American Jews and the Issue of Race
Prof. Hasia Diner
New York University
This graduate research seminar will explore the ways in which American Jews interacted with, and were shaped by American racial realities. It will divide into at least two separate but related areas of concern. We will read and discuss the recent scholarship in American history on issues of “whiteness” and “becoming white,” and see what that literature has to say about American Jewish history. We will also look at the ways in which American Jews engaged with the realities of race in America, how they made sense of what they observed, and how they believed such matters affected them. The course will also incorporate material on the larger Jewish discourse about race which extended beyond the United States.
This course, while focusing on these historiographical matters and devoted to dissecting the scholarship, will also ask students to prepare a significant original project on some aspect of this subject, to be based on primary sources. The class, designed primarily as a research seminar will not meet every week but students will be expected to produce a paper that could be of either publishable quality or suitable for presentation at a scholarly conference.
Introduction to the Course: The literature on “whiteness”