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College of Arts and Sciences to offer new minor

The+College+of+Arts+and+Sciences+announced+a+new+minor+coming+in+the+fall+2018+semester.
The College of Arts and Sciences announced a new minor coming in the fall 2018 semester.

The College of Arts and Sciences announced a new minor coming in the fall 2018 semester.

Shannon Lundgren

Shannon Lundgren

The College of Arts and Sciences announced a new minor coming in the fall 2018 semester.

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Beginning in the fall 2018 semester, the University of South Alabama College of Arts and Sciences will offer a new minor in Jewish and Holocaust Studies, according to JHS minor director, Dr. David Meola. The minor will draw from courses across a variety of disciplines, including history, philosophy, religion, political sciences, modern languages and communication.

The new minor is being introduced as a result of student request, according to Meola. He hopes that offering the minor will help combat anti-Semitism and genocide, as well as provide a more complete picture of Jewish life and culture.

“…Creating a program in Jewish and Holocaust studies is a way to give to our students the knowledge which can then be used to make positive change in the world,” Meola said. “I certainly do hope we get to ‘Never Again,’ but the work is hard, and this program is my contribution to that endeavor. With the rise of Antisemitism in American society and around the world, I can think of no better way to combat this scourge than to present pictures of real Jews, whose lives combat and contradict the ‘mythical Jews’ constructed by antiSemites and that ilk.”

According to Dr. Christine Rinne, director of USA’s international studies program, the minor will give students a better understanding of international society and give students the tools to recognize and respond to modern genocides.

“Genocides continue to happen (Rwanda, Sudan, and currently the Rohingya in Myanmar), and the international community must respond to help stop them and prevent any more,” Rinne said. “The Jewish and Holocaust Studies minor is part of our continued efforts at South to offer students interdisciplinary approaches to explore the world around them, to better understand our global society.”

While genocide awareness will be an important part of the minor, it will not be the only part, according to Meola. He also hopes students will learn about all facets of Jewish life and culture. To that end, Dr. Richard Ward’s Film Studies course is offered as a part of the minor.

According to Ward, students will learn about Eastern European Jewish immigrants’ contribution to the modern film industry.

The College of Arts and Sciences encourages all students who are interested in pursuing the minor to
do so.

“The most important factor in being successful in any degree program is the student’s interest — we all do well studying things we enjoy,” Dr. Eric Loomis, associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, said. “Since we enjoy it, our effort usually translates into higher grades, of course, but it also expresses itself in good relationships with other students and professors, which can open new opportunities down the road.”

The Jewish and Holocaust Studies minor isn’t the only new minor coming to the College of Arts and Sciences, according to Loomis. The College of Arts and Sciences plans to have a Native American Studies minor ready for the fall 2019 semester.

Dr. Eleanor ter Horst, a professor offering courses accepted in the Jewish and Holocaust Studies minor, expressed gratitude the local Jewish community for its support of the minor. Jewish and Holocaust Studies professors are willing to speak to local groups and integrate them to public events, according to ter Horst.

“Many of our affiliated faculty are willing to talk to community groups about topics related to Jewish Studies and the Holocaust,” ter Horst said. “We welcome all members of the Mobile community to public events, such as the Jewish Film Festival and public lectures on Jewish Studies and the Holocaust.

Questions about the Jewish and Holocaust Studies Minor can be directed to Meola at [email protected] southalabama.edu.

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College of Arts and Sciences to offer new minor