Fall 2015 Course Syllabus

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Fall 2015 Course Syllabus

Jewish Identities in the Americas
LAH 350 (29414)

JS 363 (39284)

Course carries a Global Cultures Flag

Meets: TTh 9:30a-11:00a, CLA 2.606


Robert H. Abzug, Professor of History and American Studies (U.S. and Canada)

Office Hours: TTH 11-12 CLA 2.402 or by appointment zug@austin.utexas.edu

W 2-3 GAR 3.310
Naomi Lindstrom, Professor of Spanish and Portuguese (Latin America/Latino Jews in U.S.)

Office Hours: T 2:30-4:00 in BEN 4.144, or by appointment lindstrom@austin.utexas.edu

Th 2:30-4:00 in CLA 2.402,

Required Texts: Readings posted in Canvas

Please consult Canvas for readings and prepare them in advance of class:
August 27 First Day of Class – Introduction
September 1 Who is a Jew? What is Jewish Life and Identity?

September 3 Overview of Latin American Jewish History

September 8 Overview of American and Canadian Jewish History

September 10 Overview Continued – Questions and Comments

September 15 Immigration South:

Muñiz-Huberman, "The Pirates' Cook"

Gerchunoff, excerpt from The Jewish Gauchos

Alpersohn, "Of Pimps, Prostitutes, and Other Seducers"

Shua, "Almost Like America" and "The Name Rimetka"

September 17 Immigration North:

Readings from Abraham Cahan and Emma Lazarus
September 22 Legado (2004)

September 24 The Jazz Singer (1927)

September 29 Popular Music of the Americas

Mariachi and Klezmer (short documentary)

Clips from Tango: A History with Jews

Irving Berlin, George Gershwin, and Tin Pan Alley

October 1 David Unger visits class

Unger, “Canillas de leche”

*** due date, proposal of topic for term paper***

October 6 Review

October 8 First Examination

October 13 Emergence of Second Generation Latin American Jewish Culture

Glantz, excerpts #1 and #3 from The Family Tree

Shua, "The Language"

Glusberg, "The Cross"

October 15 Emergence of Second Generation North American Jewish Culture

Readings from Anya Yezierska and Michael Gold

Music of Aaron Copland
October 20 The Holocaust and the Rise of Fascism—Latin America

Glantz, excerpt #2 from The Family Tree

Rawet, "The Prophet"

Spitzer, excerpt #2 from Hotel Bolivia

October 22 The Holocaust and the Rise of Fascism—North America

American Anti-Semitism and Acceptance: Examples

The Popular Arts: Radio and Film
October 27 Latin America – Borges and Judaism

Short stories “Death and the Compass” and "Emma Zunz" (available on


Poems “The Golem” and “Baruch Spinoza" (on line)

October 29 North America – The Post-World War Two Explosion

Writers: Bellow, Salinger, and Mailer

Music: Rogers and Hammerstein, Bernstein I
November 2 Symposium on Jewish Life in the Americas in Glickman Center in CLA

Students are encouraged to attend.

November 3 Review

November 5 Second Examination

November 10 Jews and the Arts

Latin American Jewish Artists' Books from the collection

"Identidad y Diversidad"

November 12 Jews and the Arts 1950s-60s America

Artists: Rothko, Newman, and Frankenthaler

Music: Bernstein II, Dylan, Simon, and Cohen

November 17 Latin American Jews, Zionism, and Persistence of Nazism

Agosín, "Osorno"

Freilich de Segal, "Recollections of a Criolla Zionist"

Timerman, excerpt #3 from Prisoner without a Name

November 19 North American Jews, Zionism, and Jewish Identity
November 24 To Be Announced

November 26 Thanksgiving Holiday

December 1 Who is a Jew?

