Syllabus

Hello all!

Here’s a tentative schedule for the six classes we have planned over the next two months:

February 4: “Epistemology of the Closet,” Eve Sedgwick

February 11: “Queers are Like Jews, Aren’t They? Analogy and Alliance Politics,” Janet Jakobsen; “Eating the Bread of Affliction: Judaism and Feminist Criticism,” Susan Gubar

February 25: “Queering the Center by Centering the Queer,” Naomi Scheman

March 4: Prologue and Introduction from Unheroic Conduct, Daniel Boyarin

March 11: Angels in America, Tony Kushner

March 18: “Transparent, A Guide for the Perplexed” by Jonathan Freedman; Season 1, Episode 6 and Season 2, Episode 7 of Transparent

These readings will all be posted in PDF form to this blog–with the exception of Kushner’s Angels in America, which cannot be reproduced here because it is a work in its entirety. Make sure you get a copy from a library or bookseller to read in advance of the session! We’ll discuss in person how best to make sure everyone has access to the Transparent episodes.

Should any questions or issues arise, you can always contact Annie at annie.atura@gmail.com or Rabby Mychal at rabbi@shaarzahav.org –we’re here to support you!

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For 3/4: Unheroic Conduct

The “prologue” of Unheroic Conduct (a short and more personal exploration of Boyarin’s relationship to masculinity as a Jew) is available here:

The introduction to the book (the priority for our time together) is available here:

For 2/25: “Queering the Center by Centering the Queer”

This reading is a bit theoretically heavy. Don’t be intimidated! We’ll talk through it together. If you have questions about specific interlocutors of Scheman’s (and there are many!), we can offer suggestions further reading. I’m also attaching here a totally non-required reading, also by Scheman. Taken from the same book, Shifting Ground: Knowledge and Reality, Transgression and Trustworthiness, this extra chapter might help to fill out the picture of her general concerns and epistemological interests as they pertain to Jewishness.

For 2/11: Jakobsen and Gubar

Two articles, one of which inspired the title of the course! Prioritize the Jakobsen if you only have time to read one article; the Gubar concerns feminism rather than queerness per se, although it, like the Jakobsen, examines activist analogy in Jewish tradition.

For 2/4: Epistemology of the Closet

Attached in PDF form here: the eponymous chapter we’ll be discussing and, just in case, the full book from which that chapter taken! If you want to read the whole thing, it’s there for you.

Looking forward to our introductions and first discussion on 2/4!

Welcome to the course!

Are queers like Jews? Are Jews like queers? We might be accustomed to thinking of queer Jews as a subset of the Jewish community–but to what extent is the diasporic Jewish experience already queer? What parallels do we see between how queerness and Jewishness are policed, especially in gendered terms–and how can the two communities learn from one another in their modes of resistance, connection, and adaptivity? This casual evening class will look at (relatively) recent works of queer theory written by and about Jews to think through these questions and to make sense of the two intersecting categories. We will also consider Transparent and Angels in America–two phenomenally popular explorations of the intersection of the Jewish and the queer–to think through contemporary representations of queer Jewish subjectivity. Join member Annie Atura Bushnell, Assistant Director of Jewish Studies at Stanford, and Rabbi Mychal Copeland for low-key discussion over coffee or tea! Readings will be pre-circulated, but never mandatory–come as you are. Cost is only whatever you’d like to eat or drink during the session. There’s no sign-up required; drop-ins are welcome.