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Center for Israel Studies | Courses & Minor

2013-2014 Courses

Courses listed may apply to a minor in Israel Studies

For available class times and additional information, please visit:
AU Registrar Class Schedule.

Spring 2014

Arab-Israeli Relations
(SISU 319)
Dan Arbell, Scholar in Residence, Israel Studies
A survey of Arab-Israeli relations from their origins to the present. Includes an account of Zionism and Palestinian nationalism, the history of the British mandate, the Arab-Israeli wars, the involvement of external powers, and the quest for peace. The emphasis is on conflict resolution. Usually offered every spring.

History of Israel
(HIS 443.001/643.001)
Michael Brenner, Seymour and Lillian Abensohn Chair in Israel Studies

Israel ranks number 97 among independent states in terms of its population and number 143 in terms of its size. Despite its small size and population, Israel attracts more media attention than almost any other state in the world. This class explores why Israel has been in the spotlight of worldwide attention ever since its establishment in 1948. Some of the questions we will ask are: What effect did the Holocaust have on the establishment of Israel? What is the meaning of a Jewish state? How does Israel treat its minorities? We will also examine the impact of the Israeli-Arab conflict on Israeli society and ask what the chances are for a peaceful co-existence in the Middle East. We will follow the contemporary political development in Israel by reading current newspaper articles.

Israeli Identities through Film
(SOC 396, LIT 346 COMM 396)
Dan Chyutin, Schusterman Visiting Israeli Professor

This course will provide a broad overview of Israeli cinema, taking as its focus the various ways through which the filmic medium has portrayed Israel's complex matrix of social identities. Oscillating between considerations of social history and film aesthetics, the different sessions will address the major factors shaping Israeli identity: war and the demands of battlefield heroism; the trauma of the Holocaust; the Mizrahi-Ashkenazi ethnic divide; the Ethiopian and Russian immigration experience; the challenge of Judaism to Israeli secularity; engagements with the Palestinian Other; gender politics; heteronormativity, queer culture, and the threat of "pinkwashing"; kibbutz life and the decline of collectivism; and the effects of globalization on local social practices. Through these discussions, class participants will gain a more comprehensive perspective on Israeli society than is usually offered in mainstream American media, as well as acquire intimate familiarity with certain milestones of Israeli filmmaking, most of which have rarely been screened outside of Israel's national borders.

IBUS 244: International Dimensions in Management:
Erran Carmel, KSB Professor of Information Technology
This course provides students the opportunity to experience the management practices and business environments in international and foreign organizations. This spring students will visit Israel and Palestine. The program begins with four class meetings during the first half of Spring 2013 semester to learn about the Israeli business environment and set the stage for the course. The class dates are: Wednesday evenings, February 5, 12, 19 and 26 from 8:10—10:40 p.m. During spring break, students will travel to Israel. The week will consist of a series of meetings with senior managers and company tours of both local and multinational companies across various industry sectors, engaged in interactive follow-up discussions to analyze the state of economic development in the region. The course enables students to fuse classroom learning with actual techniques used to compete in the global marketplace. You'll also be able to experience the incredible historic and cultural attractions of the cities of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.

Negotiating Israeli-Palestinian Peace
(SISU 415)
Guy Ziv, Assistant Professor, SIS (U.S. Foreign Policy Program)

This senior capstone course (Middle East) provides students with a deeper understanding of the problems that have confounded the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, in particular the "final status" issues: borders, Jerusalem, refugees, and security. Students focus on the contested narratives; the relevant political actors; and the key international, regional, and internal events that have shaped the dispute. As well, previous rounds of negotiations are reviewed in order to analyze what went wrong. Students then partake in a simulation in which they attempt to constructively address the final status issues as well as other sticking points, such as settlements and terrorism, in Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking.


Fall 2013

Israeli Society
(SOCY 340.001, meets with SISU 365-003)

Moran Stern, Adjunct Instructor

This course explores the emergence of Israeli society and its changes over time. It reviews Israel's ideological and political foundations, the centrality of immigration, the emergence of Arab minorities and Jewish ethnic divisions, and assesses political, economic, religious, and family patterns within the broader Jewish and Palestinian communities. Meets with SISU 365-003.

Politics & Public Policy in Israel
(GOVT 432.003, meets with SISU 475-005)

Dan Arbell, Scholar-in-Residence in Israel Studies

Israel's parliamentary democracy is a mosaic in which ethnic, class, religious, nationalist and migration considerations play a dynamic part in the intricacies of the political system. The course is divided into two main sections: (1) An overview of the geopolitical history of Israel and the Arab-Israeli conflict from the pre-state era until today; (2) An introduction to the principles that guide Israel's political system and the cleavages in Israeli society which greatly affect developments and trends in politics and policy. Meets with SISU 475-005.

U.S./Israel Relations
(SISU 330 004)

Guy Ziv, Assistant Professor, School of International Service

This course explores the evolution of U.S. relations with Israel, from the establishment of the Jewish state in 1948 to the present day. It will examine key milestones in U.S.-Israel relations, and the factors which have led to the formation of a wholly unique bilateral relationship characterized at once by both tight bonds and inherent tensions.

Zionism and the Establishment of Israel
(HIST 496.001/696.001)

Michael Brenner, Seymour and Lillian Abensohn Chair in Israel Studies
This course considers the evolution of Zionism in Europe as a national political movement, its various expressions, and the road to the establishment of the State of Israel. Meets with HIST-696 001.

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Israel Studies Minor

AU's undergraduate minor in Israel Studies is one of the premier programs of its kind in the United States. Its focus is on Israel's history, unique political democracy, multicultural society, economic development, immigrant absorption, and international contributions in the arts, business, technology, sciences, and letters. Courses are offered in numerous areas including sociology, Jewish studies, history, and the School of International Service. Another feature of the minor is its seamless connection with study abroad in Israel. AU students are encouraged to study in Israel and receive credits toward the Israel Studies minor. The Center for Israel Studies complements the minor by hosting conferences and events to further educate individuals about Israel and Israel's contributions to the world.

For additional information, please see the Israel Studies Minor Requirements in the Jewish Studies website. You may also contact Dr. Michael Brenner, Abensohn Chair of Israel Studies, 202-885-2752,; or Laura Cutler, Managing Director, 202-885-3780,