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Modern Hebrew Literature & Film: Voices of Others in Israel

ENGL 287.401
instructor(s):
TR 3-4:30

 

Taught in English
Distribution III: Arts & Letters

This course will listen and respond to previously unheard Israeli literary and cinematic expressions of "others," such as new immigrants, women, Arabs, gays, orthodox Jews, first and second generations of Holocaust survivors, and those of Middle Eastern descent. Their varied voices, which deviate from the central narrative, were allowed to be heard in Israeli culture only in the late 20th century with the debates over Postmodernist attitudes and practices.

The Zionist super-narrative dominated Israeli literature and film at its inception. Authors and directors were predominantly Israeli-born (or educated), Ashkenazi (of European descent) males who tackled the nationalistic, territory- based aspirations of the people. Now that the "periphery" has invaded the "center," a cacophony of voices, a kaleidoscope of images, replaces the mainstream ideological search for a Zionist utopia. We will analyze this phenomenon through the different languages of film, prose and poetry, and examine how postmodernist and subversive, writers and directors use symbol and metaphor, color and light, close-up and flashback to capture an outsider's experience.

There will be 5 film screenings. The films will be placed on reserve at the library for students who are not able to attend these screenings. Grades will be based on two 4 page papers, final, and class participation. The contents of the course changes each semester, and therefore may be taken more than once.