John Hoberman

ProfessorPh.D. Scandinavian Languages and Literature, University of California, Berkeley

John Hoberman



European cultural and intellectual history with special interests in Sportwissenschaft and the history of ideas about race.


John Hoberman is a social and cultural historian who has researched and published extensively in the fields of sports studies, race studies, human enhancements, medical history, and globalization studies. His work in sports studies encompasses race relations, politics and the Olympics, and performance-enhancing drug use. His interests in medical history include the social and medical impacts of androgenic drugs (anabolic steroids) and the history of medical racism in the United States. He has lectured at many medical schools and other medical institutions on this topic.

 Prof. Hoberman is the author of Sport and Political Ideology (1984), The Olympic Crisis: Sport, Politics, and the Moral Order (1986), Mortal Engines: The Science of Performance and the Dehumanization of Sport (1992), Darwin’s Athletes: How Sport Has Damaged Black America and Preserved the Myth of Race (1997), Testosterone Dreams: Rejuvenation, Aphrodisia, Doping ((2005), Black & Blue: The Origins and Consequences of Medical Racism (2012), and Age of Globalization, the text of a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) broadcast on the edX global platform during 2013 and 2014 and published online by the University of Texas Press in January 2014.

Prof. Hoberman has also published widely for general audiences. His articles have appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street JournalForeign PolicyThe NationThe Wilson QuarterlySocietyScientific American, the Atlanta Journal-ConstitutionThe National (Canada), and Der Spiegel (Germany). Interviews with Prof. Hoberman have appeared in Norwegian, Swedish, French and German publications. Interviews on media outlets include all of the national networks: PBS, ABC. NBC, CBS, FOX, ABC (Australia), CBC (Canada), and BBC (UK).



J S 364 • Anti-Semitism In Hist & Lit

39290 • Fall 2015
Meets TTH 200pm-330pm GEA 114
(also listed as C L 323, EUS 346, GSD 360)

FLAGS:   GC  |  Wr  | EL


The origins of Western (Christian) anti-Semitism can be traced to the Gospel of St John in the New Testament, which stigmatizes the Jews as “the children of the Devil.” Anti-Semitism thus originates in the religious feud that gradually intensified between the Jewish community and the followers of Jesus Christ. The early Church Fathers denounced the Jews using the most violent language, and a pattern was established. The first part of the course consists of an examination of the Christian critique of the Jews through the Middle Ages.

The second part of the course focuses primarily on the development of an intensified anti-Semitism in Europe during the 19th and 20th centuries, culminating in the Holocaust in Europe. Literary texts by Henri de Montherlant, Somerset Maugham, Aharon Applefeld, Ernest Hemingway, and Georges Perec are used to explore the nature of anti-Semitic perspectives on the Jews as a group or “tribe.” The course covers anti-Semitic developments up to the present day.

Selected Readings:

Ashley Montagu, "Are 'the' Jews a Race?" in Man's Most Dangerous Myth: The Fallacy of Race (1974): 353-377.

Léon Poliakov, "The Fateful Summer of 1096," in The History of Anti-Semitism, Vol. 1 (1974): 41-72. 

Léon Poliakov, "Activated Anti-Semitism: Germany," in The History of Anti-Semitism, Vol. 1 (1974): 210-245.

Joshua Trachtenberg, The Devil and the Jews (1943): 11-52.

David I. Kertzer, "Introduction," in The Popes Against the Jews: The Vatican's Role in the Rise of Modern Anti-Semitism  (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2001): 3-21.

George L. Mosse, "Eighteenth-Century Foundations," "The Birth of Stereotypes," "Nation, Language, and History," in Toward the Final Solution (1978): 1-50. 

John M. Efron, "The Jewish Body Degenerate?" in Medicine and the German Jews: A History (2001): 105-150.

Maurice Fishberg, "Pathological Characteristics," in The Jews: A Study of Race and Environment (1912): 270-295.

Somerset Maugham, “The Alien Corn” (1931).

Henri de Montherlant, “A Jew-Boy Goes to War” (1926).

Jean-Paul Sartre, Anti-Semite and Jew (1946): 7-54.

Michael H. Kater, “Everyday Anti-Semitism in Prewar Nazi Germany: The Popular Bases” (1984): 129-159.


Examination #1  — 20% of grade

Examination #2 — 20% of final grade

Paper #1 (4 pages) — 10% of final grade

Paper #2 (4 pages) — 10% of final grade

Paper #3 (10 pages) — 40% of final grade

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