jewish Civilization, and will be taught by a different faculty member from the Center for Jewish Civilization (CJC) every week, each of whom will teach the area of their expertise. Students will learn the history of the Jewish people from ancient times to modern-day Israel, including in-depth coverage of the Holocaust and the development of Zionism. Students will learn about Judaism through major Jewish texts, denominations, holidays and life-cycle events – and about Jewish culture, through a global lens on Jewish literature, film and music. Students will learn about historic relations between Islam and Judaism, the Arab world and Israel, as well as how to think about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Students will also learn about Jewish engagement with American democracy, and global Jewish realities impacted by increasing anti-Semitism and white Supremacism in the 20th and 21th centuries. Having learned about the many foundational aspects of Jewish civilization, students will then have the opportunity to pursue further knowledge in any area of the course, through thematically-based classes at the CJC by any of the experts from whom they have learned in this course. Professor Orr will be the point of contact for students in the class, and help guide them through this multi-disciplinary journey.
- “Jewish Civilization Senior Colloquium,” Prof. Anna Sommer, JCIV-443
- As part of the Minor in Jewish Civilization students complete a capstone experience: either a traditional research thesis or a project with a creative component. The capstone project will be a topic related to Jewish civilization, prepared under the supervision of a faculty member associated with the Center for Jewish Civilization, the Visiting Professor of Jewish Civilization, Goldman Visiting Israeli Professor, or if appropriate special permission may be granted by the program director for another Georgetown faculty member to serve as essay advisor. Upon completion, seniors make a presentation of their research at the annual senior thesis colloquium held during commencement week.
CJC Student Spotlight: Talia Fogelman (COL ’22)
Happy April! To usher in the Spring, CJC student Talia Fogelman sat down with us for our latest CJC Student Spotlight. Fogelman is a study abroad student from London. Previously, she studied at the University of Sussex and currently majors in both English and American Studies at Georgetown. Read our interview with her below!
Q: Hi, Talia! Can you briefly tell our audience about yourself?
A: This is my final year of my undergraduate education! When not studying, you can find me with my sorority Kappa Alpha Theta, where I sit on the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee, or organizing with Federal Relations Society. In the U.K. I spend most of my free time organizing. I am particularly passionate about mental health services reform, as well as LGBTQI+ rights and inclusion.
Q: And what are some of your favorite hobbies?
A: I really love musical theatre. At the University of Sussex, I was involved in a musical production every year that I was on campus. The last production I worked on was Chicago in 2019. I was the prop designer, which was a huge step up from being a stagehand. I love being involved in shows. I love the music, excitement and levels of details that go into it, especially in a large-scale production. I also love reading! Recently, I had Covid and read a different book every day of my isolation period. I covered Queer Theory, true crime, and classic journalism. Because schoolwork keeps me so busy, I haven’t had as much time to read as I would like, so reading for pleasure became the silver lining of a terrible experience.
Q: Happy you could find a silver lining! Can you tell us a bit more about your transfer experience?
A: I am incredibly passionate about enacting political change and have a particular interest in the American political landscape. This meant that when I was looking at colleges, I knew I wanted to be in D.C. When I was on vacation two years ago, I came to look at Georgetown’s campus to get a sense of the atmosphere. Everyone was so friendly, and the campus was so beautiful. I then looked further into the classes offered and there were so many great options for my major. I also wanted to live in a city where I would feel safe and comfortable as both a Queer and Jewish person, and D.C. ticked both those boxes. Additionally, I wanted to be challenged academically and I felt that Georgetown would be more than challenging. This, and the opportunity to build relationships with practitioners and students in the city through the various initiatives offered by the university. In short, I felt as though Georgetown would meet my professional and personal needs.
My transfer experience was quite turbulent. Due to the pandemic, I did not know for certain whether I would be coming until about six weeks before I moved. I was meant to come to Georgetown the year before, but online teaching made this impossible. This made the build up quite stressful, and meant that I was not convinced I was coming to Georgetown until I was on the plane! Once I arrived and settled into my apartment, everything else was quite simple. It turned out getting here was the hardest part.
Q: We’re so happy you got here! How were you introduced to the CJC? How has it impacted your time at Georgetown?
