Themes

Power and Justice

How are they related and how can they be balanced?

Power plays a pivotal role in the attainment of justice. What is fair or just is very often decided by those who hold the power in the world. In some cases of perceived injustice, the powerful are challenged and possession of power can shift. In the power and justice theme, you will examine power structures, conflict and resolution, and issues of social and political justice.

You will be asked to examine the world as you know it and imagine alternative scenarios where the balance of power has shifted to those who were without it:

  • How have power and justice been theorized, described, and explained within different disciplines?
  • How is power generated, distributed, transformed, and mobilized, be it physically, culturally, or psychologically?
  • How do sexualities, class, race, ethnicity, and sustainability affect and reflect structures of power and notions of justice?
  • How does a historical understanding of power struggles help us understand contemporary conflicts?
  • How are struggles over energy production and environmental justice tied to structures of power?


HIGHLIGHTED COURSE

Jewish Studies: JWST29400  Contemporary Jewish Identities: Gender, Race, and Power (POWER & JUSTICE AND IDENTITIES/HM)

This course addresses the large number of contemporary Jewish identities, focusing on Jews in the United States and Israel, the two largest contemporary Jewish communities. Themes that will be discussed will address the meaning of being Jewish, if the identity people relate to is religious, ethnic, national or racial, and whether or not there is a common Jewish identity among Jews of widely varying ethnic origins, religious affiliation, and national allegiances. These themes will be explored through four different topics, namely Jews and Race, Post-Holocaust Jewish Identity, Jewish Identity in Israel, and Gender, Feminism, and Queer Identity.

While studying Jews and race, the focus will be on how Jews have been been viewed and treated by others. Students will read about and learn how the status of Jews in the contemporary world has been transformed by the Holocaust. Now that Israel is dominated by Jews, the existence of a large Arab minority and military occupation of the lands and its affect on Israeli Jewish identity will be studied. Last, but not least, the impact of women struggling for equality in Jewish life on contemporary Jewish identity in the United States and Israel and the movement for LGBT rights in both countries will be examined.