Professor Veidlinger teachers courses at the University of Michigan on Jewish History, the Holocaust, and Antisemitism. He has also taught at Indiana University, Georgetown University, and summer seminars at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv, Ukraine.
Collaborative Research in the Holocaust
This course offered at the University of Michigan in conjunction with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, allows students to develop digital analytical materials based on the museum’s archives for its online educational programming. Students develop research, critical analysis, and writing skills working in a collaborative, team-based approach to historical research methods and practices. The class travels to Washington, DC, to utilize the museum’s collections and to present to their stakeholders. The innovative course design was featured in the American Historical Association’s Perspectives on History, in the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Memory & Action. in LSA Magazine and in the University of Michigan History Department’s news.
Antisemitism and Philosemitism:
Jews in Myth and Thought
From Moses to Soros, Jews have figured prominently in Europeanand world myth for some two thousand years. Regardless of whether it is out of admiration for their contributions to modern civilization or as a warning about imagined Jewish conspiracies, the nature of “the Jew” has occupied some of the most influential minds of the last two centuries. Some have lauded them as God’s Chosen People, Hollywood moguls, NobelLaureates, intellectual geniuses, and highly accomplished doctors, lawyers, and professionals. At the same time “the Jews” have been feared and despised as imagined worshippers of the Anti-Christ, political conspirators, financial manipulators, child murderers, and threats to racial purity.
Through close readings of some of the most influential works on the nature of Jewish identity—written by Jews and non-Jews alike– this course will analyze some of the ways that Jews have been imagined in modern history. Notably, this class does not focus on actual Jews. You will learn little about Jewish life, community and culture from the readings in this course. Instead you will come to understand how the image of the Jew has been imagined by a variety of writers, many of whom had little or no contact with actual Jews and wrote their treatises solely on the basis of their own prejudices and imaginations. Since antisemitism remains a threat and prominent—even accepted—form of bigotry in the world today, it is important to understand the tropes and myths that inform it.
The Protocols of the Elders of Zion
Jewish History, 1881-1948
The Jewish impact on the development of the modern age has famously led some to term the twentieth century “The Jewish Century.” At the same time, modernity in all its forms has impacted the history of Jewish civilization in fundamental ways. This course will study Jewish life in the modern period, focusing on both the role that Jews have played in the development of the modern world and the effects that the development of modernity have had on the Jewish people. We will evaluate the ways that Jewish identity persevered throughout the period, and the means by which the Jewish people were able to create and maintain a community without political sovereignty. We will see how the Jewish enlightenment and emancipation began to break down traditional communal structures, and how the Jewish community responded to these challenges in the forms of Zionism, socialism, assimilation, and migration. We will also look at some of the ways that non-Jews responded to the changes within the Jewish community, including the advent of modern anti-Semitism and the Holocaust. The focus of this course is on the modern European Jewish experience, although we will touch on the experience of Jews in America and the Middle East as well.
In addition to learning about the Jewish past, students in this course will develop historical skills, including how to approach texts from a historical perspective, how to think analytically about the past, how to formulate historically relevant questions, and how to analyze a variety of historical materials, including primary source texts and modern scholarship. Students will conduct weekly text analysis exercises designed to develop critical reading skills and analytical writing.
The Zionist Idea:
The History of Jewish Nationalisms
This course analyzes some of the key texts of the Zionist movement from its early days in the late nineteenth-century through the establishment of the State of Israel. Students will familiarize themselves with the diversity of thought within the Zionist movement, the context in which the movement began, and some of the criticisms the movement encountered prior to the establishment of the State of Israel.
Ephraim Moses Lillen, 'May our eyes behold your return in mercy to Zion, Fifth Zionist Congress souvenir, Basel, 1901