History 402A (101) Problems in International Relations: History of the Israel-Palestine Crisis
The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: History, Culture, Politics
This course investigates one of the most controversial and misunderstood disputes in the world: The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. At one level, the course adopts the classic approach of presenting the major historical and political developments from the late 19th century up until the present-day, laying bare a tragic succession of wars, diplomatic settlements, external interventions and human rights violations. Students will grapple with contentious issues such as state and grassroots terrorism, settlement construction, the one state vs two solutions, and the Jewish vs democratic state debates, among many others. At another level, however, the course will zoom in at times to investigate popular culture and everyday life, using such instances to understand the effect of the conflict on Arab and Jewish populations and its manifestation in their art and literature. Perhaps most importantly, we will use the occasion of the everyday to dismantle popular stereotypes of, for example, ancient religious feuds, eternal divisions, and the impossibility of peace. Finally, throughout the course, we will examine attempts by Israeli, Palestinian and foreign groups and individuals to, at turns, silence, embolden, and broadly sway global opinions on the conflict. As regards this 'war of the narratives', we will focus in particular on politicians, academics and students, and the pressures and intimidation they face when grappling with this divisive issue.