Courses - Current Academic Year

One of the Roth Institute’s many roles on campus is to serve as a central forum for different scholars and students working on and interested in the study of antisemitism and racism. Towards that goal, the Roth Institute is happy to provide lists of relevant courses taught by faculty and scholars at TAU each year. 

Previous Courses 2016-2017

Previous Courses 2015-2016

Previous Courses 2014-2015

Previous Courses 2013-2014

Previous Courses 2012-2013


Racial Sciences

Dr. Amir Teicher

How did racial scientists think? The concept of ‘race’ has been pivotal in various scientific disciplines including anthropology, psychiatry, genetics, literature and cultural studies from 1850 to 1945. What role did this concept have in structuring scientists’ thought? What tools did scholars use to sort, define and diagnose races, and what happened to racial concepts when the results of studies cut against researcher’s preliminary assumptions? Should we regard these disciplinary fields ‘pseudo-sciences’? If so, what turned them into less-scientific than other branches of knowledge? And if not, what does that imply regarding our understanding of how science works? In the seminar we will reconstruct the thought processes of racial scientists by scrutinizing their scientific works, getting acquainted with the questions they posed and analyzing the tools they used to answer these questions. We will try to decipher the relations between inner-disciplinary dynamics and external influences (social, cultural etc.) on the content of scientific work. We will also examine the socio-cultural implications of racial sorting and the involvement of scientists in designing and implementing racial policies in Germany, the United States, England and Italy. Active participance is required of all students, including the submission of a written analysis of one source and the presentation of a scholarly article to the class.

Slavery in America

Prof. Michael ZaKim

It is impossible to separate out the settlement of the New World from the history of modern slavery.  Ten million Africans were “imported” to America since the sixteenth century.   How was this giant migration carried out?  Did it have precedent in world history?  What kind of American societies developed as a result?  Why did racism fill such a central role in what would appear to be an entirely economic project?  Why was Africa the source of New World slave labor?  What eventually motivated the emergence of political and moral opposition to slavery, which can be first dated to the eighteenth century?   How can we explain the differences in the process of slavery’s abolition between the United States (by means of total war) and the West Indies and South America (by means of graduated emancipation)?  The seminar will focus on the history of slavery in British America and the United States, with relevant comparisons to the experience "south of the border".


The Final Solution

Prof. Hava Dreifuss

During the course we will discuss the development of the "Final Solution" and will analyze the manner in which the decision to murder all European Jews during the Holocaust was formulated. Based on a variety of sources, we will discuss the development of anti-Jewish policies, the patterns of murder of Jews during the Holocaust, and the difficult reality that existed at the various murder sites.

The Holocaust: History and Documentation

Prof. Hava Dreifuss

During the course we will review and examine the major events that took place during the Holocaust, while carefully analyzing a variety of historical sources. Among the subjects we will deal with: anti-Semitism and Nazi ideology; German Jews in the 1930s; Anti-Jewish policy in the various occupied countries; Jewish society in view of its isolation in the ghettos of Eastern Europe; The fate of the Jews in Western Europe, the Balkans and North Africa; The Jewish Yishuv in Israel and the Jews of the United States in the face of the Holocaust. Each lesson will focus on a particular type of historical resource and serve as a basis for discussion of various methodological limitations.

Anti-Judaism and Modern Antisemitism

Prof. Shalom Ratzabi

The aim of the seminar is to examine some attempts of historian and thinkers after the holocaust to understand traditional Israel’s Hatred and Antisemitism. The focus of the study will be on historians such as Ettinger Shmual and Katz Jacob on one hand and thinkers such as Hannah Arendt, Albert Memmi and Jean-Paul Sartre on the other. In this frame we will try to find out if and how the historical events that had taken place after the Second World War had influence on the attempts to describe and understand these issues. Besides we will try also to find out the relation between the general thought of these thinkers and historians and their understanding of traditional Israel’s hatred and Antisemitism.

Jewish Orientalisn: Paradigms and Their Discontents in Historiography and Culture

Dr. Noah Gerber

It has been almost four decades since the appearance of Edward Said's Orientalism. As such it is timely to critically audit its subsequent influence on modern Jewish historiography and culture. Thus the seminar will probe the historical triangle of 'western', 'eastern European' and Mizrahi; a creative tension at still stands at the core of much of modern Jewish and Zionist culture. It will also re-evaluate the ethnic categories of Sepharad and Ashkenaz by tapping onto a whole host of (and not only textual) primary sources. A critical glance at the way the Israeli-Arab conflict, Islam and Arab civilization in general have figured in this context will also be offered. Special emphasis will be put on native agency and differing native responses to Western hegemony.

