University of Massachusetts Amherst

Search Google Appliance

Featured Courses

JUDAIC 383/WGGS 391D, Women, Gender, Judaism

Professor:  Susan Shapiro
Time:  TTh 2:30-3:45

An Honors colloquium is available

Course Description:

While this course attends to questions of contemporary forms of Jewish women's identities and to filling-in the blanks of the "missing women" of Jewish history and tradition, our main focus will be on historical constructions on gender roles and sexual identities in Judaism and their cultural and social consequences.  The course begins with the Bible and goes through contemporary debates about gender and sexuality. 

Three types of literature, therefore, are important in this course:  (1) primary religious texts about women and gender in Judaism; (2) interpretations and historical accounts of aspects of women's and men's gender roles in Judaism and Jewish culture in different time periods; (3) current critical and feminist theories of discourse, culture and politics through which to problematize our readings of both primary and interpretive or secondary texts.  The course title’s categories of "woman/women" ("man/men"), "gender" and “sexualities”—and, to a certain extent, that of "Judaism"—are thus treated here not only as descriptive terms, but as critical terms of analysis.