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Courses

Course List for 2014-2015

Fall Semester
SemesterA

Religion, Science and Politics in the Cartography of Israel from the Middle Ages to Our Time
Dr.  Zur Shalev
Today we appreciate historic maps of the Holy Land mainly for their decorative and sentimental value. It is hard to imagine what an incredible amount of intellectual effort and creativity went into the production of these images, and even harder to reconstruct the precise cultural, political, and religious contexts into which they were born. Profiting from new methodological approaches to cartography and visual culture, and closely studying particular objects, students will be able to better interpret maps as historical documents. On this basis we shall also look at more recent mapping projects in the region and attempt to evaluate their contemporary aims and meaning. 


The Holocaust and the Israeli Society
Dr. Ronit Fisher
Throughout the last decades the historical chapter of the Holocaust has become more meaningful within the Israeli society: Its presence has intensified in many creative forms of art, literature, music, cinema etc. Basic concepts and historical facts of the Holocaust are being taught not only in the academic and educational spheres, but also in the army, in the police forces, in economic and industrial organizations etc., and thousands of them also take part in the "Trips to Poland" each year. The main goal of this course is to maintain a deeper understanding of the historical concepts of the Holocaust in Europe and their on-growing influence on the cultural shapes of Israeli society and its relevancy for our global society. The course will pay special attention to these issues: Nazi Germany – Race laws and terroristic anti-Semitic activities; The Jewish reactions and re-organization during World War II; The Allies roll – UK,  USA, USSR; The roll of the Jewish organizations in Palestine; The Holocaust survivors and the Israelis – since 1945- until the end of the 20th Century; The influence of the Holocaust on  Israeli society ( in deferent spheres, such as: cultural, educational, military and industrial);Dealing with Holocaust denial. The course will also include: trips to museums and historical sites/ monuments in Israel (such as Ghetto fighter's house, Yad Vashem; Meetings with Holocaust survivors; Meetings with Israeli artists and creators – from deferent groups of the Israeli society (including from Kibbutz's and from Druze villages) 


The Zionist Ideology
Dr. Esther Carmel-Hakim
Zionism is one of the most fascinating political-cultural projects of the twentieth century. Zionist ideology revolutionized not only the lives of individuals, but also the collective life of the Jewish people. It was able to create a modern national identity and finally a nation state. This course focuses on the history of the Zionist movement from its inception in the mid-nineteenth century until the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948. We will discuss the European origins of the movement, while situating early Zionist thought within the context of European nationalism, and as one of numerous Jewish political responses to rising anti-Semitism. We will read and analyze texts of proto-Zionists such as Judah Alkalai, Zvi Hirsch Kalisher, Moses Hess, Emma Lazarus and Yehudah Leib Pinsker, and of Zionist thinkers: Eliezer Ben Yehuda, Theodor  Herzl, Abraham Isaac Kook,  Henrietta Szold, Nachman Syrkin, Chaim Weizmann, Ze'ev Zabotinsky, Ber Borochov, Rachel Katzenelson Shazar, David Ben Gurion and others. We will examine the various approaches which those thinkers proposed to implement in the land of Israel, and examine the role of women in the movement.


 A Social History of Palestinian Society, 1900-1948
Dr. Na'ama Ben-Ze'ev
Social history is interested in daily life, in the diverse social strata and their interrelations.  It studies mainly the life and experience of common people, the “subaltern” – those, who did not belong to the political, military or economic elites, and who left little, if any documentation of their lives. The course will deal with the main social developments experienced by Palestinian society from the last phase of the Ottoman reforms, through the British Mandate to the 1948 war and the Nakba. The discussion will focus on such themes as migration and urbanization, the life of workers and the emergence of labor unions, the crisis of agriculture, land dispossession, aspects of law and legislation, the expansion of education and literacy, women activity in the public sphere, the emergence of a popular national movement, and the rebellion of 1936-1939. The course will also address the problem of limited documentation on Palestinian social history and refer to the sources that are nonetheless available.