December 3 Last Class in Schusterman Center for Jewish Studies, CLA 2.402

Grading Criteria:
Required ungraded weekly journal entries on readings and class discussions. All journal entries

must be submitted on time with penalty for late submission. Due online by the following Monday

Proposal of topic for term paper: 10%, due Thursday, October 1

First examination: 25%, on Thursday, October 8

Second examination: 30%, on Thursday, November 5

Final version of term paper: 25%, due Monday, December 7

Faithful attendance and participation in class discussion 10% (Perfect attendance expected except in case of documented illness, emergency, or official university business)

No final examination during finals week.

The following scale will be used to determine your final grade in the course:

93-100 = A

83-86.99 = B

73-76.99 = C

63-66.99 = D

90-92.99 = A-

80-82.99 = B-

70-72.99 = C-

60-62.99 = D-

87-89.99 = B+

77-79.99 = C+

67-69.99 = D+

0-59.99 = F

Though they will not be graded for grammar, examinations, quizzes, and papers must be written clearly enough to be understood. The final paper must be at least 2000 words (approx. 8-9 pages) in length, not counting the bibliography, and must cover a topic and readings that are not already covered in class sessions (see syllabus of readings, below). The paper must have to do with some aspect of Jewish culture in Latin America, the U.S., or Canada. It may (but not necessarily) be comparative in nature and cover more than one region. The paper topic must be cultural in nature, and not oriented toward technical or business subjects. For example, “A Novel of Jewish Life in Caracas” would be fine, but not “Jewish Leaders in the Petroleum Industry in Venezuela.” You may write about literature, music, film, the visual arts, architecture, or any other form of cultural expression, including religion.

Professor Abzug must approve topics having to do with the U.S. or Canada, while Latin American topics (including Latino Jews in the U.S.) must be approved by Professor Lindstrom. If you would like to pursue a comparative topic on both North America and Latin America, please consult with both instructors.
Global Cultures, Accommodations, Religious Holidays, Emergencies, Scholastic Dishonesty

  • This course carries a Global Cultures flag. Global Cultures courses are designed to increase your familiarity with cultural groups outside the United States. You should therefore expect a substantial portion of your grade to come from assignments covering the practices, beliefs, and histories of at least one non-U.S. cultural group, past or present.

  • Please note that all graded work done inside or outside of class must be your own work. Writing that appears to be the work of someone else (e.g. a friend, a Web or print source) and may entail severe penalties beyond just a zero on the particular assignment. Students who violate University rules on academic dishonesty are subject to disciplinary penalties, including the possibility of failure in the course and/or dismissal from the university. For more information, visit http://deanofstudents.utexas.edu/sjs/. We strictly abide by the UT Honor Code < http://registrar.utexas.edu/catalogs/gi09-10/ch01/index.html> on questions of scholastic dishonesty.

  • Students with disabilities may request appropriate academic accommodations from the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement, Services for Students with Disabilities, 471-6259 http://www.utexas.edu/diversity/ddce/ssd/.

  • Students seeking assistance with writing may wish to contact The Undergraduate Writing Center http://uwc.utexas.edu/handouts.

  • Medical assistance/ counseling services are available at http://www.cmhc.utexas.edu/.

  • If you miss a class, an examination, a work assignment, or a project in order to observe a religious holy day, you will be given an opportunity to complete the missed work within a reasonable time after the absence.

  • Occupants of buildings on The University of Texas at Austin campus are required to evacuate buildings when a fire alarm is activated. Alarm activation or announcement requires exiting and assembling outside. Familiarize yourself with all exit doors of each classroom and building you may occupy. Remember that the nearest exit door may not be the one you used when entering the building. Students requiring assistance in evacuation shall inform their instructor in writing during the first week of class. In the event of an evacuation, follow the instruction of faculty or class instructors. Do not re-enter a building unless given instructions by the following: Austin Fire Department, The University of Texas at Austin Police Department, or Fire Prevention Services office. Information regarding emergency evacuation routes and emergency procedures can be found at http://www.utexas.edu/emergency

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