Tag Archives: Palestine

Human Rights Hummus: A Podcast Produced by Peace and Conflict Studies Alumni

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Swarthmore Peace and Conflict Studies recent graduates Lily Tyson and Marissa Cohen have already produced three episodes of their new podcast, “Human Rights Hummus: Voices of the Holy Land.”

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Lily and Marissa interview Israelis and Palestinians and record their stories, teaching listeners “what their lives are like and about what is going on with this occupation today, as they experience it.”

Swarthmore College, the Lang Center for Civic & Social Responsibility,  and Prof. Sa’ed Atshan of the Peace and Conflict Studies program all proudly support Lily and Marissa on this project!

Check out their website here.

Israel/Palestine Film Series – Fall 2017

films series poster 2017-2018

Please join us next month for the annual Israel/Palestine Film Series at Swarthmore. There will be screenings for the first six Wednesdays of the semester, and all are free and open to the public (including pizza and refreshments).

All screenings at at 4:15PM in the Lang Performing Arts Center Cinema.

September 6: The Wanted 18

Palestinian stop-motion artist collaborates with filmmakers and activists to document one of the strangest chapters in the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

September 13: Disturbing the Peace

This film reveals the transformational journeys from combatants (both Palestinian and Israeli) committed to armed battle to nonviolent peace activists.

September 20: The Settlers

Israeli filmmaker explores the controversial communities of Israeli settlers occupying the West Bank through a series of interviews.

September 27: Out In The Dark

Israeli filmmaker creates a gay love story between a Palestinian man and his Israeli partner.

October 4: Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem

Israeli filmmaker produces this emotional drama of an Israeli woman fighting for her independence from religious-based marriage laws.

October 11: Speed Sisters

Canadian director and producer illuminates the world of the Palestinian women who comprise the first all-women race car driving team in the Middle East.

 

 

Israel/Palestine Film Series – Fall 2016

The Peace and Conflict Studies program will be organizing another Israel/Palestine Film Series this semester. Screenings are open to the entire community, and we hope you will join us.

Israel/Palestine Film Series

Sponsored by Swarthmore Peace and Conflict Studies

All screenings are on Wednesdays at 4:15pm in the Lang Performing Arts Cinema

September 7: Promises

Israeli filmmaker documents a group of Israeli and Palestinian children meeting for the first time in and around Jerusalem.

September 14: Walk on Water

Israeli filmmaker produces this psychological thriller focusing on the life of one Israeli intelligence officer.

September 21: The Gatekeepers

Israeli filmmaker interviews all six living heads of the Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security service.

September 28: The War Around Us

American filmmaker follows the only two international journalists who covered the 2009 Israel-Hamas War in Gaza.

October 5: Paradise Now

Palestinian filmmaker produces this Academy Award-nominated fiction film examining the final hours before two Palestinian friends prepare to commit acts of violence in Tel Aviv.

October 19: Eyes Wide Open

Israeli filmmaker produces this breathtaking fiction film examining a love affair between two Orthodox Jewish men in Jerusalem.

Dismantling the Ivory Tower: Class Takes Field Trip to Palestine and Israel

by Isabel Knight
This story originally appeared in the Daily Gazette on 16 February 2016.

This past winter break, students in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict class taught by Dr. Sa’ed Atshan ‘06 went on a trip to Israel and Palestine for 10 days. The trip, funded by the Lang Center, the President’s Office, and an anonymous donor, was offered for an optional .5 credits. Of the 24 students in the class, 19 decided to go. Students in the class described the trip as an emotional experience that humanized the conflict after a semester of learning about the conflict from an intellectual standpoint.

Professor Atshan made a point in his class to de-exceptionalize the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Having taught at Harvard and Brown, he regularly brings classes of around 100 students on a trip to Israel and Palestine during spring break. This trip, the Swarthmore group, chaperoned by Religion Professor Yvonne Chireau, spent about half their time with a group from Boston College.

“I guess I expected to see what was there, but I think it really hit me once I actually saw everything, like the separation barrier and how it’s higher than the Berlin Wall,” said Yein Pyo ’16, a member of the class.

Students described scenes of tear gas canisters hung as decoration and entire villages reduced to rubble. One Palestinian woman who organized a weekly protest of the Israeli soldiers took the class into her home and treated them to a home-cooked meal while she showed them footage of her brother being shot in the chest with a tear gas canister and killed.

“Personal narrative was emphasized throughout the trip. We went to a theater company, a man who studied to be a pharmacist and then he started his own theater company. And it focuses on teaching Palestinian children to use an ”I” narrative instead of a “we” narrative, because a lot of times personal stories get clouded by the collective Palestinian narrative,” Killian McGinnis ‘19 said.

Emily Audet ’18 described a scene when the class visited Hebron, Palestine, in which the class was walking in an open-air market in the center of the city. Local Palestinians told them the market was usually bustling, but Israeli settlers had moved into adjacent second-floor apartments and had recently begun throwing trash such as glass and feces out their windows onto the shoppers below, leaving the market deserted.

