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Robert Abzug, Director CLA 2.402, 305 E 23rd St B3600, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-475-6178

Alexander Weinreb

Associate Professor Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania

Alexander Weinreb

Contact

Biography

My primary research interests are in the relationship between group-level identities (family, clan, tribe, region, religion, nation, etc.) and a range of social and demographic outcomes. This has inevitably taken me into varied theoretical and disciplinary turf (from micro-sociological theory to political economy).  Since most of my research has focused on sub-Saharan African societies, I have also developed important secondary interests in data collection methodology, in particular the extent to which standard survey methods can be usefully applied in developing country settings (they can be, but with limitations). 

My most important new research interests are in global religious change over long historical periods, and in the sociology of Judaism. Aside from these, I also have latent interests - gradually encroaching on shelf space - in the sociology of genocide and the demography of arid lands.

Interests

Social demography, historical sociology, sociology of Judaism

J S 365 • Anti-Semitism

40625 • Fall 2013
Meets MWF 900am-1000am CLA 0.102
(also listed as HIS 366N, SOC 321K )
show description

Course description

Why have Jews been hated and mistrusted for so long? How, if at all, does judeophobia differ from other types of xenophobia or racism?  In which societies have we historically seen intense hatred or mistrust of Jews? Where do we see it today? And where do we see the opposite phenomenon: philosemitism?

In this upper-level undergraduate course, we tackle these and related questions. We identify distinct types of judeophobia/antisemitism over 2,500 years, identifying continuity and change in antisemitic discourse.

 

Although our primary focus is on antisemitism in contemporary and historical Christian and Muslim societies, we begin in the antisemitic bedrock—Ancient Greece and Rome. We also look at antisemitism in peripheral societies which have had few Jews, if any (e.g., Japan). Finally, we consider judeophobia among Jews themselves—that is, the enduring phenomenon in which some Jews have not only internalized anti-Semitic discourse but have become “self-hating.”

 

Throughout the course, we use antisemitism to explore more general ideas in social theory, including globalization, and the nature of conflict related to race, ethnicity, class, and ideology. Perhaps most surprising and disturbing—this being a university—we look at the repeated role of intellectual elites in generating and justifying new forms of judeophobia, and in so doing, perpetuating this ancient hatred.

 

 

J S 365 • Anti-Semitism

40095 • Fall 2012
Meets MWF 900am-1000am BUR 208
(also listed as HIS 366N, MES 341, SOC 321K )
show description

Why have Jews been hated and mistrusted for so long? How, if at all, does judeophobia differ from other types of xenophobia or racism?  In which societies have we historically seen intense hatred or mistrust of Jews? Where do we see it today? And where do we see the opposite phenomenon: philosemitism?

In this upper-level undergraduate course, we tackle these and related questions. We identify distinct types of judeophobia/antisemitism over 2,500 years, identifying when and where new and discrete layers of antisemitic ideas developed and flourished. Although our primary focus is on antisemitism in contemporary and historical Christian and Muslim societies, we begin in the antisemitic bedrock—Ancient Greece and Rome. We also look at antisemitism in peripheral societies which have had few Jews, if any (e.g., Japan). Finally, we consider judeophobia among Jews themselves—that is, the enduring phenomenon in which some Jews have not only internalized antisemitic discourse but have become “self-hating.”

Throughout the course, we use antisemitism to explore more general ideas in social theory, including habitus, globalization, and the nature of conflict related to race, ethnicity, class, and ideology. Perhaps most surprising and disturbing—this being a university—we look at the repeated role of intellectual elites in generating and justifying new forms of judeophobia, and in so doing, perpetuating this ancient hatred.

 

Grading

To be provided by instructor. 

J S 365 • Anti-Semitism

40020 • Fall 2011
Meets TTH 1100am-1230pm CPE 2.206
(also listed as HIS 366N, MES 322K, SOC 321K )
show description

Description:

Why have Jews been hated and mistrusted for so long? Is Judeophobia like any other type of xenophobia or racism?  Where do we see hatred and mistrust of Jews today? And where do we see the opposite phenomenon: philosemitism?

In this upper-level undergraduate course, we tackle these and related questions. We survey trends in Judeophobia/anti-Semitism over 2,500 years, identifying continuity and change in anti-Semitic discourse. Although our primary focus is on anti-Semitism in contemporary and historical Christian and Muslim societies, we also explore the ancient anti-Semitic bedrock—Ancient Greece and Rome—as well as anti-Semitism in peripheral societies which had few Jews, if any (e.g., pre-modern Japan, contemporary Africa). Finally, we consider Judeophobia among Jews themselves—that is, the enduring phenomenon in which some Jews have not only internalized anti-Semitic discourse but have become “self-hating.”

Throughout the course, we use anti-Semitism to explore more general ideas in social theory about boundary-making, models of racial, ethnic and cultural conflict, and perhaps most surprising and disturbing—this being a university—the repeated role of intellectual elites in generating and justifying new forms of judeophobia, and in so doing, perpetuating this ancient hatred.

Texts/readings:

Excerpts from:

-        Peter Schafer’s Judeophobia: Attitudes toward the Jews in the Ancient World

-        Robert Wistrich’s A Lethal Obsession: Anti-Semitism from Antiquity to the Global Jihad

-        Gavin Langmuir‘s Towards a Definition of Anti-Semitism

-        Jean Paul Sartre’s Anti-Semite and Jew

-        David Goodman’s Jews in the Japanese Mind: The History and Uses of a Cultural Stereotype

-        Stephen Norwood’s The Third Reich in the Ivory Tower: Complicity and Conflict on American Campuses

-        Donald Horowitz’s Ethnic Groups in Conflict

Grading/Assignments:

50% on exams and tests

40% on a group project (focusing on one aspect of anti-Semitism, historical or contemporary)

10% on class participation

Special notes:

In an effort to create a positive learning environment that is focused on lectures and exchanges in the classroom, the in-class use of laptops will be prohibited.

 

Publications

Weinreb, Alexander, and Guy Stecklov. 2009. “Social inequality and HIV-testing: Comparing home- and clinic-based testing in rural Malawi.”  Demographic Research 21: 627-646

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