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Diaspora in Jewish and Islamic Experience

Religious Studies 405 - Fall 2020

Tensions between center and periphery; migration and rest; power and powerlessness; exile, home, and return are easily found in the historical record of both Jews and Muslims. For Muslims, it can be said that it was the very success of Islam as a world culture, and the establishment of Muslim societies in in all corners of the globe, that lay at the root of this unease. But the disruptions of the post-colonial era, the emergence of minority Muslim communities in Europe and North America, and the recent, tragic flow of refugees following the Arab Spring have created a heightened sense of displacement and yearning for many. Of course, the very term "diaspora"-from ancient Greek, meaning dispersion or scattering-has most often been used to describe the Jewish condition in the world. The themes of exile and return, catastrophe and redemption, are already woven into the Hebrew Bible and continued to be central motifs in Rabbinic Judaism in late antiquity and the middle ages. This, despite the fact that more Jews lived outside the borders of Judea than within the country many years before the destruction of Jewish sovereignty at the hands of the Romans. In the twentieth century, European imperialism, nationalisms of various types, revolution, and war-including the Israeli-Palestinian conflict-have done much to underscore the continuing dilemmas of Diaspora and home in both Jewish and Islamic identity. The goal of this course is to offer a comparative, historical perspective on the themes of migration and displacement, center and periphery, home and residence, exile and return, and to give students the opportunity to examine in depth some aspect of the experience of "Diaspora". Note: This course fulfills the capstone requirement for Jewish, Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies. The course also counts as an Advanced Seminar for History. (Students wishing to receive History Advanced Seminar credit should also enroll in L22 491R section 19 for 1 unit.) The cour
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Section 01

Diaspora in Jewish and Islamic Experience
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