When asked about the dynamics of teaching such a politically charged topic, Atshan remarked on the importance of creating a safe space that welcomes all points of views. He said he always gets very excited when students in his class volunteer to play devil’s advocate.

“While at Swarthmore, I was a Mellon scholar and a Lang scholar. The Mellon Scholarship is all about becoming good academics so I wear the academic hat, and the Lang scholarship is all about doing good in the world, so I care deeply about research, teaching, scholarship, but also about activism, and engagement in the world. But in my classroom, the classroom space is not about creating activists as much as it is about creating an intellectual environment.”

At the same time, students said they had to strike a balance between that intellectual space and the fact that they were learning about the lives of real people.

“[In class], it can seem very theoretical but to actually talk to the people and carry their stories and to visit the sites puts a very real and human face to the pain and suffering and injustice,” Mosea Esaias Harris ’17 said.

Many students described the trip as one that they will likely never forget, filled with intense emotions and heartfelt stories. It left them thinking about how they had been changed and how they would go about their lives once they returned to Swarthmore.

“It’s really tempting, after you have seen all this, to want to change everything and be the activist and be the voice on campus or in the world, but I was encouraged by the solidarity of my classmates, just knowing that there are little issues within the conflict that you can focus on,” McGinnis said.

Many students expressed a desire for for more trips of this type to be incorporated into humanities and social sciences classes to give them an experiential component, similar to labs in natural science courses. According to Atshan, this type of learning is called “embedded study abroad” and brings vibrancy to the kinds of experiences that humanities and social science students can usually only read or watch videos about.

“Humanization was a huge objective of the trip,” Atshan said. “We are very privileged to be able to sit in the ivory tower and turn people and their struggles and realities into objects of our analysis, and I think it is really important to restore the humanity of those subjects to see them as fellow human beings.”

DG_Israel_Palestine_trip_2015

Witnessing Palestine: Reflections of a Daughter of Holocaust Survivors

Witnessing Palestine: Reflections of a Daughter of Holocaust Survivors

Thursday, November 12, 2015
4:15 PM
Scheuer Room, Kohlberg Hall, Swarthmore College (directions)

Come hear Eve Spangler’s story as a daughter of Jewish Holocaust survivors ) who became a scholar in solidarity with the Palestinian struggle.

Dr. Eve Spangler
Eve Spangler, Assoc. Prof. of Sociology at Boston College.
Photograph Lee Pellegrini

Eve Spangler, associate professor of Sociology at Boston College, serves as a Human and Civil Rights Organizations of America board member, and is a founding board member of American Jews for a Just Peace. Spangler’s new book is Understanding Israel/Palestine: Race, Nation, and Human Rights in the Conflict. For more information, click
here.

sponsored by Peace and Conflict Studies, The Cooper Fund, Arabic
Studies, Sociology and Anthropology, and Religious Studies

Ultra-Nationalism and the Divinity of Bureaucracy in Israel

Mizrahi Mothers, Wrapped in the Flag of Israel: Ultra-Nationalism and the Divinity of Bureaucracy in Israel

ASmadar Lavie
Professor of Anthropology
University of California, Berkeley

Thursday, October 29, 2015
4:30 p.m.
Scheuer Room, Kohlberg Hall, Swarthmore College (directions)

LavieWrapped

Israeli-American anthropologist Smadar Lavie will discuss her new book, “Wrapped in the Flag of Israel: Mizrahi Single Mothers and Bureaucratic Torture.” The Mizrahim are the Jews from North Africa and the Middle East who comprise Israel’s majority Jewish population. They suffer from systematic discrimination by Israel’s Ashkenazi Jews who drive Israeli policymaking. Lavie’s is the first English language ethnography about single mothers in the Middle East. This is one of the very few ethnographies about single mothers outside North America. The book explores Israel’s intra-Jewish racial and ethnic conflicts from a feminist perspective. It analyzes how the plight of Mizrahi single mothers relates to Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories, as well as its tensions with Iran and other neighboring Arab countries. Lavie uncovers the conundrum of loving and staying loyal to a state that
uses its bureaucratic system to repeatedly inflict pain on its
non-European majority who, despite this pain, is willing to sacrifice
their lives for what they conceive of as the state’s security.

Equating bureaucratic entanglements with pain—what, arguably, can be seen as torture, Smadar Lavie explores the conundrum of loving and staying loyal to a state that repeatedly inflicts pain on its
non-European Jewish women citizens through its bureaucratic system. The book presents a model of bureaucracy as divine cosmology and posits that Israeli State bureaucracy is based on a theological essence that fuses the categories of religion, gender, and race into the foundation of citizenship.

SmadarLavie1
Dr. Smadar Lavie

Sponsored by Peace and Conflict Studies, and Gender and Sexuality Studies

Israel/Palestine Film Series – Fall Semester 2015

The Peace and Conflict Studies program invites you to an Israel/Palestine Film Series this semester.

