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Transformations of Identity in Modern Israeli Literature


Admission requirements

Admission to the MA Middle Eastern Studies, specialisation Israel Studies or another relevant MA. Students must hold a BA in Israel Studies or have an equivalent level of proficiency in Modern Hebrew (level B2 European Common Framework). Please, contact the student advisor or Dr. H. Neudecker if you are interested in taking this course, but NOT a student of one of the above-mentioned MA programmes and/or if you are not sure whether your level of Hebrew is sufficient.


This course will consider literary creations reflecting the realities of contemporary Israeli society in all its diversity. The purpose of this course is to familiarize students with developments in Israeli society and identity over the years. In the (almost) seventy fifty years since the founding of the State, Israeli society has faced a series of dramatic challenges and has undergone tremendous changes. Major themes such as responses to founding ideologies, the impact of the Arab-Israeli conflict, Jewish perceptions of Arabs, efforts to absorb new immigrants and to deal with questions of ethnicity, tensions between the religious and secular sectors of society will be discussed, and the way they are reflected in literary works.

Course objectives

The purpose of this course is to familiarize students with the rich body of modern Hebrew literature and with the complexity of Israeli society and identity reflected in it.


See Timetable.

Mode of instruction


Attendance and active participation to discussions are obligatory. As this course is a graduate seminar, it can only succeed if students take an active part in the weekly discussions. Students are expected to carefully read and think about the assigned readings (Blackboard) before coming to class, handing in written assignments, and to participate in discussions. Classes missed for a legitimate reason (to the discretion of the instructor who needs to be informed before the class) will have to be made up for with an extra assignment. Being absent without prior notification can result in a lower grade.

Course Load

10ECTS = 280 hours

  • Regular seminars = 26 hours (2 hours/week x 13 weeks)

  • Reading assignments = 100 hours

  • Individual research case study = 40 hours (including reading and presentation)

  • Writing assignments = 30 hours

  • Term paper (case study, 3000 words) = 84 hours

Assessment method


  • Active participation in the class meetings and discussions

  • Critical analysis of literature and source information, including written assignments

  • Oral presentation of a case study

  • Term paper


  • Active participation in the class meetings and discussions: 20 %

  • Critical analysis of literature and source information, including written assignments: 20 %

  • Oral presentation of a case study: 20 %

  • Term paper (case study, 3000 words): 40 %

The final grade for the course is established by determining the weighted average.


In order to pass the course, students must have completed all assignments to obtain an overall mark of 5.50 (=6) or higher. In case of an overall mark of 5.49 or lower, students can redo all assignments in consultation with the instructor.

The course is an integrated whole. All assignments must be completed in the same academic year. No partial marks can be carried over into following years.

Exam review

If a student requests in writing a review of his/her examination answer script within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will be organized.


Blackboard will be used for all course materials and assignments.

Reading list

To be announced.


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.
General information about uSis is available in English and Dutch. To avoid mistakes and problems, students are strongly advised to register in uSis through the activity number which can be found in the timetable in the column under the heading “Act.nbr.”.

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable

Contact information

Dr. H. Neudecker


Students with disabilities

The university is committed to supporting and accommodating students with disabilities as stated in the university protocol (especially pages 3-5). Students should contact Fenestra Disability Centre at least four weeks before the start of their courses to ensure that all necessary academic accommodations can be made in time conform the abovementioned protocol.

Academic Integrity

Students are expected to be familiar with Leiden University policies on plagiarism and academic integrity. Plagiarism will not be tolerated. If you submit any work with your name affixed to it, it is assumed to be your own work with all sources used properly indicated and documented in the text (with quotations and/or citations).