Back to:Hebrew and Jewish Studies major

The Hebrew and Jewish Studies program offers an unparalleled opportunity to study the development of Jewish civilisation, Israeli history and culture, and the study of the Hebrew language.

Hebrew and Jewish Studies investigates the history, literature, archaeology, philosophy, ethnography and social theory of Jewish society and culture. You will be encouraged to engage in contemporary debates about ethnicity and identity, assimilation, exile and Diaspora cultures.

You will benefit from the interdisciplinary breadth and the opportunity to combine this with options in Hebrew language study which is taught from beginner to advanced level. You will have the opportunity to explore topics that draw on extensive archival resources available in Australia and internationally.

Hebrew language study at the University of Melbourne is also available in the Diploma in Languages.

Careers

  • Communications
  • Community development
  • Diplomacy
  • International relations
  • Multinational business
  • Multicultural enterprises
  • Religious and community work
  • Teaching
  • Translation and publishing

Subjects you could take in this major

  • This subject covers the basic word formation and syntax of Modern Hebrew, as well as reading, writing and simple conversation. Students should also gain an historical perspective of the language. Students who complete the subject should have a sufficient grasp of Modern Hebrew grammar, vocabulary and syntax to be able to read simpler modern texts. and an ability to conduct basic conversation and write short assignments.

  • In this subject, students revise the basic elements covered in semester one, continue with word formation, reading, writing and simple conversation. Students are introduced to more complex grammar and syntax as well as an historical perspective of the language. On completion, students should have a sufficient grasp of modern Hebrew grammar, vocabulary and syntax to be able to read simpler modern texts, and an ability to conduct basic conversation and write short assignments.

  • This subject focuses on consolidating and developing the skills of reading, writing, listening, aural comprehension and conversing in Hebrew, with emphasis on grammatical structures and expansion of vocabulary. It features advanced work on speaking and creative writing, through a reading of contemporary newspaper articles, magazines, short stories, poetry and film, and enables students to enhance and extend their vocabulary.

  • In this subject students build on their proficiencies and skills in writing, reading, speaking and listening by engaging with authentic texts and situations, and are equipped with more sophisticated language and intercultural skills to converse about themselves in Hebrew within a broader range of social contexts. Students read a variety of texts such as newspaper and magazine articles, poetry, songs, short stories, films and debates in order to comprehend their complex meanings and write a variety of personal stories. They attain a more sophisticated level of language skills necessary to express their opinion and take part in discussions about culturally and politically significant issues and develop structures and vocabulary that enable them to communicate their ideas and opinions about larger social and cultural themes.

  • This subject focuses on advanced modern literary texts, including study of contemporary Hebrew writers in prose and poetry, modern conversational idiom, and newspaper and academic articles. Students further extend their competencies in writing, reading, speaking and listening by engaging with authentic texts and situations. In this subject, Students will engage with authentic texts that deal with past and present themes of increasing complexity and that are of significance to Israeli and Jewish Culture. Students also acquire advanced linguistic structures that allow them to express with greater complexity their own experiences, aspirations and views.

  • This subject focuses on advanced modern literary texts, including study of contemporary Hebrew writers in prose and poetry, modern conversational idiom, and newspaper and academic articles. Students further extend their competencies in writing, reading, speaking and listening by engaging with authentic texts and situations. In this subject, Students will engage with authentic texts that deal with past and present themes of increasing complexity and that are of significance to Israeli and Jewish Culture. Students also acquire advanced linguistic structures that allow them to express with greater complexity their own experiences, aspirations and views.

  • This subject will examine the interplay of external and internal factors in inflaming conflict and tension in the Middle East, dubbed the 'crisis zone’. It will cover the role of foreign powers in a number of case studies: the Arab/Israeli conflict. Iran-Iraq war. the Gulf War of 1990-1991, the war on Terror, the Arab Uprisings and the rise of the Islamic Sate. These case studies will illustrate the difficulties in separating ‘national’ from ‘international politics’ and provide a nuanced appreciation of international relations in this vital region.

