Out of the Shtetl: Jewish Life in Central and Eastern Europe in the 19th and 20th Centuries


"Out of the Shtetl" is a course about tradition and transformation; small towns and urban centers; ethnicity and citizenship; and nations, states, and empires. At its core, this course asks the following questions: What did it mean for the Jews of Central and Eastern Europe to emerge from small market towns and villages to confront modern ethnicities, nations, and empires? What lasting impact did the shtetl experience have on Jewish life in a rapidly changing environment? The focus is on the Jewish historical experience in the countries that make up Central and Eastern Europe (mainly the Bohemian lands, Hungary, Poland, and Russia) from the late 18th century to the fall of the Soviet Union. Among the topics that we will cover are Jews and the nobility in Poland-Lithuania; the multicultural imperial state; Hasidism and its opponents; absolutism and reform in imperial settings; the emergence of modern European nationalisms and their impact on Jewish identity; antisemitism and popular violence; nationalist and radical movements among Jews; war, revolution, and genocide; and the transition from Soviet dominion to democratic states. Please note: L75 5330 is intended for graduate students only.
Course Attributes: EN H; BU Hum; BU IS; AS HUM; AS LCD; FA HUM; AR HUM