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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Joel S Migdal
NEAR E 150
Seattle Campus

Israel: Dynamic Society and Global Flashpoint

Introduces the people, institutions, and culture of Israel is the context of larger global forces. Examines domestic, regional, and international elements, both historically and in the contemporary period, that have shaped Israel's culture, politics, and special role in world affairs. Topics include nationalism, ethnicity, politics, religion, film, literature, and culture. Offered: jointly with JSIS A 101.

Class description

This course will introduce students to Israel, its people, institutions, social forces, and culture in the comparative and international context of larger global forces. We aim for the course to fulfill two primary goals: 1) teach students about key aspects shaping the international arena through the lens of a single country and 2) introduce students in depth to a country that has been a flashpoint in world affairs for the last half century. In addition this course emphasizes critical reading, writing, and thinking skills.

Student learning goals

1. Students will learn basic analytic techniques in international studies.

2. Students will learn how to dissect texts, both primary and secondary, in international studies, particularly in discerning the argument of the text and the relationship of evidence to the argument.

3. Students will learn how to frame and write a persuasive analytic essay in international studies.

4. Students will master important basic concepts for understanding major forces and changes globally in the late nineteenth century, the twentieth century, and current times. They will also come away with a broad understanding of Israeli society, economy, and politics, as well as its place in the global order.

General method of instruction

Three lectures and two discussion sections per week

Recommended preparation

This is an introductory level class that has no prerequisites. The lectures are designed specifically for students who have no previous coursework in International, Israel, or Jewish studies. In preparation for the course, students are encouraged to pay attention to articles about Israel in the popular press.

Class assignments and grading

Students will be asked to read about 75-100 pages per week. There will also be a small number of optional and required film screenings. Course requirements include two in-class exams, three short response papers, and regular participation in discussion sections.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Additional Information
Last Update by Joel S Migdal
Date: 12/18/2008