From Citizens to the Condemned: The Holocaust of German Jewry (1933-1945)

Dr. Joel Zisenwein

The course will survey the development and application of the anti-Jewish policy in Nazi Germany in the years that preceded the eruption of WWII, and the ultimate destruction of German Jewry during the holocaust. Simultaneously, we will discuss the response of German Jews and the changes in their personal and collective identities. The course is based on historical documentation and literature and contemporary research.


African Perspectives on the Holocaust

Dr. Irit Back

No abstract.


Genocide and Mass-Violence: A View From Asia

Mr. Shauli Ran

Since the mid-Nineteenth century, Asia has experienced genocidal violence in unprecedented scale, when tens of millions of people have lost their lives in organized and preplanned massacres. Most analytical tools, which were used in the early study of these killings, were originally borrowed from previous research on European genocides. In recent years, however, new paradigms have developed from the analysis of mass atrocities in the world`s most populous continent. Insights were learned from analyzing Asian genocides in the contexts of the encounter with Colonialism; the spread of labor diaspora; the break of deadly wars during the so-called “Cold War” Era; and the emergence of authoritarian capitalist states. These insights were in turn used to widen the scope of Genocide Studies elsewhere.


The Philosophical Structure of Genocide

Dr. Aim Deuelle Luski

In order to understand the phenomenon of genocide, we will think together about the question of the political creation of racial difference: Do people kill others because of their belonging to a national, ethnic group, race or religion (regardless of individual guilt)? We wish to refer to the two sides of the phenomenon: one aspect is the historical aspect – trying to understand the various histories within the twentieth-century events, that enabled the proliferation of genocide. We will build a comparative discussion about the political, economic and social standing behind the events of “murder”, which is the inner meaning of every genocide: the possibility of looking in the face of somebody else, of the “other”, and committing the crime (of murder). How is it at all possible in our age? The second aspect is the philosophical one, the search after the meaning of the special conditions, mental, moral and aesthetic that created the situation in which genocide is possible at all. For example, the relationships between the modern nation State and the growth of the phenomenon of genocide, the set of emergency laws, which created the situation of denial, muting, blindness, which enable the standing in front of the genocide, that created the possibility of being able to "ignore" and to continue daily life as if nothing was happening. Examines the psychological, cultural, and societal roots of human cruelty, mass violence, that enables individuals collectively and individually to perpetrate mass violence and genocide.

Biology and Society: Race, Nation & Racism in The 20th and 21st Centuries

Dr. Snait Gissis

In the seminar we will discuss the inception and utilization of 'race' and 'nation' in the 20th and 21st centuries, especially from the 2nd world war and onwards, focusing on the theories of evolution, medicine, and genetics, the implications of their inception on the identities of groups and individuals. We will also discuss the history of the Jewish nationality through the "biological Jewish difference" from the beginning of the 20th century until today; we will examine the practice of racialization and its influence on migration and refuge.


Attitudes Towards Out-Group Populations

Dr. Anastasia Gorodzieski

The course provides a theoretical and conceptual framework for understanding anti-foreigner sentiment and ethnic antagonism. The course covers a range of social science theories dealing with racial and ethnic prejudice and discuses most recent research on the issue. By doing so, the course aims to enhance the students understanding of social processes that underline the discrimination and social exclusion of minority groups.

One on One: Other Life Experiences

Mr. Hassan Sharf

Dr. Smadar Sharon

The course focuses on the relationship between the life experiences of Jews and Arabs in Israel and wider issues in political sociology, social inequality and the politics of space. We will discuss central issues pertaining to life in the geographical space shared by the two national groups, as well as social and cultural issues of each group independently. The course will enable students to develop tools for critical reading of texts and of contemporary social phenomena. The course has a unique structure, combining lectures with structured discussions in small groups or One on One. The course will also include a practical component, such as a collective planning of a day seminar in the Faculty of Social Sciences. In the second half of the semester students will receive guidance and support from the academic staff, toward the completion of the practical assignment, which will constitute part of the final assignment. The personal encounters between Arab and Jewish students throughout the semester and in the course of working on the assignment will provide a productive site for a sociological and anthropological consideration of majority-minority relationship in Israel, and in relation to the study materials.


