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Israeli-Palestinian course

Writing

Writing is intrinsic to the topic of this course. Whether one looks at the text of an international agreement, such as UN Resolution 242 which took months to negotiate, the prepared statements of leaders, or (if we could get access to them) intelligence reports that top level leaders sometimes read very carefully, part of what frames and drives this issue is the product of extensive deliberation over the wording of texts. Similarly, the most creative ideas for how to defuse the conflict and the most vituperative statements about who the other side really is are likely the result of writing, rewriting, discussion, and more rewriting.

One could readily elicit agreement among prominent Israelis and prominent Palestinians on the importance of writing. One could also find agreement from thoughtful historians in both communities of this conflict that the quest to make a text clear often becomes a journey in better understanding the topics of that text. These people have discovered that as they write Hebrew or Arabic from right to left; through this course, you will have opportunities to rediscover the same thing by writing English from left to right. The course, moreover, seeks to help support you in the process of writing.

In this course you will write short statements that identify the most important points are in a set of readings. In various stages you will develop a paper that poses a question about the topic of the course, using readings assigned in the course and additional readings to analyze that question. You will also have an opportunity a week in advance to develop answers to possible essay questions on the mid-semester test and on the final examination. Finally, there will be group discussion exercises in which groups develop written answers to questions about the topic.