January 10, 2012

Massad, Joseph and Leung, Cheryl (TA) Silver_nugget
[CLME W3042] Palestinian and Israeli Politics and Societies

Please keep in mind that this review is more than 5 years old.

This class was INCREDIBLE. If you only know a little about the Palestinian/Israeli issue, you will leave this class knowing more than you could possibly imagine, as happened to me. If you know much about the issue, this class will provide you with incredible insight and resources to further cultivate your understanding and knowledge of the political and social background to the conflict. You will learn A LOT, regardless of how well versed you were in the issue before you took the class.

Professor Massad touches on all of the most important details of the conflict from its historical beginnings to our current day. He assigns readings that are super interesting and extremely informative. We were assigned readings written by Israeli, Arab, Jewish and Muslim scholars, and even read two novellas. Though Massad has come under scrutiny from Zionists for being biased in teaching this course, that is quite untrue. Just because he is a Palestinian professor does not mean he is incapable of teaching us material that puts the Palestinians in an unfavorable position when history points to that. We talked a lot about the incompetence of Palestinian leadership and a lot about Arab powers and their fluctuations in their attitudes towards the Palestinian question. Regardless of this, it is ignorant to call this class biased and illegitimate simply because Massad tells the truth about the atrocities committed on the Palestinian people.

Though professor Massad is GENIUS and eloquent, he does tends to jump around during lectures in terms of dates, so try and keep a mental timeline of what events are taking place when. It might even be helpful to write one out.

I highly recommend this class to anyone!! I took it to fulfill a gen.ed. but have become quite invested in the issue, and this class has also helped me shape my thesis for one of my majors. Though it was a lot of work it was really worth it.


This class is INTENSE. We were assigned approximately 100 pages a week, but that easily increased throughout the semester. My TA (Cheryl Eve Leung who was amazing) assigned us 2 to 4 page essays due every week; she won't be TAing this course again, so workload in discussion section really depends on your TA.
There were 2 midterms and 1 final, which were pretty intense. They consisted of identifications and essays (for the midterms, about 7 IDs and 2 essays and for the final, about 15 IDs and 3 essays). In my experience, to do well in this class, you really have to keep up with readings and assignments.