A: I was introduced by Professor and CJC Director Bruce Hoffman. I was riding in an elevator with him during my first week at Georgetown. He noticed my Magen David necklace and introduced himself as the Center’s Director. He told me to stop by the and a few days later, even had Jocelyn email me, inviting me to a mixer. I was so shocked that he had remembered me and gone out of his way like that. I now know this act of kindness is completely in character for Professor Hoffman, but as a new student it blew me away.
The CJC has been one of the strongest sources of community, support, and comfort at Georgetown. I met some of my closest friends sitting in the lounge, and my favorite classes have all been CJC ones. I even work at the Center! My time at Georgetown has been infinitely better because of it and all the people who work here.
Q: What has been your favorite CJC class thus far?
A: I would have to say “The Weaponization of Hate” with Professor Jacob Ware. I became interested in domestic terrorism last semester in my “Post 9/11 Culture” class. I appreciate the opportunity to think in greater detail about operating terrorist organizations, as well as the history of domestic terrorism. I am really looking forward to learning more about their methodologies in the coming weeks.
Q: What are some of your additional academic interests? Has being in the Center allowed you to further explore them?
A: When I arrived at Georgetown, my main academic focus was Queer political history. I decided to use my time here to explore other topics that I had not covered as much previously. One of those blind spots was foreign relations and the policymaking process. I discovered a real passion for this area of study thanks to Professor Danielle Pletka. This led to me taking Professor Hoffman’s “Insurgency and Counterinsurgency” class this semester. I hoped to have a better understanding of both military and insurgent strategy to improve my appreciation of issues impacting legislators. I found that these classes complimented each other in surprising ways, and are each fascinating in their own rights.
Q: How have you furthered your learning experience outside of Georgetown? This can be through internships, or other extracurricular activities.
A: I am currently applying for summer internships and am hoping to spend this summer in D.C. interning somewhere where I can expand my understanding of politics. The main learning experiences I have had involved attending talks held by various schools in the area, which I highly recommend to current and incoming students! Queuing from 7:30 in the morning to hear former United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speak and attending CJC talks have been such highlights of my time at Georgetown.
Q: What have been some of your other favorite moments while a student here?
A: The CJC gets the best speakers and I get to transcribe their lectures for my work as a student assistant. This is honestly the best perk of my job. I also really enjoy listening to the other students and faculty members at the CJC lounge talk about foreign relations and politics. I have learned so much from them in such a short period of time. I also love being part of my sorority. When I first joined, everyone said that you will probably have at least one Theta in your classes. I have loved turning around and spotting another Theta in a class; it gives you a basis for a bond. Federal Relations Society is also such a bright spot in my time at Georgetown. Working with such passionate students on initiatives like voter registration drives has been so wonderful and affirming. I have been so lucky to find such great communities in such a short period of time.
Q: Could you tell us how your on-campus club, research, or work commitments supplement your learning?
A: Earlier, I mentioned that I am part of the Federal Relations Society. This is a non-partisan action society. We seek to effect non-partisan political change, both on campus and in the wider D.C. community. This semester I am working on voter registration and information initiatives with them. We are currently working on a collaboration with GU Votes for the end of the month. I am so excited about what we have planned and cannot wait for our actual event. This allows me to put my political learning into action. My focus in my degree has been US political history. Working on initiatives like this allows me to take all that passion and learning and make a positive impact with it.
Q: What are you most looking forward to as you close out your time on the Hilltop? Do you have any advice to students on how they can make the most of their time here?
A: I am looking forward to finishing my undergraduate education and moving onto the next phase of my academic career. Getting to graduate with an actual ceremony is so exciting, especially after COVID. While my time at Georgetown has been short, I would suggest that students say yes to every opportunity that comes their way. Saying yes has led me to some of the best people and the most amazing experiences. There is always something to do and good trouble to be made at Georgetown, I would tell students to keep their eyes peeled and use their power to effect positive change using resources available to them.
Q: Tell us about your plans after Georgetown! What are you most looking forward to?
A: After Georgetown I am moving back to London. In September, I will be starting a Masters in American Politics and History. I could not be more excited to see my family and friends in the UK and for this next learning opportunity. I am going to miss D.C. and everyone I have met here, but I plan to visit!
Thank you so much for sharing with us, Talia! Stay tuned for our next student spotlight.
RSVP to our 2022 Yom HaShoah Lecture, “Remembering and Dismembering the Holocaust: Implications for Today”
The CJC invites you to our annual Yom HaShoah lecture. This year, Professor Alvin H. Rosenfeld will discuss offer his lecture, “Remembering and Dismembering the Holocaust: Implications for Today.” RSVP is required. Only those who register will receive the Zoom link to access the lecture.
