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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of History, Classics and Archaeology : History

Undergraduate Course: Modern Jewish History: Experiences and Agency in Central and Eastern Europe (HIST10394)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of History, Classics and Archaeology CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course analyses modern European Jewish history in its changing gentile contexts from Eastern to Central Europe, from the age of Enlightenment to the aftermath of the Holocaust.
Course description Studying Jewish experiences in the 19th and 20th centuries helps us to look closely at European modernization in all its facets and impacts. Secularization, the erosion of traditions, social and local mobility, the end of state-based society and the rise of market economy, emancipation, liberalism, as well as reactionist movements, ethnic nationalism and the radical (and destructive) ideological regimes of the 20th century all effected Jewish life tremendously. At the same time, Jews actively took part in the various processes of modernization and shaped new Jewish identities.
Topics include: From Judaism to Jewishness; the "Jewish Questions": Emancipation, assimilation, acculturation; Religious internationalism and Jewish affairs in the 19th Century; Fin-de-siecle culture and anti-Semitism; Zionism, the First World War and the Jews; modern Jewish Politics in the interwar period; anti-Semitism in the 1930ies; the murder of European Jewry in occupied Europe; cultures and politics of remembrance after the Holocaust.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements A pass or passes in 40 credits of first level historical courses or equivalent and a pass or passes in 40 credits of second level historical courses or equivalent.
Before enrolling students on this course, Personal Tutors are asked to contact the History Honours Admission Administrator to ensure that a place is available (Tel: 503780).
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesVisiting students should have at least 3 History courses at grade B or above (or be predicted to obtain this). We will only consider University/College level courses. Applicants should note that, as with other popular courses, meeting the minimum does NOT guarantee admission.

** as numbers are limited, visiting students should contact the Visiting Student Office directly for admission to this course **
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. demonstrate a solid knowledge of the major developments in Jewish culture and life in Central and Eastern Europe in modern times.
  2. reflect critically upon concepts such as secularization, assimilation, anti-Semitism;
  3. arrive at independent, well-argued, well-documented and properly referenced conclusions in their coursework essays.
Reading List
1. Yuri Slezkine: The Jewish Century, Princeton 2004.
2. Dan Diner, Jonathan Frankel: Dark times, dire decisions : Jews and Communism, New York 2004.
3. Donald Bloxham: The Final Solution: A Genocide, Oxford 2009.
4. Ezra Mendelsohn: On Modern Jewish Politics, Oxford 1993.
5. Steven Beller: Vienna and the Jews, 1867-1938 : a cultural history, Cambridge 1990.
6. Jonathan Frankel: Prophecy and Politics Socialism, Nationalism, and the Russian Jews, 1862-1917, Cambridge 1981.
7. Marsha Rozenblit: Reconstructing a National Identity. The Jews of Habsbrug Austria During World War I, Oxford 2001.
8. Ruth Gruber: Virtually Jewish : reinventing Jewish culture in Europe, Berkeley 2002.
9. Sander Gilman: The Jew's Body, London 1992.
10. Abigail Green: Nationalism and the Jewish International: Religious Internationalism in Europe and the Middle East c.1840 c.1880, in: Comparative Studies in Society and History, 2008, Vol.50(2), pp.535-558.
11. Carole Fink: Defending the rights of others : the great powers, the Jews, and international minority protection, 1878-1938, Cambridge 2004.
12. Hannah Arendt: Eichmann in Jerusalem : a report on the banality of evil. London 2006.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills The study of the past gives students a unique understanding of the present that will enable them to succeed in a broad range of careers. The transferable skills gained from this course include:
- understanding of complex issues and how to draw valid conclusions from the past;
- ability to analyse the origins and development of current political and historiographical questions;
- a command of bibliographical and library- and/or IT-based online and offline research skills;
- a range of skills in reading and textual analysis;
- ability to question and problematize evidence; considering the relationship between evidence and interpretation;
- ability to marshal arguments lucidly, coherently and concisely, both orally and in writing;
- ability to deliver a paper or a presentation in front of peer audiences;
- ability to analyse primary sources;
- ability to design and execute pieces of written work and to present them suitably, as evidenced by the assessment essay of 3,000 words.
KeywordsModern Jewish History
Course organiserDr Tim Buchen
Tel: (0131 6)50 9110
Course secretaryMiss Annabel Stobie
Tel: (0131 6)50 3783
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