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Conflict Studies

SOU44012/SOU44014 Conflict Studies

This module examines Israel/Palestine, one of the major conflict zones of our time. Israel/Palestine is a paradigmatic example of a long running conflict, and of a modern state which aims to ensure the ongoing dominance of a particular ethnic group. This part of the module examines both the conflict and the reactions of the various parties, taking a critical look at Israeli and Palestinian responses to the conflict. We also examine international interventions in the conflict – both what has motivated the extraordinary international interest in Israel/Palestine on all sides and the effect of this involvement.
The class uses the particular issue of Israel/Palestine to develop an in-depth understanding of a conflict situation, which has general applicability. Key debates that this class engages in concern collective memory, colonisation practices, resistance strategies, the representation of conflict, the use of human rights by parties in conflict situations, and critiques of the role of outside intervention.

Learning Objectives:

  • On successful completion students will:

    • Understand the main issues involved in the Israel/Palestine conflict;
    • Relate this specific instances of conflict to wider theoretical understandings within race and conflict studies;
    • Theorise the roles of normalisation and resistance within conflicts;
    • Critically analyse the role of external involvement and the ‘peace industry’ within a conflict zone;
    • Understand the reasons behind the globalisation of the conflict and relate this to other conflicts.

Lectures & Tutorials/ Contact hours:

One lecture and one tutorial per week.

Workload: Lectures: 22 hrs; Tutorials: 22 hrs; Exams/assignments: 22 hrs; Self-study: 284 hrs. Total: 350 hours.

Recommended Texts/ Key Reading:

  • Gelvin, J. (2013).  The Israel-Palestine Conflict: One Hundred Years of War.
  • Lentin, R. (ed.) (2008) Thinking Palestine. London: Zed.
  • Makdisi, S. (2008) Palestine Inside Out: An Everyday Occupation. New York: W. W. Norton & Company
  • Matar, D. (2010). What it Means to be Palestinian: Stories of Palestinian Peoplehood. I.B. Tauris: London, 2010
  • Milton-Edwards, B. (2009) The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: A People's War. London: Routledge.

Students are also encouraged to read (and view) around the issue. Works of fiction would include The Secret Life of Saeed the Pessoptimist by Emile Habiby, Return to Haifa (and also other stories) by Ghassan Kanafani, the poetry of Mahmoud Darwish and Mourid Barghouti, The Liberated Bride by AB Yehoshua, and To the End of the Land by David Grossman. Other films and programmes include Omar, Bethlehem, The Promise, The Time that Remains, Budrus, Paradise Now, Lemon Tree, Waltz With Bashir, and Miral

Journals and media

  • Journal of Palestine Studies Accessible from Library website
  • Holy Land Studies Accessible from Library website
  • Israel Studies Accessible from Library website
  • Israel Affairs Accessible from Library website
  • The Jerusalem Quarterly Accessible from Library website
  • Middle East Research and Information Project (MERIP) Accessible from Library website
  • Palestine - Israel Journal of Politics, Economics and Culture Accessible from Library website


Coursework (100%)

Penalties for late submission: Without an authorised extension, the mark given will be lowered by one grade