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The Double Conflict: Gender and National Identity in Israel/Palestine


Admission requirements

This class is intended (in order of preference) for:

  • (1) students of the BA Middle Eastern Studies/Modern Middle East

  • (2) premaster students for the MA Middle Eastern Studies;

  • (3) students from other programmes. To ensure this course is not over-enrolled, students from other programmes interested in taking the course should contact the education coordinator.


Literary and cinematic creations from Palestine and Israel offer a nuanced, compelling introduction to the region and its history – much more than the headlines that dominate the news. This course will compare and analyze perceptions of nationhood that appear in the literary canons of the Zionist and Palestinian national movement after 1948. Moreover, we will take our alaysis one step further, by focusing on the complicated and fascinating prespective of gender roles.
In our readings and discussions, we will examine which gendered bodies are permitted to narrate the national movement, and how; how the conflict is experienced through different gender perspective; how masculinity and femininity are established within the borders of national imagination; and what that means for queer identities.
The course will begin with a reading of texts that analyze or draw inspiration from the events of 1948—the Palestinian Nakba and the creation of the state of Israel—and move forward to the present. The course is intended to serve as an introduction to some of the major texts of both national literatures, as well as the methods of comparative literature and gender-focused reading. Readings include works by Yehoshua, Habibi, Oz, Shammas, Matalon and . All readings will be in English.

Course objectives

  • Students will become familiarized with canonical literary and cinematic depictions of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and their formative role in the respective national consiousnesses.

  • Students will receive tools to perform a gender-focused literary and cinematic anaylsis, through familiartization with pivotal thoeritical texts accompanying our primary sources.

  • Students will be able to contextualize the ongoing transformative trends regarding gender in Israeli/Palestinian current cultural and political climate.

  • Students will identify the intersections between nationalism and gender and how those can both amplify or undermine one another.

  • Students will develop an understanding of the role of power and positionality in the knowledge production in and of the region.


The timetables are available through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction


Assessment method

Assessment and weighing

The final mark for the course is established by determining the weighted average of the following:

  • Class participation: 25%

  • Midterm take-home exam: 25%

  • Final exam: 50%

In order to pass the course, students need a passing mark (“voldoende”, i.e. “5.50” or higher) for the course as a whole.


There is only a resit opportunity for the final exam.

Inspection and feedback

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will be organized.

Reading list

A full list of the required literature and study materials will be announced at the beginning of the course in Brightspace.


Enrolment through MyStudyMap is mandatory.
General information about course and exam enrolment is available on the website.



Please note that the additional course information is an integral part of this course description.