Jewish Studies | Israeli Folk Narratives: Settlement, Immigration, Ethnicity
H500 | 31236 | Bar-Itzhak, H
Israeli Folk Narratives: Settlement, Immigration, Ethnicity (3 cr.)
JSTU-H 500 #31236
(Meets with FOLK-F 545 #31271)
In this seminar we will concentrate on three main folk narratives in
Israeli society – the narratives of settlement, immigration and
ethnicity. All these narratives are polyphonic in Israeli culture.
The aggregate of stories told by various narrators or written down
create the Israeli settlement folk narrative with all its
complexity. By uncovering this complexity we will learn about the
importance of folk narratives toward understanding Israeli society
and culture. Dealing with settlement narratives we will concentrate
on both "big" cultural narratives – what came to be designated as
myths of Israeli culture, and narratives from the periphery. The
study of local legends will indicate the importance of these legends
for understanding and interpreting Israeli culture. While examining
various stories we will uncover their symbolic dimension, the
complexity of the whole settlement narrative, and the ethos of the
Dealing with the immigration narrative we will analyze stories of
immigration and integration as told by various Jewish ethnic groups.
We will discuss the expression of the traumatic meeting with Israeli
reality, and the way these stories provide a means for coming to
grip with it. These stories will also uncover the cultural outlook
of different Jewish ethnic groups in Israel. Israel today is a
multicultural society. Despite the attempt made in the 1950s to fuse
immigrants into a national 'melting pot' and provide them with an
uniform culture, there is a returning to patterns of ethnic culture
many years after immigration. We will analyze folk narratives of
several Jewish ethnic groups in Israel and point out to the Jews'
experience of ethnicity in Israel as the ethnicity of Jews vis-à-vis
other Jews, rather than the ethnic identity in the Diaspora of a
religious minority among non-Jews.
There is no prerequisite for course. All the required readings are
in English. The classes will
consist of lectures and discussions, and the weekly reading
assignments. At the end of the
semester students shall prepare a term paper.