News of the College Novemberwinter2006

Jewish Studies to Expand in Russian Department

Reed has received an anonymous gift of $135,266 to support a chair in Jewish literature and culture studies for two years. The new tenure-track professor in the Russian department will focus on the literature, film, and theatre of eastern and central European Jews. Courses will cover topics such as Yiddish film, 1911–39; Jew and “jewishness” in Russian modernism; images of marginality in eastern and central European cinema; Yiddish literature and theater in translation; and the Messianic idea in the Russian avant garde. The holder of the chair will also teach a segment of Russian language and advise senior thesis projects.

The study of Judaic materials already occupies a significant place in the academic program. Humanities 110 includes readings from the Hebrew Bible, rabbinic literature, and the Roman-era Jewish historian Josephus.

“The addition of new courses in Jewish culture studies, including literary genres, film, theatre, and social and political movements, will prepare students for senior thesis research in these areas, within the framework of either the Russian major or a variety of interdisciplinary majors,” says Lena Lencek, professor of Russian and humanities. “In addition, a proposed Jewish culture studies guest lecture series will provide a forum for bringing together faculty, students, and members of the off-campus community.”