Catalog Description: The transition of young Jewish protagonists into adulthood as portrayed in literary works and films from Europe, Africa, and the Americas.
Syllabus Description: We will examine novels, stories, memoirs, and films about coming of age from multiple Jewish cultural perspectives. What does it mean to grow up in the Russian empire in the late nineteenth century? In Vilna on the eve of World War II? In 1950s American suburbia? In late-twentieth century New Jersey? What are the different challenges that young men and women face as they embrace or reject the Jewish lives their parents lived? What role does sexuality and gender play in Jewish coming of age narratives. We will address a range of themes in the course ranging from minority identity, the Holocaust, and Zionism to Birthright Israel tours, summer camps, and inter-ethnic and inter-faith relationships.
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