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Teaching the Arab-Israeli Conflict

edited by Rachel S. Harrisintroduction by Jacob Lassner

Israel and Middle East, Jewish Studies, Education

Published: April 2019
ISBN: 9780814346778
Pages: 80 Size: 7 x 10
Illustrations: 5 b&w maps
Published: April 2019
ISBN: 9780814346761
Pages: 80 Size: 7 x 10
Illustrations: 5 b&w maps
Published: April 2019
ISBN: 9780814346785
Pages: 80 Size: EPUB
Illustrations: 5 b&w maps

The Arab-Israeli conflict has become a touchstone of international politics and a flash point on college campuses. And yet, how do faculty teach such a contentious topic in class? Taught not only in international relations, peace and conflict resolution, politics and history, and Israel and Middle Eastern studies courses but also in literature, sociology, urban planning, law, cinema, fine art, and business—the subject guarantees wide interest among students. Faculty are challenged to deal with the subject’s complexity and the sensitive dynamics it creates. The result is anxiety as they approach the task and a need for guidance. Teaching the Arab-Israeli Conflict edited by Rachel S. Harris is the first book designed to meet this need.

Teaching the Arab-Israeli Conflict brings together thirty-nine essays from experienced educators who reflect on the challenges of engaging students in college classrooms. Divided into seven sections, these personal essays cover a broad range of institutional and geographical settings, as well as a wide number of academic disciplines. Some of the topics include using graphic novels and memoirs to wrestle with the complexities of Israel/Palestine, the perils of misreading in the creative writing classroom as border crossing, teaching competing narratives through film, using food to teach the Arab-Israeli conflict, and teaching the subject in the community college classroom. Each essay includes suggestions for class activities, resources, and approaches to effective teaching. Whether planning a new course or searching for new teaching ideas, this collection is an indispensable compendium for anyone teaching the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Rachel S. Harris is associate professor of Israeli literature and culture at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. She is the author of An Ideological Death: Suicide in Israeli Literature and Warriors, Witches, Whores: Women in Israeli Cinema (Wayne State University Press, 2017). She is co-editor of Narratives of Dissent: War in Contemporary Israeli Arts and Culture (Wayne State University Press, 2011) and Casting a Giant Shadow: The Transnational Shaping of Israeli Cinema.

Contributors Include:
Menna Abukhadra, Ari Ariel, Beverly Bailis, Russell A. Berman, Jeffrey Bloodworth, Rachel Feldhay Brenner, Caitlin Carenen, Randy Deshazo, Donna R. Divine, Alan Dowty, Janice W. Fernheimer, Terri Susan Fine, Olga Gershenson, Shiri Goren, Liora R. Halperin, Rachel S. Harris, Peter C. Herman, Susan Jacobowitz, Mya Guarnieri Jaradat, Ellen W. Kaplan, Oren Kroll-Zeldin, P R. Kumaraswamy, Holli Levitsky, Rolin G. Mainuddin, Adia Mendelson-Maoz, Philip Metres, Joel S. Migdal, Husam Mohamad, Cary Nelson, Ranen Omer-Sherman, Ashley Passmore, Randall G. Rogan, Martin Shichtman, Mira Sucharov, Marcela Sulak, Marilyn R. Tayler, Umut Uzer, Shayna Weiss, Amy Weiss

One great virtue of Teaching the Arab-Israeli Conflict is that often the authors express their personal voices and convictions concerning the conflict and the moral dilemmas and struggles this often presents them as each seeks to fulfill her/his obligations within the classroom. This makes for compelling reading completely apart from the material the book provides for those who are designing courses in this area. Because of this feature of the book, I found that many of the essays captivated me in the way that fine literature always does, and I know this gives the book a potential audience far beyond that of the classroom.

– Rabbi David Ellenson, former director, Schusterman Center for Israel Studies at Brandeis University

A rich, wide-ranging, and insightful collection of essays exploring the diverse pedagogical approaches, personal experiences, and political challenges of those who teach courses on the Arab-Israeli conflict in many different academic settings. This book will be an invaluable guide and resource for anyone teaching this often contentious and emotive subject.

– Dov Waxman, professor of political science, international affairs, and Israel studies at Northeastern University and author of The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: What Everyone Needs to Know

Teaching the Arab-Israeli Conflict presents an outstanding addition to the existing literature on the conflict, as it sets an entirely new standard for works of this kind. It contains the most valuable—and comprehensive—material for effective and fair minded instruction of a truly complex subject. It has no equal as regards the depth and range of the collected studies by authors of impeccable scholarly credentials.

– Elie Rekhess, Crown Visiting Professor in Israel studies, Northwestern University

Rachel Harris gives us a fascinating global tour of how the Israel-Palestine conflict is taught at universities around the world. Providing both gripping stories about their classrooms and thoughtful advice for teaching students about the conflict, this book is a superb guide to the pedagogy of a complex conflict.

– Susannah Heschel, Eli Black Professor of Jewish Studies, Dartmouth College

Imagine you are standing in the front of a classroom — not at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion or American Jewish University, but a classroom whose students come from different countries, religions and cultures — and it is your job to teach your students about the modern Middle East. What words do you use when each one is loaded? "Teaching the Arab-Israel Conflict," edited by Rachel S. Harris (Wayne State University Press), a collection of three dozen essays by educators who have been there and done that, offers some highly practical and often equally provocative answers to that question.

– Jonathan Kirsch, Jewish Journal

This book encourages the teaching of courses that will provide the space for students in conflict to encounter each other, to learn and develop their own political positions.

– Aaron Howard, Jewish Herald-Voice

Harris’ publication is perhaps the most delightfully surprising read. Whilst not explicitly aimed at expanding the reader’s historical scope with archival evidence or the prevailing historiography of pro-Israel/pro-Palestinian viewpoints, Teaching the Arab-Israeli Conflict offers something far more useful to the reader: an intellectual space of diversity ever diminishing on North American campuses. Harris thus succeeds in uniting a broad swath of academics, demonstrating that talking past one another is unequivocally detrimental to education and civic discourse—a rare feat in the academic context of Israel-Palestine.

– Ari Blaff, The Tel Aviv Review of Books

Readers of Teaching the Arab- Israeli Conflict, especially those actively involved in curriculum development, will discover abundant evidence of how the conflict can be successfully taught outside the traditional frameworks of international relations, history, or political science. Teachers across many disciplines will benefit from the book’s selected bibliography, annotated filmography, and excellent index— but above all from the creativity, professionalism, and sensitivity shown by so many of the contributors to this outstanding volume.

– Neil Caplan, Studies in Contemporary Jewry