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Multiple Narratives and Cultural Complexities


Israel and Palestine Summer I, 2019

city of haifa in israel with palm trees and clear blue oceans overlooking a cityscape


Explores contemporary Israeli culture through literature and art. Focuses on the tensions, pains, and pleasures of existence from various Israeli points of view. Takes place in Israel during the summer term, offering students an opportunity to meet with contemporary Israeli writers, visit sites of the literary settings, and explore art galleries and museums. Readings include short stories and poetry by major Israeli and Palestinian writers from 1948 through the present. ENGL 2610 and JWSS 2610 are cross-listed.

Introduces students to an Israel rarely seen in the news: Films, art, music, short stories, food, and spiritual movements show Israel from a different point of view and expose students to the questions Israelis ask themselves in order to define their own identity. Modern Israel is a fascinating, vibrant, talented, imperfect nation of people from 100 different countries. Thus, conflicts, tensions and contradictions lie at its heart: Ashkenazi Jews complain the country is too Levantine; Sephardi Jews complain about deprivation; Israeli Arabs complain about their position in the nation; Orthodox Jews say the state is not sufficiently religious; seculars consider it antiquated in nature. Immigrants from Russia and Ethiopia, foreign guest workers, water crises, and the Arab-Israeli conflict also figure in the story.

This dialogue will show you what is beyond the dire headlines surrounding Israel, Palestine, and the conflict. Every day, you will meet local decision makers and activists – some will infuriate you and many will inspire you. You will hike up fortresses overlooking the Dead Sea, have shabbat dinner with a Jewish Orthodox family in Jerusalem, and tour a Palestinian refugee camp in the West Bank. At the end of the dialogue, you’ll walk away with a changed perspective and many new friends.

Marie Schulte-Bockum, International Affairs ’17 (minors: Political Science & History)

This program to Israel and the West Bank offers students a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to take a journey through 3,000 years of history, politics and religion. In the first half of the program (based in Jerusalem), students will receive an introduction to the history and culture of Jerusalem and study exemplary texts by some of the most influential Israeli and Palestinian writers of literature. In the second half of the program (based in Tel Aviv), students will be introduced to the complexity of contemporary Israeli-Palestinian relations through field trips, meetings, and learning about the key issues at stake in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. By visiting major historical and religious sites, West Bank settlements, and Palestinian towns, seeing examples of coexistence, and by listening to the different narratives of Israelis and Palestinians and personally engaging with a wide variety of people and representatives of different backgrounds and views, including Israeli and Palestinian officials, politicians, NGO activists, academics, and residents of disputed areas, students will acquire a broader and deeper understanding of the multifaceted relationship between Israelis and Palestinians, and the impact that the conflict has upon the daily lives of both peoples.