About the 2022 Yom HaShoah Lecture
“Dismembering” is a term that Primo Levi used to describe the various ways in which the facts of the Holocaust get denied, distorted, erased. Throughout our annual Yom HaShoah lecture, Professor Alvin H. Rosenfeld will refer to Levi’s strong stand against such abuse and then go on to argue for the imperatives of retaining and transmitting an accurate and truthful record of the past. Its opposite (“dismembering”) and the harm it causes will be exhibited through citing numerous examples of assaults on historical truth, including, most recently, Putin’s goals of “denazifying” Ukraine. The weaponization of Holocaust memory will be shown to tie in to prominent aspects of today’s antisemitism.
Alvin H. Rosenfeld is a Professor of English and Jewish Studies at Indiana University, Bloomington. He received his Ph.D. from Brown University in 1967 and has taught at Indiana University since 1968. He holds the Irving M. Glazer Chair in Jewish Studies and is Director of the university’s Institute for the Study of Contemporary Antisemitism. He founded Indiana University’s well-regarded Borns Jewish Studies Program and served as its director for 30 years. He has been honored with Indiana University Distinguished Service Award, as well as the Provost’s Medal “in recognition of sustained academic excellence, vision, and leadership resulting in lasting and widespread impact.” In 2019, he received the President’s Medal, Indiana University’s highest award, “in recognition of sustained excellence in service, achievement, and leadership.”
The editor of William Blake: Essays (1969) and the Collected Poetry of John Wheelwright (1972), he is also the author of numerous scholarly and critical articles on American poetry, Jewish writers, and the literature of the Holocaust. Indiana University Press published his Confronting the Holocaust: The Impact of Elie Wiesel (co-edited with Irving Greenberg) in 1979 and, in 1980, published his A Double Dying: Reflections on Holocaust Literature (the book has since appeared in German, Polish, and Hungarian translations). With his wife, Erna Rosenfeld, he translated Gunther Schwarberg’s The Murders at Bullenhuser Damm, a book on Nazi medical atrocities published by the Indiana University Press in 1984. His Imagining Hitler was published by Indiana University Press in 1985. Professor Rosenfeld edited Thinking About the Holocaust: After Half a Century (Indiana University Press, 1997), a collection of articles by 13 scholars, which includes his essay, “The Americanization of the Holocaust.” His The Writer Uprooted: Contemporary Jewish Exile Literature appeared with Indiana University Press in 2009. His most recent study of Holocaust literature and memory, The End of the Holocaust, was published in April 2011 with Indiana University Press. The book has been published in German, Hebrew, Hungarian, and Polish translations.
About the Moderator
Ms. Marie Harf presently serves as Executive Director of External Relations and Marketing at Georgetown University’s Walsh School of Foreign Service. She is a national security policy and communications strategist who has held a variety of senior roles in government and politics. Most recently, she has served as a Fox News contributor focused on national security and political analysis. Ms. Harf was a key member of Secretary John Kerry’s team during his tenure leading the State Department. From 2015 until January 2017, she was Secretary Kerry’s Senior Advisor for Strategic Communications, where she ran his overall public strategy, legacy, and media planning. She previously served as the State Department’s Deputy Spokesperson from 2013 to 2015, where she was responsible for conducting the on-camera Daily Press Briefings; representing the Department and the Administration in media appearances; and traveling overseas with Secretary Kerry and other senior officials to over 30 countries on five continents.
RSVP to “Balancing Counterterrorism and Interstate Competition: Implications for U.S. Interests in the Middle East”
The Center for Jewish Civilization is pleased to invite you to our hybrid lecture, “Balancing Counterterrorism and Interstate Competition: Implications for U.S. Interests in the Middle East.” RSVP to our online event here!
About the Event
The Andrew H. Siegal Memorial Lectureship is an annual lecture delivered on the topic of American Middle Eastern foreign policy. We are excited to welcome Dr. Matthew Levitt, who holds the 2021-2022 Andrew H. Siegal Professorship, to deliver a talk titled, “Balancing Counterterrorism and Interstate Competition: Implications for U.S. Interests in the Middle East.”