Fascism, National Socialism and New-Right (Hebrew)

Prof. Alberto Spectorowski

No abstract.



Feminism, Religion, Anti-Semitism

Dr. Michael Mach

Already in its beginnings in 19th century U.S.A. feminism was related to religion - then mainly the Christian one. Within the Jewish traditional world the problem is even much harder from different spectrums. Yet, in the “Third wave” of feminism we encounter not a few anti-semitic views. The seminar will check feminist theories, Jewish and Christian, and will seek how to translate these into social practice. For the anti-semitic claims biblical and New Testament texts will be explored.


Communication, Racism and Sexism

Prof. Jerome Bourdon

The course will deal with three topics. First, we will examine how the relations between racism and the media evolved, from a world based on nation and nationalism, with little tolerance for minorities, to a more complex, multicultural and global world, where many populations claim to be (and might be) victim of racism. Particularly, we will ask if sexism can be considered as a form of racism. Second, we will see how the question of racism must be posed differently for different media genres (news and current affairs, drama, satire…). Finally, we will deal with a paradox at the center of the relation between racism and the media: how come the media can be conceived both as a major source for the expression of racism, but also a major arena for fighting racism?

The Postcolonial Other: Race, Power, and Representation

Prof. Raz Yosef

Third World and Postcolonial Cinemas.

In film and cultural studies, “third world” and “postcolonial” are related but discontinuous concepts which attempts to characterize and respond to contemporary global condition. These intensely-debated terms have been collocated alongside notions of decolonization, nationalism, multiculturalism, minority discourse, feminism, identity politics and Diaspora, and frequently reveal the tensions of these competing claims. This course critically introduces these conceptual paradigms, considering the meaningfulness of these discourses in unpacking a diverse array of politically-engaged films from Africa, Asia and the Middle East, as well those arising from communities of color, immigrants and minorities in Europe and the United States.

Drawing from popular and art films from many national cinemas in the last four decades, the course considers issues of nationalism and post-colonialism, counter-ethnography and globalization.



Strangers in Their Own Land: Law, Colonialism and Indigenous Peoples in the New World

Dr. Lior Ben David

In the last third of the 20th century "indigenous peoples" attained legal recognition of social, political and cultural rights, in the framework of both international and domestic law. This recognition was not just an expression of the wave of multiculturalism which was prevalent in large parts of the world at that time, but also the product of demands for legal reform "from below", demands which were the result of the efforts and struggles of various social organizations and indigenous groups. On one hand, this legal recognition signaled innovation and change in the civil status of Indigenous populations, as individuals and communities alike. On the other hand, it is also a link in a long chain of continuous legal history, dating back to colonial law, and its significant contribution to creating "The Indians" or "The Indigenous" as a distinct social category. In this course we will examine the attitude of the law towards the indigenous populations from a comparative stance and both in historical and actual perspective, which will be directed at countries that were subject to processes of colonization; countries whose colonial legacy, including its legal component, continued to shape, in various ways, their socio-ethnic relations for countless years after gaining independence.

The goal of this course is to develop critical thinking on a variety of topics related to the position of indigenous people in colonial, domestic and international law. In this framework we will examine, inter alia, the contribution of the law to establishing relationships of power and control and shaping ethnic and cultural boundaries between indigenous people and other population groups; the role played by the law as a tool in legitimizing various practices of exploitation, dispossession, subjugation and exclusion towards Indigenous populations, but also its use as a means of assimilation or incorporation of these populations in the post-colonial Nation State, and as an arena of conflict and struggle for resistance and for safeguarding the rights and interests of different indigenous communities. Classes will be built thematically, with each session (or several sessions) devoted to discussion of one (or more) of the following issues (the list is not exhaustive and is not necessarily in chronological order): Who is "indigenous" and what are "indigenous peoples"? Colonialism, land and liberty, or how the natives lost their lands (and kept parts of them)? Liberalism and Law: assimilation or extinction? State law versus customary law; Criminology and criminalization of Indigenous populations; Cultural defenses; Human rights and natural resources; Indigenous movements and international law; Indigenous rights and identity politics; and integration versus multiculturalism.