Lital Levy

  • Introduction to Jewish Cultures

    This course explores the relationship between culture, history, religion, and ethics in global Jewish experience from the Bible to the present. Following representations of themes such as sexuality, suffering, and mysticism, we'll debate the boundaries between religion and culture and see how ethical questions play out in cultural forms. How does Jewish law, ritual, and custom inform Jewish culture, and how does culture sometimes push back against religious norms?
  • Readings in Modern Arabic Literature

    This advanced reading course surveys the development of modern Arabic prose fiction from the 19th century nahda (Arabic renaissance) to the present. Special attention is devoted to questions of language and style, alongside discussions of major thematic concerns and the interaction of literature and society. All reading assignments are in the original Arabic, though English translations are available as a study aid. Open to qualified undergraduates with instructor's permission.
  • Introduction to Jewish Cultures

    This course explores the relationship between culture, history, religion, and ethics in global Jewish experience from the Bible to the present. Following representations of themes such as sexuality, suffering, and mysticism, we'll debate the boundaries between religion and culture and see how ethical questions play out in cultural forms. How does Jewish law, ritual, and custom inform Jewish culture, and how does culture sometimes push back against religious norms?
  • Readings in Modern Arabic Literature

    This advanced reading course surveys the development of modern Arabic prose fiction from the 19th century nahda (Arabic renaissance) to the present. Special attention is devoted to questions of language and style, alongside discussions of major thematic concerns and the interaction of literature and society. All reading assignments are in the original Arabic, though English translations are available as a study aid. Open to qualified undergraduates with instructor's permission.
  • What is Passing? Cultural Encounters in Race, Ethnicity, and Sexuality

    What is "passing" and why is it such a persistent obsession of great literature and film? Why does the act of changing one's identity fascinate, excite, and repel us? At once a universal phenomenon and the most intensely personal of experiences, passing is a site where history, culture, law and society collide with individual identity and desire. This course examines narratives from the African-American, Jewish-American, and LGBTQ contexts in order to explore the idea of passing through the lenses of race, ethnicity, and gender.
  • Arabs, Jews, and Arab-Jews in Literature, History, and Culture

    This course examines the idea of the Arab, the Jew, and the Arab-Jew as represented in history, literature, and film. It revisits the interdisciplinary scholarship around "Jews and Arabs" since the 1990s in order to reassess past and current approaches and to assist students with their own research agendas. We consider the following analytical frames: memory studies and its politics; historiography, recovery and the archive; hybridity and cosmopolitanism; and passing and cross-identification. We also utilize the Katz Center (U Penn)'s 2018-19 program on Jews in modern Islamic contexts.
  • What is Passing? Cultural Encounters in Race, Ethnicity, and Sexuality

    What is "passing" and why is it such a persistent obsession of great literature and film? Why does the act of changing one's identity fascinate, excite, and repel us? At once a universal phenomenon and the most intensely personal of experiences, passing is a site where history, culture, law and society collide with individual identity and desire. This course examines narratives from the African-American, Jewish-American, and LGBTQ contexts in order to explore the idea of passing through the lenses of race, ethnicity, and gender.
  • Arabs, Jews, and Arab-Jews in Literature, History, and Culture

    This course examines the idea of the Arab, the Jew, and the Arab-Jew as represented in history, literature, and film. It revisits the interdisciplinary scholarship around "Jews and Arabs" since the 1990s in order to reassess past and current approaches and to assist students with their own research agendas. We consider the following analytical frames: memory studies and its politics; historiography, recovery and the archive; hybridity and cosmopolitanism; and passing and cross-identification. We also utilize the Katz Center (U Penn)'s 2018-19 program on Jews in modern Islamic contexts.
  • Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: Culture and Ethics

    This course investigates the question of ethics and culture in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. What is the relationship between culture and ethics? How does the conflict permeate everyday life, and how do Palestinian and Israeli artists, writers and filmmakers respond? How have they pushed aesthetic and ethical limits in representing extreme violence and loss? How does the cultural imagination transgress borders or challenge one-sided understandings of responsibility?
  • Comparative Poetics of Passing: Race, Ethnicity, Sexuality

    The expansion of race theory from the Americas into the global scene invites a cross-cultural approach to the fluidity of identity. This seminar investigates fiction and film from the African American, Jewish American, LGBTQ, and Israeli-Palestinian contexts to broadly explore how society constructs and deconstructs race, ethnicity, and gender. It focuses on representations of passing and reverse passing as well as doubled/split identities for a wide-ranging, comparative discussion of the political and the psychological dynamics of identity and selfhood.

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