Document Type

Graduate Syllabus


Fall 2011



Course Number

DIPL 6116 AA

Course Description

This course is designed to give students extensive knowledge of the historical, political, and cultural dynamics affecting the search for peace between Israel and the Palestinians. This is not a course on diplomatic negotiations that uses the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as a case study. Some knowledge of negotiating-table dynamics will come from this course. However, we seek to place the conflict and its attendant negotiations into a broader context and to richly understand this deeply entrenched conflict. We examine the history of Zionism and the Arab-Israeli conflict writ large, including a look at Israel's relations with the Arab states. As such, the first several weeks of the course approach the topic historically and chronologically. Students are nonetheless expected to don their political science hats during these weeks and provide critical insights that leverage political science theories and themes. Understanding the historical roots and patterns of the conflict is essential to understanding the obstacles to peace today. In the second half of the course, we will take a turn toward liberal and constructivist approaches of political science. This will entail looking inside of the Israeli and Palestinian nations to ascertain how much domestic politics and culture influence the behavior and decisions of Israeli and Palestinian negotiators and leaders. There is a common tendency among lay observers to treat Israeli and Palestinian societies monolithically and to apply simple stereotypes. However, both societies grapple with issues of diversity and national identity which complicate their politics and the search for peace.