Courses 2016-2017

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 2015-2016

Previous Courses 2014-2015

Previous Courses 2013-2014

Previous Courses 2012-2013

General History

Dr. Amir Teicher

Racial Sciences

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.

Dr. Amir Teicher

Weimar Republic

The Weimar Republic (1918-1933) was founded in Germany following the First World War. It was the first attempt of the German society to establish a democratic regime; it ended after 15 years with Hitler’s rise to power. In the past decades, historians and culture researchers examined Weimar as modernity’s “lost paradise” - a unique historical epoch that shaped the contours of the social legislation, the welfare state, the wonders of technological innovation and consumerism characteristic of 20th century Western societies. The course will address the republic’s complex history, including the social tensions, political dramas and economic catastrophes that ran throughout its short history. We will discuss the following themes: the crisis of WWI, technological innovations, the “New Woman”, Bauhaus architecture, crime and serial killers, artistic currents (Dada, Expressionism, the New Objectivity), cinema, shop windows, political campaigns, inflation, the Nazi movement, and Hitler’s rise to power. We will analyze photos, movie excerpts, caricatures, drawings, financial reports, speeches and party programs.
Participation requires presence and reading throughout the semester.

Dr. Yael Sternhell

Release of Salves in America

The collapse of Southern slavery is often considered a watershed event in the history of the United States. This seminar will examine this notion and explore its myriad complexities through the rich historical literature from the first critical treatments of the 1960s to the digital humanities projects of our own day. We will analyze emancipation both as a moment and an era, an event in the history of the South and a national drama, a distinctly American phenomenon and a chapter in a broader transnational story. We will ask how emancipation redefined race, gender, class, and citizenship in America, and how it was experienced both individually and collectively. The course is aimed specifically at graduate students specializing in U.S. history. Students from other subfields may enroll only after receiving written permission.

Prof. Bilha Melman

In Western Eyes: Colonialism, Culture & Politics 1750-1950

This course explores Western Europe’s colonial exchanges with the world outside it during the explosion of European colonial rule in the 18th-20th centuries. Its premises are that the “West” was shaped by these encounters, and that western and specifically European modern experiences, modes of life and identities were colonial, rather than simply national or class identities . The seminar offers a new look on European history from the perspective of colonialism, discusses key terms in the new colonial history, and examines such cross roads in European history as the look on the “Orient” in the Enlightenment; imperial government and control in the 19th century; religion, missionary life and the Empires; the consumers’ revolution and the birth of modern consumers’ society; the rise of modern democracies; the rise of the new empires’ economies and the birthof the new international society and empire. We draw on a variety of sources including political and philosophical essays, anthropological and ethnographic studies, travel literature; music and films.

Prof. Bilha Melman

Colonialism, Imperialism, Globalization: Themes and Methodology

The history of colonialism and of the political, economic and cultural exchanges between Europe and the worlds outside it have now become one of history’s most vital and innovative fields of study. Underlying the vast interest in colonialism and globalization is the assumption that European identities and experiences of modernity were colonial and were shaped by encounters with territories outside Europe. This special individual- studies course explores key terms in the history and historiography of these colonial encounters and examines key issues and methodologies in advanced historical studies of colonialism. A special program of studies is chosen for each student, according to his/her research interests.

Dr. Ori Preuss

19th Century Brazil: Slave Owning Empire to Progressive Republic

The transfer of the Portuguese court from Lisbon to Rio de Janeiro; the revolt of the Muslim slaves in Bahia; the end of the slave trade under British pressure; the War of the Triple Alliance, the abolition of slavery; the end of the monarchy and the rise of the republic; the Canudos War in the Northeast; the Amazon rubber boom: these are some of the events to be discussed in this seminar on the basis of primary and secondary sources. In the final analysis, they are all related to the central theme of this seminar, the theme of state formation and nation building in nineteenth century Brazil.

Jewish History

Prof. Havi Dreifuss

The Holocaust: An Introduction

The Holocaust was an inconceivable historical event, which forever robbed Western culture of its innocence. As civilized human beings, we fail to understand how events of such horror could have taken place, and how an idea so inhumanly warped could have spread like wildfire through an entire continent, instigating the systematic annihilation of millions of Jews.

