The major in Jewish studies will provide students of all backgrounds the opportunity to critically analyze Jewish cultures, histories, literatures, media, thought, and religion. Students who major in Jewish studies will be exposed to the long arc of Jewish history, while learning the skills of close textual analysis and discovering the complexity behind the formation of religious, ethnic, and cultural identities. At Cornell, students can study Jewish culture, history, media, and texts from: ancient Israel; late antique Mesopotamia; medieval Iberia; the Shoah; Modern Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and the Americas; and beyond.
The Jewish studies major is designed to put the study of Jewish experiences in a comparative context. The range of courses available to Jewish studies majors highlight Jewish diversity: cultural, ethnic, geographic, linguistic, and racial. Jewish studies majors can take courses in a variety of disciplines, including archaeology, film, gender studies, history, law, literature, philosophy, politics, race, and religion. Through these courses, and through the fulfillment of the related course requirement, students will gain insight into larger questions of global concern, including the problems of constructions of otherness, inequality, and colonialism—among much else. The major is constructed with a great deal of flexibility, not only to accommodate a range of student interests, but also to make it possible for Jewish studies students to double major in Jewish studies and another field.