Junior Seminar: Israel: Society and Politics

Fall 2023
Wed 12-2pm
Course Description

This class seeks to guide students in researching, organizing, writing, reviewing and rewriting an original research paper of publishable quality and length (approximately 25 pages long).  Students will be encouraged to explore on their own any issue relating to Israeli politics and society that strikes them as compelling: party politics, ethnic cleavages, demographics, religion-state relations, constitution and law, art and culture, industry and trade, gender, race, and class, education, etc. 

The secondary goal of this class is to explore key issues in Israeli politics and society.  Lectures dedicated to the craft of research and writing will be interspersed with lectures about theoretical and empirical issues relating to the history and contemporary politics of Israel.  We will discuss the formation of the state, its geography and history, its political system, and its demographics.  Several sessions will be dedicated to Israel’s social and political challenges, to economic opportunities and obstacles, to U.S.-Israel relations, and to the relationship between anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism.  The Arab-Israeli conflict is not a focus of this class (it is a focus of another class of mine, PS124B, “War in the Middle East”) but students are free to address topics of international and national security in their papers for this class if they wish.

Subfield:  Either International Relations or Comparative Politics.


Interested students should submit a 300-word proposal for a research topic related to Israel's society or politics that they would like to investigate over the course of the semester.  The proposal should not include sources or references.  It should list a clear puzzle and one or more hypotheses.  Please send the proposal, and only the proposal, via email to Prof. Hassner at no later than April 17th.  Please use "Israel Research Proposal" as the subject of your email.  Decisions will be made before the end of Phase 1.


Political Science Majors of Junior or Senior Status. 

Completion of PS 124A.