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Jewish Material Culture in the Modern Period

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This seminar will examine a number of interrelated questions: What are the boundaries of “Jewish material culture”? How does this material cultural vary synchronically across communities and diachronically within communities? In what ways have these variegated material-cultural traditions changed following the catastrophic disruptions to Jewish life in the 20th century? Built and manipulated environments—private, communal, and public—together with the artifacts that are a part of those environments will all be acceptable grist for the mill. Jewish museums will be examined as repositories of the artifacts of Jewish material culture, and the success of those museums’ messages will be evaluated. Fieldwork reports and a research paper will be used as assessment tools. 3 credits.