Faculty-Led Summer: History, Politics, and Society in Israel

Assistant Professor Rami Zeedan will offer a faculty-led tour of Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Haifa & Kinneret

Program Overview: This new summer program is a two - three-week experience that focuses on Israel's history, politics, and society. Through intense academic exploration, co-curricular activities, and excursions, participants will investigate modern Israel from a comparative perspective. This program will present Israel's multicultural present while providing a global perspective on the Middle-East, as well as Jewish life, and Jewish-Arab relations. Explore the cultural richness, history, and beauty of Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Haifa and Kinneret.

Students can choose to enroll in only the first course, or in both courses:

Modern Israel: History, Politics, and Society in Contexts (3ch)
Dates TBD
Click here to read a description of the course
The course examines the development of Israeli society and politics from 1948 until today. We will discuss many aspects regarding the evolution of modern Israel. Topics will include: mass immigration; relations between Arabs and Jews, between Mizrahi and Ashkenazi Jews, and between secular and religious communities; relations between Israel and diaspora Jewish communities; government and political parties; the rolel of the army in the Israeli society; wars vs peace talks; the israeli economy; technology and the "start-up nation." The course examines political issues in dispute, such as the settlements in the West-Bank, inrelations with Arab countries, and the peace process with the Palestinians. The course will conclude with a discussion of current issues in Israel, which by nature will be different from year to year.

Co-curricular events and excursions, as well as local visiting speakers, will complement the academic program and introduce many of the social cleaveages of Israel including Jews, Christians, Muslims, and Druze. Excursions will be in many Israeli cities/towns, such as Haifa, Jerusalem, Nazareth, Tel-Aviv, Jaffa, Daliyat al-Karmel, and Isfiya.

Applied Research Methods in Israel Studies (3ch)
Dates TBD
Click here to read a description of the course
The course will provide students on state of the art approaches and methods of social sciences and humanities in research in the field of Israel Studies from various disciplinary perspectives. Students will be introduced to different topics, sites, and sources that can be subject to their field research such as archives, libraries, and galleries. Students will learn the methods and experience them on the field through assignments. Students will have the time to start conducting their own field research while having the ability to discuss on-site difficulties with the instructor. Such field research may be conducted towards undergraduate research paper or a graduate thesis research.

Every other year, students will have the opportunity to participate in the AIS annual conference (the Association for Israel Studies conference gathers 300-400 scholars each year) as part of the program.


Detailed program information can be found by visiting: 

KU Study Abroad's page for the Modern Israel study abroad program

Examine and explore the complexities of Israel's history, politics and society!

Jewish Studies Program statement in solidarity with protests against police brutality

Beloved community,

As an academic program in the University of Kansas, we stand in solidarity with Black Americans -- including Black Jewish people -- and everyone hurting after the senseless, brutal murder of George Floyd and all people targeted by systemic racism and injustice in our country. We continue to be committed to our core values of diversity, equity, and inclusion. This morning, the Association for Jewish Studies sent out an email reminding us that as scholars of Jewish Studies, we are keenly aware of the devastating impact of discrimination and violence against minority groups. Dr. Cécile Accilien, the Chair of the KU Department of African and African-American studies, shared with us the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”

The Jewish Studies academic community is rich and diverse – it includes scholars and students who are Jewish and non-Jewish, scholars and students of all ethnic and racial backgrounds and from multiple denominations and creeds, people who are immigrants (like myself) and those who are American-born. The Bible commands: צֶ֥דֶק צֶ֖דֶק תִּרְדֹּ֑ף tzedek tzedek tirdof, which translates into English as “Only justice shall you pursue” (Deuteronomy 16:20). In this well-cited verse, the Hebrew word tzedek, or justice, repeats twice. There can be many explanations of the repetition – textual interpretation in all its many forms is a beloved pursuit for many of us. Today, I am going to give you my own interpretation -- though I am sure that it already exists somewhere in the treasury of Jewish exegesis. One tzedek, or justice, you must pursue for yourself and for people like you; that is, perhaps, the justice that is easiest to understand, because we keenly feel injustices committed against ourselves and people like us. The other tzedek is the justice you must pursue for the sake of people who are not like you. It is often a harder lesson, but a necessary one. The justice, or tzedek, which we pursue thus also becomes a gift of chesed, of lovingkindness that enriches all of us.


In solidarity,

Dr. Renee Perelmutter,

Director of the Jewish Studies Program

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