Academic Courses

Faculty at Brandeis teach a range of courses on Israel studies across several Brandeis departments. See details below or click here for information from the Registrar's page.

* All Israel Studies courses are offered via Brandeis departments and programs; the Schusterman Center for Israel Studies is not a degree-granting program.

Fall 2015

Israel Studies

FA/NEJS 183A — Breaking Boundaries in Contemporary Israeli Art
Instructors: Gannit Ankori and Ilana Szobel
Explores how the Creative Arts reflect, challenge, and reconfigure various cleavages and barriers that characterize contemporary Israeli society. This course will focus on literary, visual and cinematic artworks, organized around thematic clusters and major theoretical issues. [T, R 2:00 - 3:20 PM]

HIST 114A — Israel's Foreign Policy
Instructor: Uri Bialer
Presents the historical contexts of Israel's diplomacy, including strategies for gaining regional and international recognition, increasing immigration, and acquiring arms, aid, oil, and water. This course will chart Israel's relations with the super powers, the European Community, and Arab and Afro-Asian States. [T, R 3:30-4:50 PM]

HRNS 350A — Myra Kraft Seminar in Israel
Instructor: Randall S. Geller
An intensive examination of contemporary issues in Israeli society and its relationship with Diaspora communities. Course begins with on-campus sessions and culminates in Israel. Required as part of the Hornstein Jewish Professional Leadership Program. [M 12:00-1:50 PM]

NEJS 145B — Ideology and Society in Contemporary Israel: Major Controversies
Instructor: Uri Bialer
Provides advanced students with a comprehensive understanding of several major trends in contemporary Israeli society, by presenting and representing major controversies among scholars of different approaches, paradigms, and disciplines (sociology, political science, law, cultural studies, etc).
[T,R 5:00-6:20 PM]

NEJS 166B — Who is a Jew? Jewish Status and Identity in Israel and America
Instructor: David Ellenson
Highlights the central role the question of “Who is a Jew" occupies in modern Jewish life and consciousness against the backdrops of social-scientific writings on status and identity, the history of conversion to Judaism, and present day Israel-Diaspora relations. [T, R 2:00-3:20 PM]

NEJS 172B — Modern Arab-Jewish Literature
Instructor: Aviv Ben-Or
Investigates the different forms of Arab-Jewish identity as it is expressed in 20th century literature produced by Jewish authors in Israel, focusing on those who have crossed the boundary from Arabic to Hebrew. Special one-time offering, by instructor awarded a University Prize Instructorship.
[M,W 5:00-6:20 PM]

NEJS 178A — Love, Sex, and Power in Israeli Culture
Instructor: Ilana Szobel
Explores questions of romance, gender, marriage, and jealousy in the Israeli context by offering a feminist and psychoanalytic reading of Hebrew texts, works of art, and film. Taught in Hebrew. [T, R 3:30-4:50 PM]

NEJS 192B — Jewish Political Thought
Instructor: Yehudah Mirsky
Explores the political thought of the Jewish people from biblical times to the present. Surveys the different genres in which Jewish thinkers have addressed political questions. Deals with questions of political legitimacy and authority: Who should rule over the Jewish people? (God, kings, priests, prophets, rabbis, lay leaders and the elected leaders of Israel today). Readings include selections from the Bible and Talmud, midrashic literature, legal responsa, treatises, and pamphlets. [M, W 3:30-4:50 PM]

POL 138B — Israeli Politics In Comparative Perspective
Instructor: Liora S. Norwich
Introduces students to the Israeli political system through a comparative lens. We will discuss various issues, such as political and socioeconomic development, cultural diversity, and ethnic conflict, as well as how they are manifested in Israeli democracy.  [M, W, R 12:00-12:50 PM]

UWS 39A — Making New Jews: Zionism and the Construction of Israeli Identity
Instructor: Karen Spira
What is the ideal Jew? What is an Israeli? What should the Jewish State look like? At the turn of the 20th century, there were many visions of the “new Jew” and an autonomous Jewish state. This course will examine the roots of Israeli identity in Zionism and its development through the first decade of statehood. As a University Writing Seminar, it will focus primarily on the development of analytical and writing skills through three critical papers: close reading, lens, and research. [M, W, R 12:00-12:50 PM]

Middle East Studies

ECON 122B — The Economics of the Middle East
Instructor: Nader Habibi
Examines the Middle East economies - past experiences, present situation, and future challenges - drawing on theories, policy formulations and empirical studies of economic growth, trade, poverty, income distribution, labor markets, finance and banking, government reforms, globalization, and Arab-Israeli political economy. [T, R 3;30-4:50 PM]

IMES 105A — War and Revolution in the Middle East
Instructor: Kanan Mohamed Makiya
Considers the impact of war and revolution in the shaping of the modern Middle East starting with the Arab-Israeli war of 1967. Focuses on the violent turning points that have changed the lives of millions of people. [T, R 5:00-6:20 PM]

POL 164A — Conflict and Peacemaking in the Middle East
Instructor: Shai Feldman
Provides students with historical and analytic mastery of the Arab- Israeli conflict in a novel way. Through immersion in three competing narratives - Israeli, Palestinian, and pan-Arab - students will gain proficiency in the history of the conflict as well as analytic leverage on the possibility of its resolution.
[M 2:00-4:50 PM]

Language-based Studies

Advanced Hebrew language courses at Brandeis include an active Israel Studies component, Click here for a listing. Yiddish and Arabic are also a regular part of the language curriculum in the department of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies.

Past and Recurring Courses

For a listing of past and recurring courses with an Israel Studies focus, click here.

Language-based StudiesPast and Recurring Courses