The University of Southampton

HIST6104 Approaches to Modern Jewish History and Culture

Module Overview

This module is intended to give a broad overview of Jewish history and to introduce you to the main fields for the study of Jewish history and culture. The module covers the experiences of emancipation and assimilation, the development of Zionism, and approaches to studying the Holocaust. Across these diverse historical topics stress is placed on understanding major debates in the historiography. You will also be familiarised with the different ideological and methodological approaches toward Jewish history. In a selected fashion this module will also discuss the nature and problems of various sources.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • major debates in the historiography of the Jews and central issues in the development of Jewish cultures
  • key issues and debates concerning Jewish history and culture
  • competing concepts of Jewishness
  • the role of the Jewish religion in the construction of Jewish cultures
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • demonstrate originality and confidence in the scholarly application of knowledge, and the ability to advance that knowledge through research informed by the work of others
  • work independently and effectively using library, archival and internet resources and demonstrate efficient time management
  • give an effective oral presentation that engages and informs its audience
  • contribute to original and intellectually challenging discussion in a group environment, listening and responding to the views of others
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • evaluate particular elements of Jewish history and culture and make connections across different historical, cultural and political contexts
  • recognise and apply methods by which Jewish history and culture can be analysed
  • integrate close textual analysis and contextual research
  • demonstrate confidence and independence of thought
  • synthesise and evaluate complex material


The themes covered by the module include the following: • The process of Jewish emancipation • The emergence of anti-Semitism and new forms of Jew-hatred in the nineteenth-century • Religious responses to modernity • Jewish socialism • The birth of Zionism • Emigration and refugees • Immigrant Jewish life in America • Immigrant Jewish life in the UK • Jews in twentieth-century eastern Europe • Historiography of the Holocaust • Responses to the Holocaust • Memory and representation of the Holocaust • Israeli culture and politics

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching methods include • a two hour weekly class over two semesters • independent study and research Primary resources will be a prominent part of the seminars, with the aim of producing familiarity in handling and engaging with archive material and fostering the ability, through example and experience, of incorporating these texts into critical frameworks with original insight. Throughout the module you will be encouraged to pursue your own particular research interests and case studies and space will be allocated during the module to enable you to present your essay work in progress in a supportive and reciprocally challenging environment. Learning activities include • You will be asked to prepare for each seminar by following the recommended reading and preparing individual presentations on the examination of specific sources.

Preparation for scheduled sessions500
Completion of assessment task40
Total study time600





MethodPercentage contribution
Book review  (2000 words) 15%
Book review  (2000 words) 15%
Essay  (5000 words) 35%
Essay  (5000 words) 35%


MethodPercentage contribution
Coursework 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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