The 2022 Siegal Lecture will be a hybrid event, taking place in person (location: Georgetown University’s Main Campus) and via Zoom. In adherence to Georgetown’s current Covid-19 guidelines and restrictions, only a limited number of “in person” tickets are available. In order to attend the event in person, please (a) present your “in person admission” ticket upon arrival, (b) follow the University’s protocol for verifying your vaccination status, and (c) complete a health attestation on the morning of their visit to attest that they are symptom-free.
More information regarding this process will be emailed to those who RSVP and present their “in person admission” tickets upon arrival. “Zoom admission” tickets will not be accepted.
Any person with an accommodation request is welcome to email us at email@example.com.
About the Speaker
Dr. Matthew Levitt is the Fromer-Wexler Fellow at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy where he directs the Institute’s Reinhard Program on Counterterrorism and Intelligence. Previously, Levitt served in the senior executive service as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Intelligence and Analysis at the U.S. Department of the Treasury and before that as an FBI counterterrorism analyst, including work on the Millennial and September 11th plots. He also served as a State Department counterterrorism advisor to Gen James L. Jones, the special envoy for Middle East regional security (SEMERS).
Levitt has taught at Georgetown University’s Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service and Johns Hopkins University’s Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, he has held fellowships with the Combating Terrorism Center at the U.S. Military Academy (West Point) and the Homeland Security Policy Institute at George Washington University, and he has sat on the advisory boards of think tanks in Washington, London, Singapore, Israel and the UAE.
Widely published, Dr. Levitt is the author of many articles and studies. His most recent book is Hezbollah: The Global Footprint of Lebanon’s Party of God (Georgetown University Press/Hurst Publishers, 2013) and his latest monograph is Rethinking U.S. Efforts on Counterterrorism: Toward a Sustainable Plan Two Decades after 9/11 (The Washington Institute, 2021).
CJC Student Spotlight: Michelle Fan (SFS ’24)
Happy February! Our latest CJC Student Spotlight is Michelle Fan, a sophomore in the School of Foreign Service studying International Politics with a concentration in International Security. Fan is from San Diego, California. In addition to minoring in Jewish Civilization, she is pursuing a minor in Linguistics. Read our interview with her below!
Q: Hi, Michelle! Can you briefly tell our audience about yourself?
A: Hi everyone! My name is Michelle and I was born and raised in sunny San Diego. I am the youngest of three children (and a Golden Retriever). In high school, I played field hockey and lacrosse, and volunteered as a café barista for five years (pre-COVID).
Q: What are some of your favorite hobbies, Michelle?
A: Crocheting is hands-down my favorite hobby (specifically amigurumi), but anything related to handcrafts is up there. I would also say I am quite the puzzle nerd. Jigsaw puzzles, crosswords, sudoku, KenKen, you name it!
Q: Was there a professor or class that introduced you to the CJC? How has our Center altered your Georgetown experience?
A: I discovered the CJC through my Hebrew professor, Meital Orr, during my freshman year. Speaking with Assistant Director, Brittany Fried, affirmed that I couldn’t miss out on being a part of this community. Nowadays, when I am not in class or in my dorm, you can probably find me in the CJC lounge. Whether they’re helping me out with school and applications, looking after me when I am sick, or just hanging out with me, people at the Center are always there.
Q: We are so happy you’re a part of our community! What has been your favorite CJC class thus far?
A: My favorite CJC class so far has been Director Bruce Hoffman’s “Terrorism in the Middle East and North Africa” course, but I am also partial to my Hebrew classes.
Q: What are some of your academic interests? Has being a CJC student allowed you to further explore them?
A: I slowly converted to IPOL during the Spring semester of my Freshman year. Since then, the CJC’s myriad of Security Studies courses have only encouraged me to continue this path. I would also say that Hebrew courses at Georgetown have also been enjoyable, as someone who is interested in foreign language and linguistics.
Q: What have been some of your favorite moments while a Georgetown student?
A: While this has nothing to do with academics per se, one highlight of my year on campus was being able to experience snowfall last January. This was substantial for a San Diegan!
Q: What clubs, research, or work opportunities do you engage in on campus? How do they supplement your learning?
A: Throughout this past year, I have been working with Professor Moran Stern on his research regarding rebel group fragmentation. The material is intriguing in itself, but this experience has also exposed me to the process behind scholarly research, analysis, editing, and publication. I am also a member of Georgetown’s Club Badminton, and plan on joining Hoyas Inspire Language Learners (HILL) this semester as a Mandarin tutor. My studies generally do not focus on China or the Chinese language, so I hope to maintain my Chinese proficiency and engage with the local community as a part of HILL.