1948 War - Field Course
Dr. Nimrod Ha'giladi
Field Trip (three days two night) + three frontal lectures in the fall semester
In many aspects, the 1948 War, the first Arab-Israeli War, is the source of the Arab – Israeli conflict.  Thus in order to understand the Arab – Israeli conflict, it is essential to study the 1948 War. The 1948 war still provokes multi-dimensional debates, both in the academic and public circles. In the Palestinian and Arab collective memory, the war is engraved as the Nakba – the catastrophe, while Israel celebrates it as its day of Independence. For both it is a formative event of their history. This course examines the dynamics of the 1948 war, and how the struggle rose from the local perspective, a conflict between the neighboring residents of Palestine: Jews and Arabs, to a wide-ranging clash between Israel and the Arab World. This course presents the various characteristics of the war: military aspects like decisive moments and crisis, as well as civilian ones – the origins of the Palestinian refugee problem, the funding of the war and the home front activities.This course is based on a three days field study (and two nights away from home) and three sessions in the classroom, preliminary the field study. Analyzing primary and secondary sources, we will review social, economic, military and political issues which influenced the development of 1948 War. The field tour purpose is to understand the conditions of 1948 War unmediated, learning the local situation and its impact of 1948 War and vice versa. We will have the opportunity to visit the actual sites in which the main events took place, learning the War in the battlefields and experience the challenges of Arab and Jewish civilian population in the War. We will tour some main points of interest of 1948 War, among others: 1948 Haifa, the northern border, mandatory fortress, the road to Jerusalem and the city (including Jerusalem old city), the southern front, and museums engaged in the War. Accommodation will be in motels near the battles zones. *This course consists of three frontal lectures and three days in the field. Field study dates, Feb 23-25.


Spring Semester

SemesterB.2Modern Israeli Society
Prof. Oz Almog
The Israeli society is a variegated mosaic of subcultures. It was created by immigrants from about 100 different countries and their descendants.  It also encompasses non Jews who are predominantly Palestinian Arabs.  The state of Israel recently celebrated its 60th anniversary, yet the seven million Israelis who make up the society are not a monolith. They differ more than ever in patterns of taste, tradition, and behavior, as evidenced by each group’s language, clothing, food, housing, music a nd education. This multiculturalism has produced a colorful and vibrant society which allows for an ongoing interchange of social products and lifestyles. It also generates tensions and conflicts.The course will provide a comprehensive introduction to contemporary Israeli society and a sociological assessment of its future. *This course consists of three frontal lectures and three days in the field.


Israel Stories: Page, Stage, and Screen
Dr. Miryam Sivan
Stories both reflect and mold our world. And all cultures tell stories to themselves and to others because all people tell stories. Narrative is a fundamental human cognitive ability that enables us to process and make meaning from what we see and experience around us. Within its storylines and frames, we move from the concrete to the abstract, weaving together what is seen, what imagined, what feared, desired, what is difficult to comprehend. Whether meant to be read alone, read aloud, performed or watched on stage or screen, stories function as an entertaining and educative means of introducing people to the beliefs, practices, politics, and mores of a group of people. Stories are windows that allow us to peer into, to move into contact with a particular society.  In this course, we will read and watch contemporary stories by Israeli Jewish and Arab writers and film directors. This will allow a more nuanced and multifaceted understanding of Israel's complex history of identity, place, community, and landscape -- and its continual metamorphosis through time. We will read poems, stories, plays, and novels, we will watch films. All these stories will provide us with an opportunity to not only examine literary, aesthetic, and cinematic qualities, but as importantly, will help us gain insight into the contemporary cultural and political contexts in which these works have been created.


