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Center for Israel Studies | Courses & Minor

2015-2016 Courses

Courses listed may apply to a minor in Israel Studies
AU Registrar Class Schedule.


Spring 2016

Arab-Israeli Relations (3)
(SISU 319)
T 8:55 AM-11:35 AM
Boaz Atzili, Associate Professor, School of International Service
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. May be taken A-F only. Prerequisite: SISU-206 and SISU-210.


Israeli Foreign Policy 1948-2016
(SISU 330)
W 11:45 AM-2:25 PM
Dan Arbell, Scholar-in-Residence in Israel Studies
Israeli foreign policy (FP) is at a crossroads as the world is witnessing a realignment of the great powers (US, China, and Russia), while the political landscape of the Middle East is rapidly changing. Israeli FP needs to adapt to the new global and regional realities as it faces its strategic challenges. This course will review the history and evolution of Israel's FP, will examine the principles that have governed FP in times of war and times of peace, and will analyze FP challenges facing Israel at present, globally, regionally, and bilaterally. The course will analyze major trends and developments in Israel's relations with not only its neighbors, but the European Union, Eastern Mediterranean nations, the United Nations, Russia and the former Soviet Bloc, East Asia with an emphasis on China and India, Africa and Latin America, and how Israeli diplomacy copes with the changes and in an effort to advance Israel's strategic goals. Pre-requisites: SISU 206 and SISU 230 (May be waived for non-SIS students in Israel Studies)

Israeli Society Through the Arts (3)
(SOCY 396)
W 11:45 AM-2:25 PM
Sinai Peter, Visiting Artist in Residence
This course examines Israeli society and its transformation over time using theater, film, and other artistic media. It reviews Israel's ideological and political foundations, the centrality of immigration, and Jewish ethnic divisions, as well as the place of its Arab minorities. Taught by a renowned Israeli theater director, actor, and screenwriter, the focus will be on the various ways in which artistic media have portrayed Israel's complex matrix of social identities.

Modern Jewish Civilization (3)
(HIST 245)
M/TH 11:45 AM-1:00 PM
Lauren Strauss, Adjunct Professorial Lecturer
This course surveys Jewish responses to the challenges of modernity and examines the creation of new Jewish communities in America and Israel, shifts in Jewish political status, and innovations in Jewish religious and intellectual history such as Zionism and Hasidism.

Negotiating Peace (3)
(SIS 415)
F 2:35 PM-5:15 PM
Guy Ziv, Assistant Professor, School of International Service
This senior capstone 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. Prerequisite: International Studies major and at least 75 credits. 


Fall 2015

History of Israel (3)
(HIST 443.001)
Michael Brenner, Seymour and Lillian Abensohn Chair in Israel Studies
Traces the development of modern political Zionism in nineteenth-century Europe; the historical background leading to the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948; and the history of Israel since then, including patterns of Jewish immigration and its relationship to the Arab world. Meets with HIST-643. Usually offered every fall.




Negotiating Peace (Senior Capstone)(3)
(SISU 415.001)
Guy Ziv, Assistant Professor, School of International Service
This senior capstone 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. Prerequisite: International Studies major and at least 75 credits.

Politics and Public Policy in Israel (3)
(GOVT-432.002)
Dan Arbell, Scholar in Residence, Israel Studies
Israel's parliamentary democracy is a mosaic in which ethnic, class, religious, national and migration considerations play a dynamic part in the intricacies of the political system. This course provides an overview of the geopolitical history of Israel and the Arab-Israeli conflict from the pre-state era until the present, and also 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. Prerequisite: GOVT-130 or GOVT-231 or GOVT-232, and minimum 2.5 GPA.

The Jewish World after 1945 (3)
(History 344.001)
Michael Brenner, Seymour and Lillian Abensohn Chair in Israel Studies
The middle of the twentieth century saw both the greatest catastrophe of the Jewish people, the Holocaust, and the rebirth of a Jewish state after two thousand years. This class looks at the remnants of Jewish life in Europe after the Holocaust, the development of modern American Jewry and the relations between Israel and the Jewish diaspora up to our own time.


U.S. Israel Relations (3)
(SISU-330.002)
Guy Ziv, Assistant Professor, School of International Service
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. Counts also towards Arab Studies major and minor. May be taken A-F only Pre-requisites: SIS 206 and SIS 210 (may be waived for non-SIS students in Israel Studies)
This course explores the evolution of U.S. relations with Israel, from the establishment of the Jewish state in 1948 to the present day. Along the way, it examines key milestones in U.S.-Israel relations, beginning with President Truman's controversial decision to buck the U.S. foreign policy establishment and formally recognize the state of Israel; the wartime American airlift in 1973; the U.S. role in Arab-Israeli peacemaking, from Secretary of State Henry Kissinger's shuttle diplomacy to the two Camp David summits and beyond; and the U.S. role in providing military, economic, and diplomatic aid to the Jewish state. The course analyzes how a combination of sentimental, political, and strategic factors have led to the formation of a wholly unique bilateral relationship; characterized at once by both tight bonds and inherent tensions.Prerequisite: SISU-206 and SISU-230.

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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. You may also contact Dr. Michael Brenner, Abensohn Chair of Israel Studies, 202-885-2752, mbrenner@american.edu; or Laura Cutler, Managing Director, 202-885-3780, cutler@american.edu.