Q: Professor Moran Stern won the University of Maryland’s 2021-2022 Don C. Piper Award for the best journal article by a graduate student. How did you assist Professor Stern with his award-winning article?
A: The CJC referred me to Professor Stern, and the staff have always been there to assist me with my work. I helped him acquire source material, perform coding work, and proofread. I also provided Professor Stern with editorial suggestions on various sections of his article, “Factionalisation From Below: The Case of Palestinian Fatah.”
Q: Can you tell us what the article was about? Was it the first time being exposed to this subject, or did you draw on your previous academic knowledge?
A: The Civil Wars article was about Palestinian Fatah and bottom-group factionalization within the group. I have taken some security studies courses on similar topics, but I had never delved specifically into rebel group fragmentation and cohesion before working with Professor Stern.
Q: What did you learn throughout your time as a Research Assistant (RA) during the writing process?
A: I realized how much time and effort actually goes into the entire writing and publication process. I was able to build off the good work done by some of Professor Stern’s previous RAs for this particular article, but even the final phase of editing required numerous iterations.
Q: Do you still work as Professor Stern’s RA?
A: Yes, I am! I am currently helping him with a project about how foreign fighters impact rebel group fragmentation.
Q: What are you most looking forward to this Spring? Do you have any advice to students on how they can make the most of their time here?
A: I am really just looking forward to being able to take classes and spend time with my classmates and friends. And of course, I can’t wait to get back to the CJC lounge.
If I could offer any advice, it would be not to be afraid to ask for advice! Being in a virtual mode of instruction was disorienting, especially on top of transitioning from high school to college and from San Diego to D.C. Connecting with alumni and upperclassmen gave me a better sense of direction when it came to my studies and overall Georgetown experience. The CJC and wider Georgetown community are always so welcoming and understanding. It never hurts to just ask!
View Our Spring 2022 Course Lineup!
The Center for Jewish Civilization is pleased to announce its lineup of Spring 2022 courses!
Holocaust & Genocide Studies
- “Holocaust: Gender & Racial Ideology,” Prof. Anna Sommer, JCIV-175
- “Holocaust Forensics Fieldwork Centennial Lab,” Father Patrick Desbois & Prof. Andrej Umansky, JCIV-310
- “The Forensics of Mass Killings,” Father Patrick Desbois & Prof. Andrej Umansky, JCIV-445
- “Opening of the Pius XII Archives and Holocaust Research” (One-Credit), Prof. Suzanne Brown-Fleming, JCIV-027
International Affairs & Diplomacy
- “Untangling the Middle East: Religion, Politics, and Ethnicity,” Prof. Ori Soltes, JCIV-109
- “How to Fight for Human Rights,” Prof. Ira Forman, JCIV-188
- “From the Zionist Movement to Contemporary Israel,” Prof. Moran Stern, JCIV-230
- “Insurgency and Counterinsurgency,” Prof. Bruce Hoffman, JCIV-231
- “The Weaponization of Hate: Antisemitism, Racism, Islamophobia, and Xenophobia in the COVID-19 Pandemic Era,” Prof. Jacob Ware, JCIV-281
- “Combating Terrorist Financing 20 Years After 9/11,” Prof. Matthew Levitt, JCIV-291
- “Statecraft and Negotiation,” Amb. Dennis Ross, JCIV-444
- “Islam, Judaism and Western Civilization,” Prof. Ed Husain, JCIV-447
- “From Resolution to Management and Prevention: The Evolution of the UN’s Roles in the Israeli Palestinian Conflict” (One-Credit), Prof. Jonathan Lincoln, JCIV-023
- “Countering Violent Extremism: The Role We All Play” (One-Credit), Prof. Farah Pandith, JCIV-024
Humanities and Literature / Jewish Studies
- “Re-Examining the Middle East Crisis Through Literature and Film,” Prof. Meital Orr, JCIV-196
- “God and the Goal Posts,” Prof. Ori Soltes, JCIV-217
- “Kabbalah in Its Contexts,” Prof. Ori Soltes, JCIV-241
- “Global Secularisms,” Prof. Jacques Berlinerblau, JCIV-294
- “Dynamic Dialogue: Talmudic Talks on Interfaith Engagement,” Rabbi Rachel Gartner and Rabbi Abraham Skorka, JCIV-013
Required Certificate / Minor Courses
- “Introduction to JCIV (Great Jewish Texts Through Space and Time),” Prof. Meital Orr, JCIV-199
- “Jewish Civilization Senior Colloquium,” Prof. Anna Sommer, JCIV-443
CJC Student Spotlight: Derek Tassone (COL ’22)
Happy November! It is time for the latest installment of our Student Spotlight Series. This month we interviewed Derek Tassone, a senior in the College from Clearwater, Florida. Tassone majors in both Government and History. Scroll below to read his advice to current Georgetown students and his reflection on his academic and extracurricular experiences.
