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Jerusalem: Past, Present and Future

Fall 2021 Course Spotlight

Penn State Jewish Studies Program is excited to spotlight the Fall 2021 course, Jerusalem: Past, Present and FutureThe course, taught by Professor Michelle Campos, is scheduled for MWF 11:15-12:05 PM in Willard 365.

Jerusalem, a city sacred to Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, is often depicted as the spiritual and physical center of the world. Throughout its 5000-year history, Jerusalem has attracted diverse cultures, empires, and peoples who have vied for control of this city that is both holy and very ordinary. Jerusalem: Past, Present, and Future surveys the archaeological, religious, cultural, political, and historical record of Jerusalem in the ancient, medieval, and modern periods.

We will explore a series of themes in the city’s history: the built urban environment, political power in and over the city, sacred sites and pilgrimage, the everyday experiences of Jerusalemites, the changing cultural meanings of the city across various religious and national traditions, and war, violence, and memory in the urban landscape. Our approach will be multidisciplinary and based on diverse voices and sources, including: archeological evidence and contemporary debates about the politicization of archeology; cultural products like art, music and literature; primary source accounts from chroniclers, pilgrims, diplomats, soldiers, musicians and schoolgirls; architecture and urban infrastructure; court cases about conversion, economics, and property ownership; and contemporary documentaries and oral histories.

Together we will examine the significance of Jerusalem's past, its impact on contemporary society and politics in the modern Middle East, and differing visions for this contested city's future. 

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