2022 Course Offerings Relating to Judaism and Jewish Studies

Winter 2022

RELI 2535: Religion and Gender

Instructor: Sarah Cook

Religion and gender are both categories that have been central to human identities throughout history. From the first woman created in Genesis 2 as a “corresponding strength” to the practice of modest dress among modern Muslims, religious texts and traditions actively inform the way that people articulate their gender identities. Individuals, as in the case of the queer nuns known as “The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence,” can also push back against traditional religious gender roles and change the narrative of gender within their communities. In this course, we will discuss contemporary gender theory and explore how religious communities all over the world throughout history have constructed gender for their adherents. We will also investigate where and how these religious constructions of gender have been disrupted.

RELI 2710: Maccabees to Muhammad – 2nd half

Instructor: Andrea Lobel

In this course, students will be introduced to the historical trajectory and literature of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. During both semesters, we will examine topics such as identity formation and maintenance, ethnicity, law, canon, heresy, and exile, among others. These will be situated in their sociopolitical and religious contexts. Throughout, we will also view these topics through the lens of several unifying themes. These will include:

1. Othering, including heresy, and the discourse on monotheism vs. polytheism and “idolatry,”

2. Supersessionism, and 3. Communal identity formation and maintenance.

These themes will be highlighted and framed from a critical perspective as we move through the course content.

RELI 3840: Special Topic: Who Wrote The Bible?

Instructor: Sarah Cook

We have clues about who the authors of the Hebrew Bible may have been, and we have traditional suspects. The phrase “the Torah of Moses” suggests that the first five books of the Hebrew Bible might have been the work of history’s most put-upon prophet. Biblical books with names like “Joshua,” Samuel,” and “Jeremiah” offer us even more suspects who were especially popular among the rabbis as well as Christian scholars throughout the ages. By the 17th century, European scholars, armed with Enlightenment Rationality, started to develop their own theories about the nature and origin of this foundational western text. In this course, we will explore the rich history of theories regarding biblical authorship and draw upon both material culture and literary evidence to form our own theories. We will consider questions including how did authorship work in the ancient world? Why did people write? Where and how did they write? How can we effectively use the available literary evidence to theorize about the authorship of a text? By drawing on as many categories of evidence as possible and noticing where the evidence converges, we will attempt to answer the question of who wrote the Hebrew Bible.

RELI 4850 T: Special Topic: Holocaust Responses

Instructor: Deidre Butler

This seminar explores the historical development of religious, philosophical, and cultural responses to the Holocaust in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, with an emphasis on Jewish perspectives and the questions the Holocaust raises today. The seminar moves chronologically and thematically through a range of religious, philosophical and cultural responses to the Shoah. These include voices from the Holocaust period itself, from Jewish and Christian sermons, letters within religious communities, rabbinic response, and Nazi propaganda films. Post-Holocaust responses include Jewish, Christian, and Muslim philosophical, theological and cultural responses, feminist theology, documentary and popular film, video survivor testimony, literature –fiction and memoir, museums, and public memorials, official commemoration and educational curricula. These responses constitute a richly layered intertextual discourse that plays out within and among particular communities as well as participating in public narratives about the Holocaust in Canada, Israel and around the world. As such, the seminar focuses on interdisciplinary questions of history, memory, representation, identity, and public life. The final project is a digital humanities project that is also experiential providing students with real-world experience in developing public-facing research. Students will be identifying, curating, and developing resources for the study of the Holocaust for secondary and post-secondary students and teachers to be made available through the Carleton University Zelikovitz Centre for Jewish Studies web site. Students may optionally apply to assist researching and producing a short documentary film based on raw footage filmed in 2021 of survivors and second generation speaking about the Holocaust.

Carleton University Travel Course “Jerusalem Connections” 2022

RELI 3850: Religion & Culture in Place: Jerusalem Connections (undergraduates)

RELI 5850: Religion and Public Life in Place: Jerusalem Connections (graduates)

Instructor: Deidre Butler

Accompanying: Pamela Walker

May 9-31st 2022.

This travel course invites students to explore the rich history of Jerusalem and its environs and connect that history to the diverse contemporary religious and cultural communities in these places. We will travel throughout Israel with excursions into East Jerusalem and the West Bank. Our traveling classroom will investigate a variety of examples of Religion and Public Life from ancient to modern, from traditional to secular. We will take seriously what it means to think about religion and culture in a particular place. How is Jerusalem, and particular sites in its environs, understood by different groups? How are diaspora identities connected to Jerusalem and its environs? How are they imagined, remembered, and experienced in these places?

The course highlights the extraordinary cultural and religious diversity of this place with students encountering Bedouins in the Negev, Christian pilgrims at the Jordan river, Druze in Isfiya, Ethiopian Jews in Northern Israel, visiting the Baha’i Temple in Haifa, staying at a kibbutz in the Galilee, and by meeting and interacting with local students. Our travels will include exploring biblical Israel by participating in archeological day digs at Tel Maresha and at the Temple Mount; tracing the origins of Christianity out of Judaism in the Galilee and in Jerusalem, Bethlehem and the Galilee; historical and contemporary Islam at the Temple Mount, in Jaffa, and Nazareth; Second Temple Judaism  at Qumran and Masada; the history of the Crusades at the ruins of a Crusader fortress in Acre and Herzliya; Jewish mysticism in 17th century Safed, and the significance of the Holocaust at Yad Vashem.  Students will explore modern Israel through civil legal questions about religious status and identity at the Knesset and the Supreme Court; learn from activists fighting for gendered religious equality at the Western Wall; hear from LGBTQ, environmental, interfaith, and peace activists in Israeli and Palestinian contexts. This course involves experiential learning.