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For the spring semester, the College of Arts & Sciences will sponsor a joint teaching initiative to foster in-depth look at these issues of intolerance across a set of courses. Sponsored programs will be eligible for College funding, communication support, and integration into related programming. The College will constitute a steering committee that will evaluate proposals according to the following criteria: (a) scholarly grounding; (b) plan to attract diverse audiences; and (c) diversification of program offerings.

These may be existing courses or newly designed ones, including shorter format, 1 credit hour pass/fail courses. Course proposals were accepted until October 1, 2019. More information will be added.


Spring 2020 courses


ASIA 357/JWST 357/PWAD 257: Arab Jews: Culture, Community and Co-existence

Instructor: Yaron Shemer

The Israeli (Zionist)-Arab conflict, which has lasted for over 100 years, has instilled in the minds of many the notion of the incompatibility of the terms “Arabs” and “Jews.”  The presence of Jews in Arab lands and the often peaceful co-existence between the Jews and their neighbors render “Arab-Jews” not an oxymoron, but a historical reality.  This course is focused on Jewish life in Arab lands in the last century by examining culture, language, and the communal life the Arab-Jews shared with their neighbors of other faiths.  The course explores the transformations in Arab-Jewish relations in light of two pivotal developments: the emergence of Arab nationalism and the rise of Zionism which culminated in the creation of the State of Israel and the Jewish mass departure from Arab lands.  In addition to assigned scholarly readings on these themes, literary works, films, and music are also incorporated into the class curriculum.


ENGL 250: Faulkner

Instructor: Heidi Kim

The writings, contexts and legacy of William Faulkner. It will focus on his entire career and the historical context for his works, with a special attention to the contradiction between his fictional works and some of his public editorials and speeches. The course will consider Faulkner’s work on the legacy of the Civil War and the racial hatred within families and communities.


GEOG 424: Geographies of Religion

Instructor: Elizabeth Olson

In the 21st century, religion is implicated in space and place in a range of ways, challenging the distances that we assume to exist between the intimate space of the body and geopolitics. Rather than declining in modernity, we see it everywhere. Together, we will explore the various ways that religion constructs lives, places, and spaces in diverse global regions. Our readings and conversations will help us understand the ways that religious difference is given meaning, from the scale of the individual body to that of the nation. We will also consider the explicit and implicit role that space plays in establishing religious difference, including processes of exclusion, enclosure, and a range of spatial organizations of religion that foment debates about the appropriate ‘place’ of religion in contemporary societies. This is a research-intensive course, and so students will be producing an individual and collaborative project based on original data gathered through oral histories or other qualitative methods, supported by new digital tools. We will read a lot, discuss even more, and importantly, talk to others to try and understand the many different ways that people encounter religion in everyday and exceptional ways.


JWST 390: Topics in Jewish Studies: Confronting Antisemitism

This one credit course takes a broad look at antisemitism in history, our contemporary world, and at UNC. Class sessions will feature guest speakers and discussions on different aspects of this persistent form of hatred. The following questions are key to this course: How has antisemitism evolved over time? How has it remained the same? What are the intersections between antisemitism and other forms of racism? What tools can be used to fight antisemitism? The course will end with a discussion about developing an effective plan to combat antisemitism at UNC and on other campuses in the United States.