INAF-197 Jewish Popular Culture
Fall for 2017-2018
Litvak, Olga
How did modern Jews become Jewish? Most people would look to the Bible and to the Talmud for the origins of contemporary Jewish identity. In this course, we will see that the sources of modern Jewishness not only lie beyond the canonic Jewish bookshelf and the age-old teachings of the rabbis but actively challenge the ideals of piety espoused in the study house and in the classical texts produced by learned elites. Focusing on the development of a vibrant Jewish common culture between the age of print and the age of television, we will explore the relationship between new media and the modern Jewish imagination. In our journey through Jewish vernacular expression -- literary, visual and performative -- we will look at the ways in which Jewish writers and artists contributed to the creation of a modern Jewish public sphere and enabled modern Jewish men and women to rise to the daily challenges of economic and social conflict, sexual politics, and ethnic diversity. Sources under critical consideration will range from fiction and drama to music and film and will include long-lived bestsellers such as the Tale of Bovo, the Prince, as well as works that continue to exercise a powerful hold on Jewish audiences in our own time, such as Fiddler on the Roof, The Dybbuk and Curb Your Enthusiasm.
Credits: 3
Prerequisites: None
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