Germanic Languages | Yiddish Culture in America
Y506 | 2638 | Warnke


Three credit hour course; meets 4:00-5:15, TR in BH 242.

Topic: From Immigrant Literature to the Klezmer Revival

>From turn-of-the-century life on the Lower East Side to the current Klezmer
revival, Yiddish culture in the United States has changed significantly A once
vibrant culture created by immigrants trying to find their place and construct
a new identity in the New World to a culture that for many today is associated
with the past, the Old World, and the Holocaust.

In this interdisciplinary course we will acquaint ourselves with some of the
major figures, institutions, and trends in American Yiddish literature and
popular culture (theatre, music, film) and will investigate how America and
Eastern Europe are represented in these Yiddish stories, songs, and films. We
will read novels, short stories, poems, and play by such writers as Sholem
Aleichem, Mani Leib, and Peretz Hirshbein, and, in some cases, will compare
the texts to the Yiddish films made in the 1930s.

Furthermore, we will examine the place that Yiddish has held since the
Holocaust both within mainstream American culture and within small circles of
activists on behalf of Yiddish. We will compare Yiddish fiction with American
film versions (such as Fiddler on the Roof and Yentl) and discuss the recent
Klezmer revival as well as debates regarding the state of Yiddish culture
today.

The course requirements include regular attendance, active participation,
weekly reading, a series of short papers, and a longer final paper.

Text:
(+) Ozick, THE PAGAN RABBI AND OTHER STORIES
(+) Singer, ENEMIES, A LOVE STORY
(+) Rosenfeld, PUSHCART AND DREAMERS: STORIES OF JEWISH LIFE IN AMERICA
(+) a course reader