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HIST 366 Palestine/Israel since 1880: Histories of a Conflict

"Can Palestinian lives matter?" This is a question that one journalist asked in 2021. Saying "yes" to this question is the starting point for this historical exploration of a conflict that has shaken the Middle East and affected the whole world for a century or more. Why begin with this question and this answer? Because, too often, narratives of the Israel-Palestine conflict devalue Palestinian lives and treat them as less worthy than others, and it is necessary to challenge that inequity directly in order to clear the way for a truly diverse and humane approach to this topic. Saying this does not mean that Jewish lives do not matter, no more than the phrase "Black Lives Matter" means that white lives do not. Students in this course will learn about histories of nationalism and colonialism from multiple perspectives, reading about both Zionism and Palestinian nationalism, in Palestine/Israel, from sources inside and outside of these movements. They also will learn about the possibilities and problems of various efforts to create peace and justice out of this conflict. The title of the course reverses the conventional order of "Israel/Palestine," because Ottoman- and British-ruled Palestine preceded the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948. Genuine historical understanding requires us to try to view the past as people made it.


Special information

Prerequisites: Writing I OR equivalent.
4 Undergraduate credits

Effective January 10, 2022 to present

Meets graduation requirements for

Learning outcomes


  • Contextualize historical documents, other primary source materials, and historians' accounts of the history of Palestine-Israel since 1880.
  • Interpret the processes of colonial settlement and indigenous resistance and responses to the states and societies present in Palestine and Israel from the late nineteenth century up to the present day.
  • Relate narratives of cultural, gendered, racialized, social, religious, and linguistic difference and conflict in Palestine/Israel as these have emerged historically.
  • Interpret multiple perspectives on the modern history of Palestine/Israel.
  • Synthesize diverse Palestinian and Zionist perspectives on and explanations for the Palestine-Israel conflict since 1880, as well as diverse efforts to create peace.

Minnesota Transfer Curriculum

Goal 5: History and the Social and Behavioral Sciences

  • Employ the methods and data that historians and social and behavioral scientists use to investigate the human condition.
  • Examine social institutions and processes across a range of historical periods and cultures.
  • Use and critique alternative explanatory systems or theories.
  • Develop and communicate alternative explanations or solutions for contemporary social issues.

Goal 8: Global Perspective

  • Describe and analyze political, economic, and cultural elements which influence relations of states and societies in their historical and contemporary dimensions.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of cultural, social, religious and linguistic differences.
  • Analyze specific international problems, illustrating the cultural, economic, and political differences that affect their solution.
  • Understand the role of a world citizen and the responsibility world citizens share for their common global future.