Q: Thank you for participating in our spotlight, Derek! Can you briefly tell us about yourself?
A: Hi! My name is Derek Tassone. As a senior in the College from Clearwater, I am definitely missing the Florida heat and beaches. In my free time I enjoy listening to classic rock, collecting records, going to bookstores, and buying books that I can’t find the time to read.
Q: How were you introduced to the CJC? How has it impacted your time at Georgetown?
A: I was first introduced to the Center for Jewish Civilization when I took Professor Jonathan Ray’s “History of Antisemitism” class in Fall 2019. The following spring, I added the minor. It has had a major impact on my time at Georgetown; I have taken at least two CJC classes every semester ever since I added the minor. The classes have helped me meet the requirements for my two majors. That has been the incredible thing about the Center’s classes – the interdisciplinary nature of Jewish Studies allows for the CJC to shape my entire academic experience.
Q: What has been your favorite CJC class thus far?
A: My favorite CJC class has been Professor Ray’s “History of Antisemitism.” As depressing as the topic was, it was incredibly informative and had a major impact on my academic trajectory.
Q: What are some of your academic interests? Has being in the Center allowed you to further explore them?
A: Building off Professor Ray’s class, as well as Professor Ira Forman’s “How to Fight for Human Rights,” I’m extremely interested in studying the phenomena of antisemitism: how it has manifested historically, what is fueling its current increase, and how it can best be addressed. I am also interested in the unique role that the United States has played in Jewish history, so I also highly recommend Professor Ray’s class, “Judaism in America,” as well as Professor Ed Husain’s class, “Islam, Judaism, and Western Civilization.”
Q: Great recommendations, Derek! How have you furthered your learning experience outside of the CJC and College?
A: The Center provided me with the intellectual background and connections that have allowed me to harness anti-hate opportunities. This past summer, I interned for the Florida division of the Anti-Defamation League. Currently, I am interning with the ADL’s Center on Extremism, where I am researching extremist activity.
Q: What have been some major highlights during your time as a student thus far?
A: In addition to the CJC, I cannot recommend GU Politics enough. The events that they host and the guests they bring to campus are incredible. I will never forget the Climate Forum and being able to meet Andrew Yang and U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg.
Q: You are writing quite an interesting thesis while enrolled in our colloquium this year. Could you tell us about your research question and methods? Who is your advisor?
A: My research question is an ambitious one: I’m arguing that Anglo-American Liberalism is uniquely situated as an ideology advantageous for Jews, and that the current increase in antisemitism in both the United States and United Kingdom is driven by illiberalism. My advisor is Professor Husain, who has been incredibly supportive and helpful.
Q: What are you most looking forward to as your time on the Hilltop draws to a close? Do you have any advice to students on how they can make the most of their time at Georgetown?
A: As I approach the end of my time here at Georgetown, I can say that I am most looking forward to the continued normalization of things here on campus – I enjoy the virtual CJC events, but I am looking forward to more in-person events! The advice I would give to students is to feel comfortable reaching out to professors and building connections with them. Attend office hours, learn from their personal experiences, and they can help guide you through your journey as you figure out what you want to do after graduation.
Introducing our 2021-2022 Andrew H. Siegal Professor in American Middle Eastern Foreign Policy
The Center for Jewish Civilization is pleased to announce that Dr. Matthew Levitt of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy will serve as this year’s Andrew H. Siegal Professor in American Middle Eastern Foreign Policy. The annual professorship and lectureship is made possible by the support of Mr. Michael Deutsch (COL‘88, L‘92; partner with and co-founder of Singer Deutsch LLP) and his family. It was inaugurated in honor of the late Andrew Siegal, a philanthropist who lived in both the United States and Israel, and is inspired by Siegal’s hopeful vision for the Middle East.
