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Indiana University Bloomington
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Course Description

Israel: History, Society, Culture (3 cr)
Emma Gashinksy
JSTU-J 254 (12632)  / HIST-C 230 (33107)
TR 11:15-12:30 (RA B111-Spruce Hall)
GenEd S&H; GenEd WC; CASE S&H; CASE GCC; Credit given for only one of J254 or HIST-C 230

This class offers a multidisciplinary introduction to the unique history of the state of Israel and pre-state Israel, with a particular focus on the topic of identity politics. Based on readings in recent scholarship in Israel studies, lessons will analyze the way major historical events namely the foundation of the state, mass immigration, social stratification, political tension and regional wars are reflected and represented in local culture over the last century, mainly in cinema, visual art and popular culture. The course aims at developing both observation skills and a critical analysis of socio-political phenomena in Israeli culture and communications, by revealing the ways through which local culture not only reflects but also actively shapes the evolving national ideology.

A central topic throughout this class is the growing emphasis in current local culture on the inner tensions between various conflicting groups which comprise current Israeli society; Israelis and Palestinians, Israeli Jews and Israeli Arabs, secularism versus Orthodoxy and conservative stances as well as their implications on issues of gender and LGBT rights, and minorities and refugees living in Israel. Concurrently, a central topic will be the image of the Zionist "new Jew" which was constructed upon the negation of the Diaspora Jew, and the collapse of a cohesive national identity, at the backdrop of the socio-political crisis during the 1970s, that paved the way to a much more complex and stratified self-articulation in current Israeli society.

Required Textbook: Anita Shapira, Israel: A History, Waltham, Mass.: Brandeis University Press, 2012.

Image:  Philip Rantzer, "The Day Daddy met Mommy," 1999, Mixed media and sound, 170x300x300 cm.