Document Type

Graduate Syllabus


Spring 2014



Course Number

DIPL 6116

Course Description

This course addresses the historical, ideational, and technical dimensions of the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. It examines the issues from all three levels of analysis: the structural level, in which the state is a unitary actor whose decisions are influenced by other states and circumstances; the domestic level, in which the parties and interest groups in power carry significance for the conflict; and at the individual level, in which the attitudes, worldviews, and calculations of individual leaders such as Vasser Arafat, Yitzhak Rabin, and Benjamin Netanyahu have a direct bearing on the course of history. By and large, this course does NOT treat Israel and the Palestinians as monolithic entities; there is diversity within both national movements, and it is therefore risky to paint either side with an exceedingly broad brush.

Self-directed learning is a major component of this course, particularly during the final month, during which students will engage in a simulation of negotiations. The first half of the course will follow a largely traditional formula, with readings, lectures, class discussions, and the viewing of a documentary video series. In the second half of the course, students will be expected to think creatively, to conduct research, and to get "hands on" with the issues.

By the end of the course, students should be able to analytically grasp and convey the complex interests and logic of each national movement and to posit plausible and creative solutions to the stalemate.