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Course Description

Russian Jewish Writers (3 cr.)
Ari Stern-Gottschalk
JSTU-J 303 Arts & Humanities Topics in Jewish Studies #35598 / SLAV-S 320 Special Topics in Slavic Studies #35568
TR 9:30 am-12:00 pm (LI1051)
2nd 8 week course

How do we define "Russian Jewish" writers? Is our definition based on the content of the writers’ work, on the language in which they write, on where they live and/or where they were born? These questions are complicated by how we define "Jewish" in the often controversial and sometimes ambiguous Russian and Soviet context. In this course students will explore these questions, pose their own, and develop individual definitions of Russian Jewish writers. During class we will discuss 19th-21st-century literature (poetry, fiction, drama, memoir) written by Jews in Russia and by émigrés; watch a few film adaptations of the literature; talk about the history and geography and migration of Russia's Jews, especially authors, in this period; explore biographies of several writers; and survey some secondary sources and commentary that might help us best address the questions posed above. Assignments will include one-page essays about the works we read, a paper outlining and supporting the student’s definition of Russian Jewish authors, and a creative project about an author who belongs to this definition and his/her works. 

All readings and discussion will be in English and the course does not require any knowledge of Russian, Hebrew, or Yiddish.