  • This subject will examine the Israeli-Palestinian narrative through a multi-disciplinary perspective that will explore the political, social, historical and cultural issues central to this long and intense conflict. The subject will provide a clear chronological and textual foundation for examining the conflict’s origins, evolution, ramifications, as well as the quest for peace. Also examined will be Palestinian and Israeli society in the 20th Century with a focus on the rise and development of Palestinian and Israeli nationalism, including intertwined themes of identity, collective memory, trauma and loss-- themes that bind Palestinians and Israelis together. This interdisciplinary subject will assess the causes and effects of the wars in the region, the involvement of external powers, the negotiations and agreements between Israel and the PLO, the impact of the conflict on the lives of the two nations, the issue of settlements within the framework of international law, the phenomenon of terrorism and counter-terrorism and the status of Jerusalem and its holy sites. Evaluating the prospects of resolution, the subject will probe contemporary instances of interfaith dialogue and programs that call for peaceful coexistence. The course will utilise primary and secondary sources, including film and literature.

  • This subject will examine and focus on modern Israeli history, beginning with the first decade of Israeli statehood and evaluating the nation-building process, the formation of state institutions and the evolution of a democratic regime. Also discussed will be the disparity that became evident between the Zionist ideal and the difficulties of this realization as long-standing divisions emerged such as the Ashkenazi-Sephardic dispute, ultra-orthodox-secular split and Arab-Israeli tensions. The subject will also investigate the revisionist, post-Zionist and other critiques that have to come to the fore in Israeli society over the last two decades. It will engage a number of significant Jewish thinkers and their critical and theoretical reflections on present and future perspectives.The readings include a rich and diverse mix of documents. primary sources, scholarly articles, short stories, poetry newspaper and magazine articles, films and music, all marshalled to illustrate crucial events and change in Israeli history. These sources not only demonstrate the complexity and multiplicity of Israeli history, but will also enable students to cultivate their skills at hands-on historical analysis.

  • The twentieth century has been labelled the "Age of Genocide". This subject will provide a detailed examination of the Holocaust, the archetype of modern genocide, and seek to place it within the broader comparative history of genocide and mass violence with case studies from Africa and the Asia Pacific region. The subject will also investigate the genesis and contested nature of the concept of genocide and examine key histographical debates related to studies of the Holocaust, genocide and mass violence.

  • This subject will focus on the second total war of the twentieth century and will explore questions about the causes of armed conflict, the nature of total war, and some of the consequences (social, economic, cultural and political) of total war for modern European and global history. Among the topics we will examine this semester are the following: the situation of Europe and Japan after World War I, the rise of facism in Italy and Germany, interwar diplomacy and its failure to preserve peace, the origins of WWII in Aisa and Europe, the barbarism of warfare, the home front experiences in the conditions of total war, the Holocaust, and the legacy of total war.

  • This subject explores German society, culture and politics from 1933 to 1945, with special emphasis on the origins, development and significance of the Nazi dictatorship. Topics include the post-WWI crisis, the rise of the Nazi movement, Nazi ideology, the collapse of the Weimar Republic, the seizure of power, Adolf Hitler as charismatic leader, the racist character of Nazi society and politics, the position of women, anti-Semitism, "euthanasia," the Holocaust, "Hitler's" war and the nature of the Nazi empire.

  • This subject gives students majoring in Hebrew and Jewish Studies the opportunity to extend and deepen their knowledge of the topic, sharpen their critical faculties in relation to source material and secondary literature, and acquire substantial skills in planning and executing a research project. It is only available to students taking the Hebrew and Jewish Studies major.

  • This subject is a historical survey of the major events, movements and relationships underlying the making of the modern Islamic and Arab Middle East since the end of the First World War. The subject enables students to understand: the interplay of religion and foreign rule and intervention in shaping the politics and society of the modern Middle East; the development of the different states of the region; the differences between local points of view and those of outside commentators, historians and rulers; and the effects of these changes on the wider population of the various countries.

Entry requirements & Prerequisites

This major is available through more than one course, both of which have their own separate entry requirements.

You can read more on the the

Bachelor of Arts&Bachelor of Arts Extended