The Origins of Zionism and the Making of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Sunday, November 12, 2023

10 a.m. MST on Zoom

Arieh Saposnik

Associate Professor, Ben-Gurion Institute for the Study of Israel and Zionism
Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

Zionism is an almost taboo topic in many academic contexts today and is surely among the most misunderstood terms in contemporary political and cultural discourse. One of the central reasons for the contentious nature of the term has to do with what we know today as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Notwithstanding the ubiquity of the conflict in global politics and in the news, it too is rarely understood in any historical depth.

In this lecture, we will seek to understand the origins of Zionism, its goals and its nature, how the encounter between Jews and Arabs began, how it evolved, and how it shaped Zionism itself, the history of Israel, and the nature of the conflict today.

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Arieh Saposnik is Associate Professor at the Ben-Gurion Institute for the Study of Israel and Zionism at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. A historian of Zionism and Jewish nationalism, Saposnik is interested in the construction of national cultures and identities in the modern world. He is the author of Becoming Hebrew: The Creation of a Jewish National Culture in Ottoman Palestine (Oxford University Press), and of Zionism’s Redemptions: Images of the Past and Visions of the Future in Jewish Nationalism (Cambridge University Press).  His current research projects include an intellectual biography of Joseph Klausner; and (with Gideon Katz) the role of philosophical thought and writing in the making of Hebrew culture. Saposnik is a former President of the Association for Israel Studies (2021-2023). Prior to joining the faculty at Ben-Gurion University, Saposnik taught in the School of International Letters and Cultures at ASU and was the founding director of the Nazarian Center for Israel Studies at UCLA.