Conflict and Change in the Middle East
This course examines the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which many scholars now call ‘the 100 Years War.' Beginning with the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, this course traces the origin of the conflict from the early encounters between Arabs and Jews in Palestine to the contemporary struggle to achieve a final status agreement between Israelis and Palestinians. We will begin the course in Amman, with readings, documentaries, and lectures, as well as interactions with local Jordanians and Palestinians regarding of their experiences and perspectives on the conflict. We will continue the course during a travel component to Israel/Palestine, where we will hear from a variety of speakers who have experienced the conflict firsthand, including academic experts and local professionals working towards a reconciliatory solution. In addition, students will have homestays with both Palestinian and Jewish Israeli families, giving further opportunity to put a "personal face" on the conflict by getting to know ordinary people on both sides. Because the conflict and its consequences - human, geographic, social, cultural, and political - are so proximate to the MESP experience, students learn intimately the complexity and difficulty of reaching peace in a small land shared by two peoples with competing civilizational visions.