All six screenings will be held on Wednesdays at 4:15pm in the Lang Performing Arts Center (LPAC) Cinema. (Directions)

The screenings are open to the public and faculty, staff, administrators, students, and local community members are welcome to attend. A brief moderated discussion will follow each film.

A trailer for each film is available below.

IsraelPalestine Film Series Fall 2015

September 16

Frontiers of Dreams and Fears

Palestinian filmmaker traces the pen-pal relationship between Palestinian teenage girls in Bethlehem and Beirut refugee camps.

September 23

The Flat

Israeli filmmaker discovers the history of his grandparents who previously had a relationship with a high ranking Nazi officer.

September 30

The War Around Us

American filmmaker follows the only two international journalists who covered the 2009 Israel-Hamas War in Gaza.

October 7

Promises

Israeli filmmaker documents a group of Israeli and Palestinian children meeting for the first time in and around Jerusalem.

October 21

Paradise Now

Palestinian filmmaker produces this Academy Award-nominated fiction film examining the final hours before two Palestinian friends prepare to commit acts of violence in Tel Aviv.

November 4

Eyes Wide Open

Israeli filmmaker produces this breathtaking fiction film examining a love affair between two Orthodox Jewish men in Jerusalem.

Sponsored by Swarthmore Peace and Conflict Studies

Fall 2015 Line-up of Peace & Conflict Studies Courses

In addition to all of the excellent courses offered across campus that may be counted toward a minor in Peace and Conflicts Studies, our own program curriculum is expanding next year!

PEAC 015. Introduction to Peace and Conflict Studies

In Introduction to Peace and Conflict Studies, we learn that peace and conflict are not mutually exclusive. To paraphrase Conrad Brunk, the goal of peace and conflict studies is to better understand conflict in order to find nonviolent ways of turning unjust relationships into more just ones. We examine both the prevalence of coercive and non-peaceful means of conducting conflict as well as the development of nonviolent alternatives, locally and globally, through institutions and at the grassroots. The latter include nonviolent collective action, mediation, peacekeeping, and conflict transformation work. Several theoretical and philosophical lenses will be used to explore cultural and psychological dispositions, conflict in human relations, and conceptualizations of peace. The course will take an interdisciplinary approach with significant contributions from the social sciences. U.S.-based social justice movements, such as the struggle for racial equality, and global movements, such as nonviolent activism in Israel/Palestine, and the struggle for climate justice around the world, will serve as case studies.

1 credit. Tues/Thurs. 1:15-2:30 pm

Instructor: Sa’ed Atshan

 PEAC 039. Social Entrepreneurship for Social Change (NEW COURSE!)

By integrating innovative approaches with revenue-generating practices, social entrepreneurs and their ventures open compelling and impactful avenues to social change. In this course, students will learn about the pioneering individuals and novel ways that social entrepreneurship responds to social needs that are not adequately served by the market or by the state through in-depth case analysis of social change work (locally, nationally, and globally).

1 credit. Mondays 1:15-4:00 pm

Instructor: Denise Crossan, Lang Professor for Social Change


 

 PEAC 053. Israeli-Palestinian Conflict  (NEW COURSE!)

This course will examine the historical underpinnings of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and how they have shaped the contemporary context in Israel/Palestine. We will approach this from a demography and population-studies framework in order to understand the trajectories and heterogeneity of Israeli and Palestinian societies and politics. For instance, how has the relationship between race and period of migration to Israel impacted Ashkenazi and Mizrahi Israeli sub-populations differently? What explains divergent voting patterns between Palestinian Christians and Muslims over time? How can we measure inequality between Israeli settlers and Palestinian natives in the West Bank in the present? The course will also synthesize competing theoretical paradigms that account for the enduring nature of this conflict. This includes—but is not limited to—the scholarly contributions of realist political scientists, US foreign policy experts, social movements theorists, security sector reformers, human rights advocates, international law experts, and negotiations and conflict resolution practitioners.

Eligible POLS and ISLM credit.

1 credit. Tues./Thurs. 2:40-3:55 pm

Instructor: Sa’ed Atshan


PEAC 071B. Research Seminar: Strategy and Nonviolent Struggle

(Cross-listed as POLS 081 and SOCI 071B)

This research seminar involves working with The Global Nonviolent Action Database built at Swarthmore College. This website is accessed by activists and scholars worldwide. The database contains crucial information on campaigns for human rights, democracy, environmental sustainability, economic justice, national/ethnic identity, and peace. Students will investigate a series of research cases and write them up in two ways: within a template of fields (the database proper) and also as a narrative describing the unfolding struggle. Strategic implications will be drawn from theory and from what the group is learning from the documented cases of wins and losses experienced by people’s struggles.

1 credit.  Mondays 1:15-4:00 pm

Instructor: Lee Smithey