For years, the professorship has allowed CJC students to work closely with skilled practitioners and scholars. Past fellows have included Professors Tamara Cofman Wittes and Danielle Pletka. The CJC’s very own Ambassador Dennis Ross was last year’s Siegal Professor, and offered a lecture on “What the Biden Administration Faces in the Middle East.”
Dr. Levitt will continue our time-honored tradition by teaching a course titled “Combatting Terrorist Financing 20 Years after 9/11” during the Spring 2022 semester. The class aims to unpuzzle how both foreign and domestic terrorists organizations are resourced, how they move and access money, and how governments and other international actors seek to combat the financing of transnational threats. He will doubtlessly contribute to the Center’s strong culture of mentorship during his time as fellow.
“It is a tremendous honor to be named the Andrew H. Siegel Professor in American Middle Eastern Foreign Policy for the 2021-2022 academic year,” Levitt stated. “The fact that the CJC maintains a fellowship specifically geared toward establishing close and meaningful relationships between students and thought leaders here in the D.C. community,” he continued, “underscores the Center’s commitment to taking learning beyond the classroom.”
This upcoming semester, Dr. Levitt particularly looks forward to engaging with students on issues relating not only to counterterrorism and security issues, but broader U.S. policy toward the Middle East, as well. He anticipates that this engagement will be a two-way street: “over the years I have taught at Johns Hopkins SAIS and Georgetown SFS, I have learned much from my students and the varied perspectives they bring to any given foreign policy discussion.”
Dr. Matthew Levitt is the Fromer-Wexler Fellow at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, where he directs the Institute’s Reinhard Program on Counterterrorism and Intelligence. Previously, Levitt served in the senior executive service as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Intelligence and Analysis at the U.S. Department of the Treasury. Before that, he served as an FBI counterterrorism analyst, including work on the Millennial and September 11th plots. Additionally, he served as a State Department counterterrorism advisor to Gen. James L. Jones, the special envoy for Middle East regional security (SEMERS).
Levitt is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, he has held fellowships with the Combating Terrorism Center at the U.S. Military Academy (West Point) and the Homeland Security Policy Institute at George Washington University, and he has sat on the advisory boards of think tanks in Washington, London, Singapore, Israel and the UAE.
Widely published, Dr. Levitt is the author of many articles and studies. His most recent book is Hezbollah: The Global Footprint of Lebanon’s Party of God (Georgetown University Press/Hurst Publishers, 2013) and his latest monograph is Rethinking U.S. Efforts on Counterterrorism: Toward a Sustainable Plan Two Decades after 9/11 (The Washington Institute, 2021).
Stay tuned for the Center’s announcement of event details for Dr. Levitt’s 2022 Andrew H. Siegal Memorial Lecture in American Middle Eastern Foreign Policy!
CJC Student Spotlight: Isabelle Greenberg (SFS ’24)
Happy October! It is time for the latest installment of our Student Spotlight Series! This month we interviewed Isabelle Greenberg, a sophomore in the School of Foreign Service from Libertyville, Illinois. Greenberg majors in International Politics with a concentration in International Security. In addition to her minor in Jewish Civilization, she is also pursuing a minor in Arabic. Read about her CJC experience below!
Q: Thank you for participating in our spotlight series, Isabelle! Can you tell our readers a bit about yourself?
A: Hi everyone! I am from Libertyville, Illinois, which is in the northern suburbs of Chicago. I love listening to music, going to art museums, and trying new restaurants with friends. My go-to fun fact for icebreakers is that I am afraid of squirrels.
Q: How did you become a CJC student?
A: I was introduced to the Center for Jewish Civilization virtually, during my freshman New Student Orientation. During that time, I had the chance to meet with Assistant Director Brittany Fried, Director Bruce Hoffman, and some amazing CJC professors! I am beyond grateful for the sense of community and the “home away from home” that I have been able to experience here. I can go to the Center for anything — resume printing and review, decompressing from a tough week over baked goods, or just enjoying a quiet spot in which to relax.
Q: Can you tell us about your first CJC class? Which one was your favorite?
A: My first CJC class was “The Weaponization of Hate” with Professor Jacob Ware — I absolutely recommend it to all students! I also thoroughly enjoyed taking Professor Ed Husain’s “Islam, Judaism, and Western Civilization” course this summer.