Modern Polish-Jewish History and Culture
Dr. Daniel Rosenthal
The horrors of the Shoah (Holocaust) have understandably clouded the cultural and socio-political achievements of Jews in the Polish lands both before and after the Second World War. This course surveys the development of the Jewish people and Jewish culture in Poland from the end of the Napoleonic Wars through the present. Jews and Poles share a long turbulent history, though their relationship is difficult to classify having weathered periods of both intense animosity and fraternity. Within this environment where toleration was long de rigueur, Jews were able to develop socially, culturally, and politically. We will look in particular at the development of Yiddish literature and yiddish and Hebrew-language political activism in Poland during the early twentieth century. We will of course consider the impact of the World Wars on this population, but a particular focus will be the efforts to revive Jewish life in Poland the wake of the Shoah. Readings will include many selections from the vast body of literature produced by this population. The course will end by having students consider the recent revival of Jewish culture in Poland and the significance of such efforts for Poland and for Jews around the world. 


The Arab-Israeli Conflict: History and Diplomacy
Prof. Zach Levy
This course deals with the Arab-Israeli conflict in both historical and contemporary terms. The first part of the course deals with the growing clash between the Zionist Yishuv and Arabs of Palestine, examining its transformation into long-term confrontation between Israel and the Arab states. We will begin by examining the roots of Arab and Jewish nationalism, rival claims to Palestine, diplomatic contacts and agreements, and the rise of conflict during the British Mandate period. The second and main part of this course covers the years 1947-1987, analyzing the causes and effects of six wars between Israel and the Arab states; 1948, 1956, 1967, 1969-70, 1973, and 1982. Emphasis is on regional and global factors, such as inter-Arab rivalry and the Cold War, but includes an examination of the Israeli-Egyptian peace agreement in 1979 and other efforts at diplomacy. The third part begins with the Palestinian intifada of 1987-1993 and 1993 Oslo Accords. The course concludes with an examination of the conflict since the mid-1990s; topics included in the last meetings are Arab-Israeli diplomacy in the 1990s and 2000s, Hizballah and the 2006 war, and the rise of Hamas. Class time will on occasion also be devoted to discussion of current events, especially when items in the news warrant attention.


Summer Semester

SemesterC
Crusader Castles and Battle Site (Field trips)
Prof. Adrian Boas
In the twelfth and thirteenth centuries the Crusaders settled in the Latin East, a Christian minority surrounded by Islamic States and ruling over a Muslim population which greatly outnumbered them. As a result, throughout the period they faced frequent invasions, sieges and field battles. In this course we will examine some of the major battle and siege sites and the fortresses that the Frankish population built to defend themselves. The first day will be a full day of study at the University of Haifa, examining topics such as the Crusader armies, the Military Orders, battle tactics and strategy, siege techniques, castles and defences. This will be followed by four full days of field trips:
Monday - Vadum Iacob (Metzad Ateret), Hunin (Margaliot), Subeibe (Qal'at Nimrod)
Tuesday - Horns of Hattin, Beisan (Beth Shean), Belvoir
Wednesday – Montfort
Thursday - Destroit (opposite 'Atlit), Le Toron de Chevaliers (Latrun), Belmont,  Walls of Jerusalem.


Jewish Artists and the Stories of America
Dr. Miryam Sivan
From Emma Lazarus's 1883 poem, "The New Colossus" at the base of the Statue of Liberty, to Philip Roth, considered by many as America's best current contender for the Nobel Prize, from the Eastern-European immigrants who founded Hollywood and propagated their version of the American Dream, to Bob Dylan, vociferous prophet-poet of his generation, the Jewish minority in America has had a leading, influencing hand in the creation of America's cultural products. In this course we are going to read literature and we are going to watch films that both tell the story of American Jewry and the story of America as interpreted by these Jewish artists who, among many other achievements,  helped establish the prototypical 'minority voice' in the arts. This paradigm, which has become especially resonant in a land of many immigrants, has also become one of America's global exports as seen today in art produced around the world. Similarly, the work of America-Jewish artists often expressed the tension between retention of one's ethnic and/or religious identity, and assimilation into the majority culture. They were pivotal in expressing on the stage, page, and screen the varied shades of America: its idealization and its critique. The 'New World' became theirs to portray and write through their experience. For more than one hundred years, American Jews have clung to, loved, and lauded the land that speaks to and for the "tired, …poor, …huddled masses of the world yearning to breathe free."