RELST 2577

Course information provided by the Courses of Study 2017-2018.

Since the 1970s, Jewish women have remade American Judaism by putting their bodies front and center. In the face of a largely male rabbinic elite, they have created new models of ritual, communal leadership, and textual interpretation both within and outside existing Jewish institutions and denominations. How have women mobilized embodied practice and knowledge in efforts to reinterpret, reclaim, and reinvent Judaism? How have these changes reverberated in communities that explicitly reject feminism? And what can these women teach us about religion, gender, and sexuality in America more broadly? This course will engage the fields of religion; gender, sexuality, and the body; textual and material culture; and feminism within the context of American Jewish life. The course will focus the contemporary United States, but will also explore layers of Jewish tradition from ancient to modern times and will consider women's practices in Israel as well. Key themes will include the relationships between gender and power; bodies, texts and objects; individual Jewish practices and communal identity; biology and theology; secularism and spirituality; and the intersectionality of race, gender, sexuality, and conversion. Exploring how competing visions of Judaism reflect alternative understandings of gender and sexuality, we will probe the meaning of gender equality, how the Jewish experience compares to that of members of other faiths in America, and the challenge that these diverse Jewish projects pose to the American project of secularism.

When Offered Fall.

Breadth Requirement (GB)
Distribution Category (CA-AS)

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Enrollment Information
Syllabi: none
  •   Combined with: JWST 2577NES 2577

  • 3 Credits Stdnt Opt

  • 17322RELST 2577  SEM 101