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Elective: Messianism, Zionism, Jewish Religious Radicalism

Vak
2016-2017
  1. Admission requirements

This course is only available for second year students in the BA International Studies.
The number of participants is limited to 25.

Description

Traditionally Jews have been discouraged from trying to bring the Messiah and force the coming of the end of time. However, the rise of political Zionism in the final decades of the 19th c had great influence on Jewish Society worldwide. Some Jews were convinced that the return to Zion and the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948 indeed marked the beginnings of redemption.
This course will focus on religious movements in Judaism and their attitudes towards Zionism and the State of Israel. We will study the justifications – based on traditional texts – for:
• pro- or anti-Zionist positions
• pro-activeness despite the admonishment of traditional texts against this
• West Bank settlement policy and even violence
Additional factors involved are the Ashkenazi-Mizrahi divide (Jews from Western vs. Jews from Arab countries) and the more recent influx of Russian, Ethiopian and Jemenite Jews. For the sake of comparison we will briefly look at non-religiously motivated reasons for expanding West Bank settlements or incorporating the conquered territories.

Additionally, the students will work through W.C. Booth, G.G. Colomb, J.W. Williams, The Craft of Research, third edition, Chicago/London: University of Chicago Press, 2008.

Course objectives

The student will become familiar with various branches of Orthodox Judaism.
The student will understand how traditional texts may be used to defend wholly opposite positions.
The student will learn why the various factions are important for the forming of government coalitions in Israel.
The student will learn how the various factions influence the Israeli government’s position on the settlements and their return.
Academic skills that are trained include:
Oral presentation skills:
1. to explain clear and substantiated research results;
2. to provide an answer to questions concerning (a subject) in the field covered by the course
a. in the form of a clear and well-structured oral presentation;
b. in agreement with the appropriate disciplinary criteria;
c. using up-to-date presentation techniques;
d. aimed at a specific audience;
3. to actively participate in a discussion following the presentation.
Collaboration skills:
1. to be socio-communicative in collaborative situations;
2. to provide and receive constructive criticism, and incorporate justified criticism by revising one’s own position;
3. adhere to agreed schedules and priorities.
Basic research skills, including heuristic skills:
1. to collect and select academic literature using traditional and digital methods and techniques;
2. to analyze and assess this literature with regard to quality and reliability;
3. to formulate on this basis a sound research question;
4. to design under supervision a research plan of limited scope, and implement it using the methods and techniques that are appropriate within the discipline involved;
5. to formulate a substantiated conclusion.
Written presentation skills:
1. to explain clear and substantiated research results;
2. to provide an answer to questions concerning (a subject) in the field covered by the course
a. in the form of a clear and well-structured oral presentation;
b. in agreement with the appropriate disciplinary criteria;
c. using relevant illustration or multimedia techniques;
d. aimed at a specific audience.

Timetable

The timetable is available on the BA International Studies website

Mode of instruction

Seminar and supervised research.

Course Load

Total course load for the course: 10 EC x 28 hours= 280 hours, broken down by:
• Hours spent on attending lectures and seminars: 24 hours
• Time for studying the compulsory literature: 100 hours
• Time for preparing presentations: 24 hours
• Time for writing book review: 52
• Researching and writing final paper: 80 hours

Assessment method

The assessment will be based on the (weighted average of the) following 3 components:
A. Practical exercises
Practical exercise 1: presence and class participation
Practical exercise 2: presentation
Practical exercise 3: outline of final paper

Practical exercises are evaluated as either satisfactory or unsatisfactory and do not count toward the final grade.
N.B. For these exercises no resits are possible. Failure to receive a satisfactory grade for the exercise(s) will mean automatic exclusion from the grade-determining elements.

B. Book review 30%
Students will review Assaf Gavron, The Hilltop. A Novel, trans. S. Cohen (Scribner 2014), comparing fact and fiction based on course reading assignments.

C. Final paper 70%
The endtermpaper needs to be the result of independent work. The topic of the paper needs to be chosen in close consultation with the supervisors. When writing their papers, students should make use of W.C. Booth et al., The Craft of Research (University of Chicago Press 20083).

To complete the final mark, please take notice of the following: the final mark for the course is established by determining the weighted average.

To pass the course, the weighted average has to be 5.5 at least.

Class attendance is compulsory. Students who are absent or attend classes only partially will automatically fail this BA-seminar. The validity of any absence related excuses – to be sent in writing to the instructors – will be assessed by the instructors.
The final mark for the BA-Seminar is established by the weighted average of the grades for the book review and final paper.
In order to pass, the grades received for the questions and final paper must be a minimum of a 5,5 for each component and no less than a 6,0 for the average.
If the either the book review or paper is insufficient, students are allowed to submit one revised version of their paper within 10 days after having received their grades.

Resit

In case of resubmission of the final essay (insufficient grade only) the final grade for the essay will be lowered as a consequence of the longer process of completion. The deadline for resubmission is 10 days after receiving the grade for the final essay.

Blackboard

Blackboard will be used. For tutorial groups: please enroll in blackboard after your enrolment in uSis
Students are requested to register on Blackboard for this course.

Reading list

Aviezer Ravitzky, Messianism, Zionism, and Jewish Religious Radicalism (University of Chicago Press 1996)
Assaf Gavron, The Hilltop. A Novel, trans. S. Cohen (Scribner 2014)
Capita selecta from, among others:
Samuel Hellman and Menachem Friedman, Rebbe. The Life and Afterlife of Menachem Mendel Schnerson (Princeton University Press 2010)
Samuel Heilman, Defenders of the Faith. Inside Ultra-Orthodox Jewry (University of California Press 1992)
Israel Shahk and Norton Mezvinsky, Jewish Fundamentalism in Israel (Pluto Press 2004)
Ian Lustik, For the Land and for the Lord. Jewish Fundamentalism in Israel (The Council on Foreign Relations 1988, available online at sas.upenn.edu)
Ehud Sprinzak, The Ascendance of Israel’s Radical Right (Oxford University Press 1991)
Ehud Sprinzak, Brother Against Brother. Violence and Extremism in Israeli Politics from Altalena to the Rabin Assassination (The Free Press 1999)
Additional articles online available. See weekly schedule on blackboard.
Ravitzky and Gavron should be purchased in advance! Books will be made available on the reserved book shelf of the University Library

W.C. Booth, G.G. Colomb, J.W. Williams, The Craft of Research, third edition, Chicago/London: University of Chicago Press, 2008.

Registration

Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.
General information about uSis is available in English and Dutch

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable

Contact

Prof. Dr. J. Frishman
Drs. S.R. Sabbah-Goldstein

Remarks

The deadline for submission of the final essay is 9 June 2017.

Passing this course is an entry requirement for the thesis and thesis seminar, elective year 3, and Practising Internatonal Studies.