Courses Offered in African & Asian Languages and Literature

Hebrew Language Courses:

Beginning Modern Hebrew 1

2nd Year Modern Hebrew 1

3rd Year Modern Hebrew 1

Heritage Learners Hebrew 1
For students with significant speaking and listening background. Modern Hebrew course with the emphasis on reading and writing. Covers first year Hebrew in one semester.

Introduction to Modern Hebrew Literature 1
Readings in modern Hebrew literary texts, both short fiction and poetry, geared to students who have six semesters of Hebrew or equivalent . A study of the literature is emphasized, though some language work is done to aid reading comprehension. Tests are in Hebrew; language of instruction is Hebrew.

Introduction to Modern Hebrew Literature 2
This course is a continuation of HMW 3200. The selection of texts is more contemporary and includes recently published stories and poems. Class is instructed in Hebrew.

Courses in Translation:

Faulkner in Israel (Hasak-Lowy)
In this course--after first getting familiar with Faulkner's use of multiple narrators through one of his best-known novels (As I Lay Dying)--we will explore the application of this technique to a series of Israeli novels. This course will investigate how Hebrew writers use shared narration to represent a variety of contemporary Israeli identities. We will focus on ways in which Israeli novelists enlist multiple narrators in order to uniquely address ethnic tensions between Ashkenazi and Sephardi Jews, the debate over the nature of Israeli collective memory, and the conflict between Jewish Israelis, Arab Israelis, and Palestinians. No knowledge of Hebrew is required.

Identity and Dissent in the Hebrew Short Story (Hasak-Lowy)
This course traces the evolution of the tension between the individual and the collective during the first hundred-plus years of modern Hebrew fiction. Our approach will include questions concerning both the "inside" (point of view, character, plot) and "outside" (history, gender, ethnicity) of each story, enabling us to use fiction to examine Jewish, Zionist, and Israeli society and identities. While virtually everything about Hebrew fiction has changed over the last century--from the language itself to the condition of both its writers and readers--the question of the individual's place in the larger collective remains central. No knowledge of Hebrew is required.

Israeli History and the Contemporary Novel (Hasak-Lowy)
The hundred plus year history of modern Zionism and the state of Israel stands as one of the most intriguing stories of the twentieth century. Uniquely complex and endlessly disputed, gaining even a rudimentary understanding of this history is at once alluring and intimidating. This course will investigate Israeli history through a literary lens. Reading a series of inventive novels written in the last thirty years, we will ask: how does fiction represent history? In what ways can an experimental novel illuminate the past that a standard historical narrative cannot? What is the role of memory in these fictions? What can such novels teach us about the most contested aspects of Israeli history, including the Arab-Israeli conflict? No knowledge of Hebrew is required.

Israeli Literature in Translation (Balaban)
Readings in Israeli fiction from the 1940's to the 1990's. Topics include stories of childhood, war, the kibbutz, images of Arabs, women, the Holocaust, nostalgia and social change. No knowledge of Hebrew is required.

Jews and Arabs in Modern Hebrew Literature (Balaban)
The first Jewish settlers, who immigrated in the last decades of the ninetieth century to Palestine to find a safe haven, did not come to an empty locale. Thus, over the past hundred years two beginnings occurred concomitantly, the beginning of the creative process for an original Hebrew culture, and the beginning of the confrontation between two peoples struggling for the same land. This struggle has constituted one of the most prevalent themes of Hebrew literature. The course will follow the different phases of this theme throughout the twentieth century (the Arab as a noble savage; the Arab as the threatening enemy; the Arab as the Shadow of the Israeli psyche, etc.). The general situation of enmity and otherness is even more complicated when it comes to the depiction of Arabs in Hebrew literature. On the one hand, several Hebrew writers were raised in Arabic culture before immigrating to Israel, and on the other hand several Arabic writers, who were born in Israel, have started publishing their work in Hebrew. In other words, Jews and Arabs are not just enemies, but also inextricably connected to each other. Several of the Jewish authors (Oz, Yehoshua, Grossman) write political essays along their creative writing. We'll examine to what extent they express the same attitudes in the different genres. In discussing the texts we'll apply both literary theories of interpretation and postcolonial theories (Fanon, Said, Bhabha, etc). No knowledge of Hebrew is required.

Post-Zionism: Ideology and Literature (Hasak-Lowy)
This course will begin with an introduction to the history of Zionism. We will next survey a set of critical positions--known collectively as 'Post-Zionism'--that challenges the central place of Zionist ideology in contemporary Israel. Much of the semester will then be dedicated to the treatment of three contemporary Israeli novels, read against the backdrop of Zionist and Post-Zionist thought and ideology. The course will thus focus on the relationship between literature and ideology in modern Israel. No knowledge of Hebrew is required.

Women in Hebrew Literature (Balaban)
This course examines the different images of women as depicted in Hebrew literature throughout the twentieth century. It starts with a close reading of stories by writers who established the new center of Hebrew literature in then-Palestine: S.Y. Agnon, Devora Baron. Then we study some stories of the "Palmach generation" (Moshe Shamir, Aharon Megged, Yigal Mossinson). A major part of the course is dedicated to the works of the "New Wave" writers of the early 1960's, Amos Oz, A.B. Yehosua, Amalia Kahana-Carmon, and Aharon Appelfeld. The final part of the course deals with the new wave of female writers, who started publishing in the late 1980's. No knowledge of Hebrew is required.

Courses Offered in Other Departments:
Anthropology, English, Geography, German and Slavic Studies, History, Linguistics, Music, Political Science, Religion, Jewish Studies





Student Resources



Anthropology, English, Geography, German and Slavic Studies, History, Linguistics, Music, Political Science, Religion, Jewish Studies