RELIGION 141: Judaism through Film

Reader requirements: interest in film, Jewish studies, religion in America, 20th century cultural history

  1. Course Information
  2. Schedule
  3. Giving Feedback

Course Information

Instructor: Prof. Laura Lieber

An overview of major themes in Jewish practice, belief, identity, and history as presented through the medium of film. Emphasis will be on contemporary Judaism in Europe, American, and the Middle East.

Student Writing Assignment

What are students writing? Film review.
For whom? Lay readers with an interest in film, Jewish studies, religion in America, 20th century cultural history.
Where would such writing typically be found? The Nation, The New Yorker

Examples of Readers


Student – Reader Interactions

Introductory Meeting

By Oct. 10 – Student and Reader “meet” (in person, by phone or by webcam); talk about course and Review #1

First Draft of Paper #2

more details:

Assignment: Students will choose a film to review. The films will usually consist of those on the syllabus and discussed in class prior to the due date of each paper, though students are given the option of reviewing films—and other visual media, including TV series—not on the syllabus; these must be selected with the approval of the instructors. The reviews are to be around 1500 words (the equivalent of five double-spaced pages) and written in a journalistic style akin to reviews in The Nation or The New Yorker. They must relate explicitly to topics explored in the course. No outside research is expected or required.


By Oct. 15: Student begins writing

Oct. 22: First draft of due to instructor and reader

by Oct. 28: Meeting with reader (Written comments to student by day prior to meeting)

Second Draft of Paper #2

Nov. 8: due to Readers

by Nov. 14: meeting  (Think aloud response in real time meeting–no written feedback needed.)

Nov. 19 (before Thanksgiving) Paper #2 (final version) due

Syllabus – Judaism Through Film

Giving Feedback

Giving feedback is the activity around which the entire project is designed. You may have considerable professional experience giving feedback on writing — whether to colleagues, employees, or other contexts — or perhaps this is an fairly novel experience. Given the aims and nature of the Reader Project, we are hoping that our volunteers engage with student writing in a particular way–one that is quite different from what is conventionally done in other contexts.

The primary aim of the project is to help students really understand what it means to write for readers, rather than as a school assignment. Think about the following when you give feedback, whether in writing or in real time:

  • Respond as a reader rather than as an editor. (They can get basic editorial help from others.) Focus on sharing your reactions to the draft as a user of such writing. What are you thinking as you read? More