Conference: Israel Studies as a Global Discipline

Conveners: Derek Penslar (Harvard/SIAS), Johannes Becke (Heidelberg)

Over the past fifteen years, Israel Studies has expanded from its Israeli and North American base to become a global academic discipline. Israel Studies has also moved beyond its traditional disciplinary base in political science and history to include cultural studies, anthropology, and sociology. This rapid and extensive development calls for reflection on the current state of the field and the directions in which it is headed. At this conference, participants will discuss varying approaches to Israel Studies in different countries and across disciplinary fields. They will reflect upon the reasons behind the rise of the field of Israel Studies, those aspects of Israel that are of greatest interest to their particular discipline and location, and the sources of the controversies that surround the subject. The conference will illuminate the relationship between Israel Studies, Middle Eastern Studies (including Palestine Studies) and Jewish Studies, and it will confront the challenges facing scholars whose subjects are inextricably linked with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which is at the centre of public attention and is a source of fierce debate in universities throughout the world.

Sunday 28 May 2017

9:15: Preliminary remarks

9:30-10:45: Israel Studies in the Social Sciences

11:00-12:30: Israel Studies and Jewish Studies

14:00-15:30: Israel Studies and Middle Eastern Studies

15:45-17:15: Comparative Approaches in Israel Studies


Monday 29 May 2017

9:30-11:00: Israel Studies in the Arab World

11:15-12:45: Israel Studies in Europe

14:00-15:30: Israel Studies in Asia

15:30-16:00: Summary discussion


Admission is free; pre-registration is required.

Registration and enquiries: Stephen Minay,

Further Information

The conference is dedicated to the memory of the late George Weidenfeld (1919-2016). Lord Weidenfeld contributed in myriad ways to institutions of higher learning in the United Kingdom, and played a key role in the establishment of positions in Israel Studies at British universities. This conference is generously supported by the Israel Institute, Washington DC, and the Blavatnik Family Foundation through the Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies (OCHJS).