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Indiana University Bloomington
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Course Description

VT: Intersections on Blackness and Jewishness (1 cr)
COLL-X 211 Experimental Topics (37698)
M 4:10-5:50
2nd 8 Weeks

An exploration into the shared diasporic legacies of African American and Jewish cultures in confronting the New World. We will probe the positive and negative features of the interaction between them in America and its impact on their values, ways of life and aspirations. The course aims to highlight the multifaceted relationships between “meanings, messages, and people” and how ethnic tensions, sociocultural events, and solidarity function to facilitate or constrain meaningful social change between Jews and Blacks. Topics to be covered include racial dynamics, musical heritage, biblical influences, folkways and more.

The class will meet once a week, each time hosted by a different professor/speaker by way of presenting a rich framework for comprehension of a fuller human story that these two peoples forged in the USA. The course will culminate in an end-of-term written project wherein students will investigate a compelling issue or event that was a point of contention between Jews and Blacks (For example: The Freedom Rides, the Civil Rights Movement, the intersection of music and other performance topics. Each project will be graded by a professor close to the topic. Readings or other selections (music, film, etc.) will be on the course Canvas page under the name of each professor.

  • Oct 17—Valerie Grim --"Southern Culture, Jewish Presence & the Expression of Faith & Freedom in Rural African-American Church Communities Prior to & During the Civil Rights Struggles of the 1950s and 1960s"
  • Oct 24—Carolyn Calloway-Thomas --"Jews, Blacks, the Exodus Story and Social Change"
  • Oct 31—Stephen Katz --"African-Americans in Modern Hebrew Literature in America"
  • Nov 7—Sarah Imhoff --"Black Jews"
  • Nov 14—Aziza Khazzoom --"Walls, or Blackness in Israeli Racial/Ethnic Dynamics"
  • Nov 28—Judah Cohen --"Music--Deliverance Narratives"
  • Dec 5—Jakobi Williams --"African-Americans, Jews, and Hip-Hop"