Theodore Sasson

Professor of Jewish Studies

 work(802) 443-5304
 Munroe Hall

Theodore Sasson is Professor of Jewish Studies. Beginning in 2017, he is on-leave from the College and serving as Director of Programs for the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Foundation. 

Trained as a sociologist, Prof. Sasson has written widely in the fields of diaspora studies, heritage tourism, Israeli politics, American Jewish opinion, American Jewish demography and criminology. He is author, most recently, of The New American Zionism (New York University Press, 2014) and “The Politics of Israel in the American Jewish Community” (in Frederick Greenspahn, editor, Contemporary Israel: New Insights and Scholarship, New York University Press, 2016). He is co-author of Millennial Children of Intermarriage: Touchpoints and Trajectories (Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies, 2015).  

Prof. Sasson’s previous books include The Politics of Injustice: Crime and Punishment in America (co-author, Sage Press, 2004) and Crime Talk: How Americans Construct a Social Problem (Aldine, 1995). He is author of dozens of scholarly articles and research monographs and his essays have appeared in The Forward, Tablet Magazine, The Jewish Week, The Jerusalem Post, Sh’ma Magazine and other periodicals.

Prof. Sasson is co-principal investigator of evaluation research for the educational program Birthright Israel and co-principal investigator for the Jewish Futures Project, a longitudinal study of Jewish young adults. He is a past chair of the social science division of the Association of Jewish Studies, a past board member of the Association of Israel Studies and a past board member of the Association for the Social Scientific Study of Jewry.

Professor Sasson’s recent articles, research monographs and columns can be viewed here.



Course List: 

Courses offered in the past four years.
indicates offered in the current term
indicates offered in the upcoming term[s]

JWST 0234 / SOAN 0234 - Contemporary Israel      

State and Society in Contemporary Israel
In this course we will examine Israeli society and politics in a period of rapid and profound transformation. We will begin with an introductory unit on Zionism, Palestinian nationalism, and the history of the state. Subsequent units will examine the social, cultural, and political characteristics of Israel’s main population sectors (European, Middle Eastern, Russian, and Ethiopian Jews and Palestinian citizens of the state) and religious groupings (Muslims and Jews, including secular, traditional, national-religious, and ultra-Orthodox). The final units will examine ongoing political struggles that will shape the future of the state, including struggles over the role of religion in public life; civil rights and democracy; and West Bank settlements and the Palestinian-Israeli peace process. Most readings assignments will be social scientific or historical in nature, but will also include some journalism and literature. 3 hrs. lect. (Sociology) AAL SOC

Fall 2015, Fall 2016

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JWST 0273 / SOAN 0273 - Diasporas and Homelands      

Diasporas and Homelands
War, mass migration, and globalization have spurred development of diaspora communities and heightened scholarly interest in the phenomenon. In contrast to other groups of exiles and immigrants, diaspora communities seek integration within host countries as well as ongoing political, economic, and cultural ties to their homelands. A number of questions arise from these complex and dynamic relationships: How do diaspora communities maintain cultural distinctiveness within host countries? How do they maintain and reproduce cultural ties with homelands and other centers of diaspora life? What influence do diaspora communities have on political relationships between host countries and homelands? What influence do they have on internal homeland politics? Finally, what are the implications of the diaspora phenomenon for the future of the nation state and globalization? Case studies will be drawn from a variety of diaspora communities, including Armenians, Nigerians, Jews, Palestinians, Dominicans, and South Asians. 3 hrs. lect. (Sociology) CMP SOC

Fall 2015, Fall 2016

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JWST 1001 - Social Movements & Jewish Life      

Social Movements in Modern Jewish Life
Over the last half century, social movements have challenged, shaken up, and transformed American Jewish life. In this course we will consider the influence of civil rights, feminism, environmentalism, the Soviet Jewry campaign, and struggles over Israel. More recent cases will include Occupy Wall Street, Black Lives Matter, and gender identity movements. Throughout, our focus will be on the reciprocal influence of political and religious movements, and on the changing character of American Jewish life. NOR SOC WTR

Winter 2016

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Program in Jewish Studies

Munroe Hall 
427 College St.
Middlebury College

MiddleburyVT 05753