Over the last few years at the University of Washington, I developed eight courses at both the undergraduate and graduate level. Of these, I now regularly teach the following five courses.
Introduction to Judaism
What stories do we tell? Why do they matter? How do stories bring people together and create identity? How do holidays, laws, and rituals retell stories? This seminar invites students to explore the foundational stories, holidays, and rituals of the Jewish people. Through close study of biblical and ancient Jewish sources, students will engage with universal questions and concerns. Students will learn how to analyze biblical stories, holidays, and rituals in academic, theological, and popular perspectives.
Introduction to Judaism, Christianity and Islam
This survey course provides an introduction to the world religions that originated in the Middle East, with an emphasis on their foundational stories, leading figures, and collective memory. We begin with the stories of the Hebrew Bible / Old Testament and then delve into their relationship with the foundational stories of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. We examine the ancient origins of these religions, their sacred texts, their historical development, and build up the frameworks to understand their contemporary manifestations. Class activities, visits to houses of a worship, and a media project equip students to understand the role of religion in their communities and American society today.
Gender, Sex, and Religion
The interpreters of the Bible shaped the discourse on gender and sexuality that many people take for granted today. In this seminar, students are invited to explore debates about these topics within and among ancient texts, within scholarship, and society. As most ancient religion courses neglect women’s stories and women’s scholarship, this course centers women’s perspectives and womanist/feminist scholarship. To analyze biblical stories and their legacy, we will rely on a variety of academic approaches from the fields of Bible Studies, literary criticism, history, anthropology, sociology, archaeology, and more.
Angels: from the Bible to American Spirituality
This advanced religion seminar surveys conceptions of angels in foundational texts from the Bible through the medieval period and providing background to the significance of angels in contemporary American culture. Though often neglected in the study of religion, angels are integral to the faith and practice of Jews, Christians, and Muslims, transcending religious boundaries in their popularity. The study of angels foregrounds both theoretical and practical issues in the study of religion, bringing into view the anxieties and aspirations of people as well as problems with the category of religion.
The Sages: Foundations of Classical Judaism
This seminar investigates the origins and foundation of classical Judaism by the Jewish sages (AKA the rabbis). The Judaism that prevails today arose in the context of the Hebrew Bible’s completion, the Romans’ destruction of Jerusalem, and alongside the emergence of Christianity. This course discusses the rise of the rabbinic movement, its stories and laws, and its Greco-Roman as well as Babylonian-Persian context.
Lessons (Not) Learned from the Holocaust
In the autumn of 2020, I facilitated an online public lecture series at the University of Washington on new research emerging from the study of the Holocaust.
A large number of faculty at the University of Washington teach Holocaust Studies-related courses or have research/teaching that intersects with Holocaust Studies, but are unaware of each other’s research and teaching. Students, too, though interested in Holocaust Studies in high numbers, are not aware of the array of courses available in a variety of departments or of related courses that may not have “Holocaust” in the title, but incorporate material on the Holocaust (e.g. Human Rights Studies, Genocide Studies, Bioethics, etc.). To that end, the Stroum Center for Jewish Studies at the University of Washington organized this course, where a variety of faculty members could share their disciplinary perspectives on the Holocaust and its significance. Lectures and recommended reading lists are all archived online.