Q: Tell us about some of your academic interests. How have you explored them as a CJC student?
A: The Center completely changed my academic trajectory during my freshman year. I was introduced to the security studies program through CJC peer mentorship (shoutout to Yebin Won!) and I have been able to develop those interests further while here. This summer, I had the opportunity to be a research and teaching assistant for Professor Sarah-Masha Fainberg’s geopolitics and regional security course, “Israel, Russia, and Eurasia.” This class is taught in conjunction with the Graduate Center for Security Studies.
Q: In September, you represented the School of Foreign Service at the Department of Defense’s Student Panel Commemorating 9/11. Could you tell us a bit about that experience?
A: It was such an honor to be nominated to participate in the Department of Defense’s panel. I was born a few short months after 9/11, but my parents have worked in the medical field as a doctor and nurse. Also, my dad was a firefighter during college and my mom worked in a police station, so when I was growing up the magnitude of what our nation endured that day was not understated. Listening to the panelists’ experiences at the Pentagon that day was emotionally charged, and it was a humbling experience to pose a question about the continued moral and civic duties we owe to the first responders of 9/11. Although I was not expecting to be called on first! That was a little nerve-wracking to say the least.
Q: That is remarkable, Isabelle! Thank you for sharing. Have you experienced any other notable moments while a GU student? Have there been any highlights of your time thus far?
A: One of my favorite moments was standing on the Leavey Esplanade with my friends at night after attending a Georgetown Weeks of Welcome event. This may sound completely mundane and ordinary, but after having been at home for the past year, seeing almost the entirety of the Hilltop all lit up at night for the first time was amazing. After the pandemic and my experience with Zoom University, I do not think I will take the little things — like that view — for granted again.
Q: What clubs, research, or work opportunities do you engage in on campus?
A: Like many other Georgetown students, my GCal is always full and you can find me running around campus to get from meeting to meeting. I am a cellist in Georgetown’s orchestra, which has been so wonderful as a stress reliever and a break from homework. I am also in Georgetown Global Consulting, where I work with a team to help nonprofits from across the world. My current project for this semester focuses on fundraising revitalization for an organization that offers STEM education and sports programming to students in Cameroon. Throughout high school, I was the president of an internship program for a nonprofit that empowers communities in Guatemala City. So, I am beyond excited and grateful to further my passion for international development. I am also in the process of co-authoring an article with Professor Fainberg this semester that builds upon the work we did together last summer. Additionally, I am also a part of GU’s Astronomical Society and the International Relations Club, which are great for making new friends — and for study breaks!
Q: What are you most looking forward to this semester?
A: I am mostly just excited to be on campus for the first time — in-person learning is so much better than Zoom. It is great to actually be able to connect with people and get involved in activities and events on campus. Although I think I was most excited about the CJC sushi mixer this semester!
RSVP to “Modernity in the Eastern Sephardi Diaspora: The Jews of Late Ottoman Izmir”
October 14, 2021, 6:00 PM EST – 7:00 PM EST
About the Event:
This lecture will tell the story of a long-overlooked Ottoman Jewish community in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Drawing extensively on a rich body of previously untapped Ladino archival material, the lecture will also offer a new read on Jewish modernity. Across Europe, Jews were often confronted with the notion that their religious and cultural distinctiveness was somehow incompatible with the modern age. Yet the view from Ottoman Izmir invites a different approach: what happens when Jewish difference is totally unremarkable? What happens when there is no “Jewish Question?” Through the voices of beggars on the street and mercantile elites, shoe-shiners and newspaper editors, rabbis and housewives, this lecture will underscore how it was new attitudes to poverty and social class, not Judaism, that most significantly framed this Sephardi community’s encounter with the modern age.
About the Speaker:
Dr. Dina Danon is an Associate Professor of Judaic Studies at Binghamton University. She holds a doctorate in History from Stanford University. Dr. Danon is the author of The Jews of Ottoman Izmir: A Modern History (Stanford University Press, 2020), a finalist for the National Jewish Book Award in Sephardic Culture. She was recently a fellow at the Katz Center for Judaic Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, where she began work on a new project on the marketplace of matchmaking, marriage, and divorce in the eastern Sephardi diaspora. Dr. Danon is currently at work, with Nancy Berg, on a co-edited volume entitled Longing and Belonging: Jews and Muslims in the Modern Age.