“Jewish Studies”– new name and new rules

in Uncategorized
April 27th, 2012

The College of Arts and Sciences approved the new requirements for the minor concentration and the Provost approved the new name of the concentration in what will henceforth be called Jewish Studies. The approved changes will take effect in Fall 2012. Students who started on their minor degree using the old rules will be allowed to finish by meeting the previously posted requirements.

Here is a brief guide to what’s new in the CAS minor in Jewish Studies.

1) What counts towards the minor and how is the curriculum presented to students?

a) We are keeping a complete and up to date inventory of Jewish Studies courses. This master list of courses automatically counting toward the minor will be updated every year and a copy kept in CAS Records. Faculty will keep a copy of this list on file for advising and course planning purposes. The current inventory can be downloaded here: JSCourseCat2012

b) Other courses may be counted with adviser approval toward the minor depending on topics and areas covered. Examples include RN 206 (Sacred Texts), RN 241 (Topics in Religion and Evil), and CAS LS 452 (Topics in Latin America Literature and Culture; Topic for Fall 2011: Leaving Home).

c) To count toward the minor, topics courses ought to be more than simply useful for the study of Jews and Judaism; the litmus test ought to be whether the course devotes significant attention to the study of Jews and Judaism. All relevant topics courses will be listed in a section of courses that qualify for the minor concentration in Jewish Studies on a petition basis only.

d) Following are four categories that we agreed to use as suggested areas of study:

-Sacred Texts and Interpretations
-Language, Literature, and Film
-History and Society
-Philosophy and Thought

We created a chart listing all classes relevant to each category but this does not mean that we are introducing a field requirement to the minor. But we think that both students and advisers will benefit from a clear presentation of a program of study that offers some curricular cohesion.

e) The complete list of Jewish Studies courses, the suggested areas of study in table form, the other “topical courses,” the requirements for the minor, and the rationale for those requirements are posted on this website at http://www.bu.edu/jewishstudies/undergraduate_old/ and at JSCourseCat2012.

2) RN 216 as a gateway course:

a) We agreed to make RN 216 Judaism a required course for all minors. The course will serve as a gateway to Jewish Studies and ensure that minors achieve a basic familiarity with a few key aspects of Judaism. Instructors on rotation for RN 216 (currently Klawans and Katz) are expected to touch on each of the four curricular areas of study listed above and keep in mind the course’s new role as a foundational or gateway course for the program.

b) Students will no longer be required to complete one of either RN 101 (The Bible) or RN 104 (Religions of the World: Western).

3) Other:

The JS minor will be administered by the Elie Wiesel Center for Judaic Studies, which will be in charge of registering students and processing their declaration of a minor concentration in CAS, keeping student records, provide forms (grade change forms, etc.), keep syllabi on file, and keep the course and program related information on the web up to date. Since all of our courses are offered by other units of the university, it will be important to use the annual curricular self-study to determine curricular needs (including frequency and scheduling of course offerings) and communicate effectively with participating faculty and cognate departments.

For any question about this curricular revision, please contact Michael Zank, Acting Director, at mzank@bu.edu or call 617.353.4434.