15 Credits SPRING

Aims/Description: The establishment of the State of Israel in May 1948 was a central event in the forging of twentieth-century geopolitics. Partially as a result of this perceived importance, historiography has tended to regard the decades leading up to 1948 as merely the prehistory to Jewish statehood. In reality, as Zygmunt Bauman observes, 'there were few, if any straight roads in modern Jewish history.' The same can be said about Arab political movements. This module seeks to expand our understanding of both modern Jewish and Arab nationalism as competing sets of political narratives. In doing so, we will critically examine the dominant mono-directional paradigm that ties both these narratives to one single event: the birth of the State of Israel. We will highlight the parallel paths that preceded the establishment of the Jewish State and the birth of the Palestinian refugee crisis. By contrast, in this module we will widen the scope of our understanding of Jewish and Arab nationalisms by including not just state-centred national movements (Zionism and Palestinian statist nationalism) but also broader Jewish and Arab 'political behaviour'; in other words, the political roads that were eventually not taken. Shifting our gaze to both Europe and the Middle East, we ask: who were the Jews and how were they politically active before the Holocaust? Who were the Arabs and how were their political identities shaped in the Age of Nationalism? Which alternatives existed to the 'nation-state' in the minds of contemporary Jewish and Arab political actors? And how did these various national ideologies meet on the way to 1948?

Staff Contact: ALMAGOR LAURA
Teaching Methods: Seminars, Tutorials, Independent Study
Assessment: Course work

Information on the department responsible for this unit (History):

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Teaching methods and assessment displayed on this page are indicative for 2021-22. Students will be informed by the academic department of any changes made necessary by the ongoing pandemic.

Western Bank, Sheffield, S10 2TN, UK