Modern Palestine: a Historical Introduction
Perpetually in the news and commanding a tremendous amount of scholarly attention, Palestine remains a flashpoint in a number of contemporary debates: about war, colonization, and violence, religious and ethnic identity, nationalism and self-determination, modes of resistance, the role of international institutions, diasporic politics, academic freedom, and American foreign policy, among others. This course offers students an opportunity step back from the headlines to explore the modern history of Palestine, from the late Ottoman period to the present. What, if anything, makes the case of Palestine unique? What was Palestine like before the advent of political Zionism? And why does the contemporary conflict between Jewish Israelis and Palestinians appear so intractable?
Taking up these and other topics, this course will survey the history of modern Palestine by examining four major time periods: from the end of the 19th century to the First World War, when Palestine was an integral part of the Ottoman Empire; the interwar years under British Mandatory rule, during which the Zionist movement attained both international recognition and material strength in Palestine; the war of 1948 to that of 1967, including the mass displacement of Palestinians as a result of the creation of the state of Israel, the extension of Jordanian and Egyptian sovereignty over the West Bank and Gaza, and rise of the PLO; and Palestine under Israeli occupation, including the first and second intifadas, the peace process, the rise of Hamas, and other contemporary issues. Readings will be drawn from a range of disciplines and include work scholars and artists such as Rashid Khalidi, Avi Shlaim, Edward Said, S. Yizhar, Emile Habibi, Mahmoud Darwish, Tom Segev, Benny Morris, James Gelvin, Shira Robinson, Amira Haas, and Anton Shammas.
Course ScheduleWednesday, 6:30-9:30pm EST
October 21 — November 11, 2020