Instructor: Stefanie Halpern
Capped at 20 students.
The family is quintessential to the American Jewish drama. This course will examine how the family unit—a site of intimacy and distance, unity and disjunction—ties characters to the past and informs individual identity, allowing the tension between generations, between religion and modernity, and between tradition and Americanization to be played out.
The plays that will be read cover a broad range of topics that relate directly to questions of gender and sexuality: stereotypical portrayals of the weak Jewish male and the overbearing Jewish mother (and their subversions); the disparities between public life and the domestic sphere; performative acts; the ways in which Jewishness is made manifest on and through the performing body.
The class will incorporate video clips, music, paintings, and photographs that relate directly to and supplement the dramas being read. This will help move the class from page to stage, focusing not only on the texts of the dramas themselves but also on performance.