BA Politics and Modern History / Course details

Year of entry: 2020

Course unit details:
Historical controversies in the Study of Israel/Palestine

Unit code MEST30722
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 3
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by Arabic and Middle Eastern Studies
Available as a free choice unit? Yes

Overview

This class critically surveys the following themes pertaining chiefly to post-1948 Israel/Palestine: “Israeli Inter-generational Conflict?”; “Historical Inquiry and Israel’s Collective Memory”; “Israel: Democracy, Ethnic Democracy or ‘Ethnocracy’?”; “Jewish and Democratic State: Built-in Structural Tension?”; “Arab Citizenship in a Jewish State”; “Sephardim/Mizrahim in Israel” and “The Politics of Land Ownership.

Aims

On completion of this unit, successful participants should have reached a advanced level of foundational knowledge in the study of post-1948 contemporary Israel/Palestine; be able to discuss and analyse competing schools of scholarly thought studying the Palestine/Israel question; be able to comment in an informed manner on a range of controversies surrounding the study of post-1948 Israel/Palestine. 

Learning outcomes

By the end of this course students should be able to:

Syllabus

During the last four decades liberal democracies worldwide have grappled with questions relating to citizenship, immigration, multi-culturalism, gender gaps, collective rights, and the civil status of ethnic or indigenous minorities. In Israel/Palestine these issues came to the fore in the 1990s, manifesting themselves in debates between the “old” and “new” historians; disputes between the “critical” and “establishment” sociologists; questions of memory and collective identity; new forms of political organisation by Israel’s Palestinian-Arab citizens, Sephardic-Mizrahi Jews, and women. Discussions often revolved around the question whether Israeli society embodies persistent inequalities between European Jews, Middle Eastern Jews, women, Palestinian Arabs, and Russian and Ethiopian immigrants, or whether it is a place of (comparatively) well-functioning co-existence. This class critically surveys the following themes that shed light on these debates: “Israeli Inter-generational Conflict?”; “Historical Inquiry and Israel’s Collective Memory”; “Israel: Democracy, Ethnic Democracy or ‘Ethnocracy’?”; “Jewish and Democratic State: Built-in Structural Tension?”; “Arab Citizenship in a Jewish State”; “Sephardim/Mizrahim in Israel” and “The Politics of Land Ownership”.

 

Overview of Blackboard content

Primary sources and lecture notes shall be made available in blackboard

 

Knowledge and understanding

On successful completion of the course students should have developed skills for critical analysis of the debates surveyed and the scholarly and sociopolitical controversies surrounding them; understand of critical issues pertaining to the modern study – and predicaments – of contemporary Israel/Palestine; be able to develop a productive PPP to support their essays.

Intellectual skills

Ability to comment in an informed manner on a range of controversies surrounding the study of contemporary Israel/Palestine.

Practical skills

The foundational knowledge acquired is essential for any position in the private or public sector which deals with Israel/Palestine; the creation of oral presentations and PPP to support one’s project and case.

Transferable skills and personal qualities

Time Management and punctuality; Ability to differentiate between scholarship on the one hand and motivational speaking and advocacy on the other; comprehension of the absolut importance of being able to present and argue orally contrasting theses and schools of thought; organize effective oral presentations and PPP. 

Assessment methods

Assessment task

Length

Weighting within unit

Oral presentation (note: students whose attendance is less than 75% with no mitigating circumstances will not be allowed to present before their peers in class and may instead be permitted to present before the lecturer alone).

Essay

10-15 min

 

 

 

 

 

 

4000 words

25%

 

 

 

 

 

 

75%

 

Feedback methods

  • oral feedback
  • written feedback on essay
  • additional one-to-one feedback (during the consultation hour)

Recommended reading

  1. Ram, Uri, The Changing Agenda of Israeli Sociology: Theory, Ideology and Identity (New York: State University of New York Press, 1995);
  2. Lissak, Moshe, ''Critical' Sociology and 'Establishment' Sociology in the Israeli Academic Community: Ideological Struggles or Academic Discourse?' Israel Studies, 1.1 (1996), pp. 247-294;
  3. Shapira, Anita, 'Politics and Collective Memory: the Debate Over the 'New Historians' in Israel' History and Memory, 7 (1) (Spring 1995), pp. 9-40;
  4. Pappe, Ilan, 'Humanizing the Text: Israeli 'New History' and the Trajectory of the 1948 Historiography' Radical History Review (Spring 2003), pp. 102-22;
  5. Smooha, Sammy, 'The model of ethnic democracy: Israel as a Jewish and Democratic State' Nations and Nationalism, 8 (4) (2002), pp. 475-503;
  6. Ghanem, A., Rouhana, N. and Yiftachel, O., 'Questioning 'Ethnic Democracy': A Response to Sammy Smooha' Israel Studies, 3(2) (1998), pp. 253-67;
  7. Gavison, Ruth, 'The Jews' Right to Statehood: A Defense' Azure (Summer 5763/2003), No. 15;
  8. Bligh, A., Karsh, E. and Karsh, I., 'Special Issue 'The Israeli Palestinians: An Arab Minority in the Jewish State'' Israel Affairs, 9(1-2) (2003).

 

Detailed reading list shall be handed in Week 1.

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 22
Seminars 11
Independent study hours
Independent study 167

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Moshe Behar Unit coordinator

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