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Syllabus Subordinated Groups in Early Modern Germany - 39044
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Last update 22-07-2016
HU Credits: 2

Degree/Cycle: 1st degree (Bachelor)

Responsible Department: history

Semester: 2nd Semester

Teaching Languages: Hebrew

Campus: Mt. Scopus

Course/Module Coordinator: Dr. Aya Elyada

Coordinator Email:

Coordinator Office Hours: Monday 14:00-15:00

Teaching Staff:
Dr. Aya Elyada

Course/Module description:
The course will explore the social history of early modern Germany while focusing on several groups that were excluded from power, discriminated, and sometimes even persecuted because of their religious convictions (Anabaptists), ethnic origin (Jews and Gypsies), gender (women), and socio-economic status (beggars, vagabonds, and professional criminals). By reading primary sources and research literature on this topic we shall discuss questions relating to society and religion, gender in history, Christian-Jewish relations, and perceptions of poverty and crime.

Course/Module aims:
The course seeks to introduce the students to central aspects of the social history of early modern Germany, and to help them develop reading and working skills both with primary sources and with research literature in this field

Learning outcomes - On successful completion of this module, students should be able to:
Explain what "social history" in fact means – the field's goals, characteristics, and weaknesses
Describe the political, social, economic, and religious situation in Germany at the beginning of the modern era
Asses the challenge posed by the Anabaptists to the religious, social and political order
Point out the gap between images of beggars and vagrants in early modern literature, and those in modern research
Discuss the place of women in the social order of early modern Germany in general, and early modern attitudes toward deviant women in particular
Explain the circumstances leading to the "witch craze", and to the notion that equated witches and women
Discuss Luther's writings on the Jews, and explain the gap between his earlier and later writings on the topic
Asses the problems and difficulties that awaited Jews who wished to convert to Christianity
Analyze historical documents
Discuss items of research literature and identify their main arguments

Attendance requirements(%):

Teaching arrangement and method of instruction: A small portion of the course will be in the form of a frontal lecture. The lion's share will comprise reading analyses of primary sources and secondary literature by the students, as well as discussions in class

Course/Module Content:
1. Historical background: Germany at the beginning of the modern era; the Protestant Reformation
2. Religious margins (I): the Anabaptists
3. Vagrants, beggars, vagabonds
4. Women on the margins: gender issues in early modern Europe
5. Religious margins (II): Jews as an ethnic and religious minority

Required Reading:
- Selection of primary sources
- Secondary literature (selected items):
יוג'ין פ' רייס (הבן) ואנתוני גרפטון, אירופה בראשית העת החדשה, 1460-1559, מהד' עברית שנייה מתוקנת, תל-אביב 2010
R. Po-chia Hsia, "Münster and the Anabaptists," in R. Po-chia Hsia (ed.), The German People and the Reformation, Ithaca 1988, 51-69
Robert W. Scribner, "Mobility: Voluntary or Enforced? Vagrants in Württemberg in the Sixteenth Century", in Gerhard Jaritz and Albert Mueller (eds.), Migration in der Feudalgesellschaft, Frankfurt a.M. 1988, 65-88
Merry E. Wiesner, "Beyond Women and the Family: Towards a Gender Analysis of the Reformation," Sixteenth Century Journal 18:3 (1987), 311-321.
Lyndal Roper, "Discipline and Respectability: Prostitution and the Reformation in Augsburg", History Workshp Journal (1985), 3-28
Susanna Burghartz, "The Equation of Women and Witches: A Case Study of Witchcraft Trials in Lucerne and Lausanne in the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Centuries", in Richard J. Evans (ed.), The German Underworld: Deviants and Outcasts in German History, London 1988, 57-74
Elisheva Carlebach, Divided Souls: Converts from Judaism in Germany, 1500-1750, New Haven and London, 2001, Ch. 2-3

Additional Reading Material:
H-J Goertz, "Radical Religiosity in the German Reformation," in Companion to the Reformation World, 70-85
Robert Jütte, Poverty and Deviance in Early Modern Europe, Cambridge, UK 1994
Stjerna Kirsi, Women and the Reformation, Blackwell 2009
Lyndal Roper, The Holy Household:‎ Women and Morals in Reformation Augsburg,‎ Oxford 1989
Miriam Bodian, “The Reformation and the Jews”, in Jeremy Cohen and Moshe Rosman (eds.), Rethinking European Jewish History, Oxford 2009
R. Po-chia Hsia, "Between State and Community: Religious and Ethnic Minorities in Early Modern Germany," in Germania Illustrata, 169-180

Course/Module evaluation:
End of year written/oral examination 70 %
Presentation 0 %
Participation in Tutorials 10 %
Project work 0 %
Assignments 10 %
Reports 10 %
Research project 0 %
Quizzes 0 %
Other 0 %

Additional information:
home exam
Students needing academic accommodations based on a disability should contact the Center for Diagnosis and Support of Students with Learning Disabilities, or the Office for Students with Disabilities, as early as possible, to discuss and coordinate accommodations, based on relevant documentation.
For further information, please visit the site of the Dean of Students Office.