This free online course was produced jointly by Tel Aviv University and Yad Vashem – the World Center for Holocaust Research. The course tracks the history of the Holocaust and has two parts.

Prof. Havi Dreifuss

Warsaw Ghetto? Daily Life

In this course, we will refer to the major events that occurred in Warsaw Ghetto – the largest ghetto established by Nazi German in occupied Europe. By analyzing a variety of sources we will expose selected aspects of the public and individual life as were shaped since the establishment of the ghetto and until its liquidation as part of the Warsaw ghetto uprising.

Prof. Havi Dreifuss

The Holocaust

During the course we will review and examine the major events that occurred during the Holocaust. Among the issues which we will deal with: anti-Semitism and Nazi ideology; Jews in Germany in the thirties; Anti-Jewish policies in different occupation zones; The Eastern European Jewish society and its isolation in ghettos; The fate of the Jews in Western Europe, the Balkans and North Africa; the Jewish community in Israel (The Yishuv) and the Jews of the United States in light of the Holocaust.

Dr. Scott Ury,

Antisemitism: Can Hate Have a History of it's Own

Can antisemitism have a history of its own? How are we to research, analyze and understand expressions of hate and violence against Jews throughout history? Are actions in the ancient world really part of the same phenomena as those that take place in contemporary times? Or are these developments better analyzed and understood as reflections of specific times and places? Is antisemitism, indeed, a unique, perhaps eternal form of hate that has accompanied and influenced “the Jews” for centuries? And why are scholars, intellectuals and politicians unable to come to an agreement about the nature, content and history of antisemitism? These and many other questions will be probed and debated through readings of scholarly literature and sources as well as lectures and discussions.

Dr. Joel Zisenwine

The Allies and the Holocaust

The seminar will address the Allies' responses to the Holocaust. Seminar sessions will be based on the analysis of primary sources and relevant studies. In addition, the participants will study the historiography of the field.  

The course focuses on several key topics, among them: Responses to Nazi Anti-Semitic persecutions in the 1930s, American and British immigration policies and attitudes towards refugees 1930s, information and knowledge of the Final Solution in real time, the Auschwitz Bombing controversy, etc.

Prof. Yuval Rotman

Jews and Gentiles

The course explores the dynamics of the relations between Jews and non-Jews throughout Antiquity. Readings will focus on the cultural aspect of the formation and the development of a Jewish identity in Antiquity in relation to the different cultures and societies that composed the Ancient Near East and the Mediterranean basin. The seminar will analyze the definition of a Jewish people and a Jewish identity through the prism of the relations between Jews and their neighboring peoples and cultures. Special attention will be given to the Jewish life against the cultural framework of the Hellenistic world, and to the parallel developments of an array of Jewish and Christian beliefs in Late Antiquity.

Middle Eastern and African History

Prof. Bruce Maddy-Weitzman

Minorities and the State in the Middle East

The post-World War I territorial states that emerged on the ruins of the Ottoman Empire and out of French North Africa were based on a particularly doctrine of state nationalism which emphasized Arab and Turkish ethnicity. Minority ethno-linguistic and religious communities were expected to assimilate into the dominant, “enlightened” polities being fashioned, or face the consequences. This course will examine the efforts by Middle Eastern states to subsume their minorities into this dominant paradigm, and the various responses of the subordinate groups. Special attention will be devoted to the Kurds and Berbers, the two largest ethno-linguistic communities in the region, particularly in light of their newly assertive identity movements in recent years.

History and Philosophy of Science and Ideas

Dr. Snait Gissis

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

The Course will focus on the formation and use of "Race" and "Nation" through the fields of evolution, medicine, genetics etc., mainly in the period after World War II.

Sociology and Anthropology

Dr. Anastasia Gorodzeisky

Attitudes Towards Out-Group Populations

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: the classical prejudice theory and symbolic racism, the theory of ethnic antagonism in the context of split labor markets and the ‘competitive threat’ theoretical model. By doing so, the course aims to enhance the students understanding of social processes that underline the discrimination and social exclusion of minority groups.

Political Science

Prof. Alberto Spektorowski

Facism, National Socialism and New-Right: Past and Present

The Seminar will focus on the development of the Facist and National-Socialist ideologies at the beginning of the 20th Century. The aim will be to observe and define the differences between Facism and Nazism by observing the their joint intellectual roots.