Jewish Studies

College of Humanities
Dean: Paul Sherwin

Jewish Studies Program
HUM 416
Director: Fred Astren

Undergraduate Advisers: Astren, Dollinger, Millet


Professors—Astren, Dollinger

Assistant Professor—Millet


B.A. in Modern Jewish Studies
Minor in Jewish Studies

Program Scope

Bachelor of Arts in Modern Jewish Studies. The B.A. is designed to provide an understanding of Jews and Judaism in terms of the interactions of culture, history, and religion. The challenge of modernity faced by Jews and Judaism over the last two hundred years has transformed traditional Jewish societies and generated a great measure of difference and diversity. After a history of more than two millennia, Jews have redefined religion, notions of identity, and social organization in contexts of a dominant culture (in Israel) and a minority culture (elsewhere in the world). The broader dynamics of how ethnic, religious, or racial minorities interact with the majority societies are examined in both these contexts. Courses explore the constants and variety of the Jewish experience in different historical periods and geographical settings and include language study.

Minor in Jewish Studies. The interdisciplinary minor consists of four three-unit core courses and two three-unit elective courses selected on advisement from offerings by a variety of colleges of the university. The purpose of the interdisciplinary Jewish Studies Minor is to acquaint the student with the history, culture, contributions, and religion of the Jewish people as seen through the eyes of modern academic disciplines and with particular reference to contemporary issues and patterns. Students can use the Minor in Jewish Studies to complement their majors and, with advising, to fulfill General Education requirements.

Career Outlook

The Bachelor of Arts in Modern Jewish Studies and the Jewish Studies Minor offer an excellent background for students interested in Judaism as the basis for scholarly or professional pursuits, increasing the depth of understanding of the history, culture, contributions, and religion of the Jewish people within the context of a major discipline of study and prepare students for careers as educators and community professionals.


Three universities—San Francisco State University, CSU Chico, and San Diego State University—jointly offer courses toward a major in modern Jewish studies. Students use their home campus for general education and electives, take core courses in the B.A. from their home campus, and may use the joint-campus course offerings via distance learning in modern Jewish studies to get their B.A. Each of the three campuses award the B.A. Students may take distance-learning courses only when the home campus does not offer those courses. Exceptions to this policy may be made in consultation with a modern Jewish studies adviser. No courses may be used to satisfy requirements in more than one area. All courses are three units unless otherwise noted. The major requires 42 semester units.

On-line course descriptions are available.

Introductory Course Units
JS 300 Introduction to Jewish Studies 3
Language Area—3 units
Units chosen at student's appropriate level 3
  JS/HEBR 151 First Semester Modern Hebrew  
  JS/HEBR 152 Second Semester Modern Hebrew
  JS/HEBR 201 Third Semester Modern Hebrew
  JS/HEBR 202 Fourth Semester Modern Hebrew
Culture and Society Area9 units
JS 340 American Jewish Family and Identity 3
JS/IR/PLSI 430 Israeli Democracy, Politics, and Society 3
JS/CWL 437/ENG 533 Holocaust and Literature 3
History Area9 units
JS/HIST 317 The Holocaust and Genocide 3
HIST/JS 632 Jewish History I: Beginnings to 1650 3
HIST/JS 633 Jewish History II: 1650 to Present 3
Religion and Thought Area9 units
JS 425 Judaism: Religion and Text 3
JS 410/PHIL 514 Kabbalah and Mysticism in the Jewish Tradition 3
JS 350 Jewish Social Responsibility 3
Capstone Course  
JS 690 Senior Seminar in Jewish Studies 3
Units chosen from the following. These units may be taken from any campus. A maximum of 6 units outside of Jewish studies may be counted toward the major and must be approved by a major adviser. 6
  JS/JOUR 311 Facing Each Other: Blacks and Jews in the Popular Media  
  JS/HUM 377 Jerusalem
  JS/PHIL 412 Derrida and Jewish Tradition
  JS/PHIL 415 The Hebrew Bible
  JS 416 Special Topics in Jewish Studies
  JS 445 Jews, Diaspora, and Identity
  JS/ENG/CWL 451 Jewish Literature of the Americas
  JS/HUM/PHIL 501 Judaism, Christianity, and Islam
  JS/CW 509 Jewish Writers in the American Poetry Archives
  JS 516/CWL 416/
  PHIL 551
Bible and Ethics: The Moral of the Story
  JS/THA 534 Performing Yiddish Theatre
  JS/ENG/WOMS 546 20th Century American Jewish Women Writers
  JS 600 Internship
  CINE 305/JS 405 Film and the Holocaust
  CINE 406 Jewish Identity in Film
  CWL 445 Jewish Literature in Translation
Total 42


Core Courses Units
JS 300 Introduction to Jewish Studies 3
JS 425 Judaism: Religion and Text 3
JS/HIST 632 Jewish History I: Beginnings to 1650 3
JS/HIST 633 Jewish History II: 1650 to Present 3
Elective Courses (units selected upon advisement) 6
Total 18

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Last modified July 05, 2012 by