Jerusalem: Holy City of Conflict and Desire

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FIG 24
Rachel Brenner
Jerusalem: Holy City of Conflict and Desire
Lecture 2, 8:50–9:40 MWF
Introduction to College Composition
Lecture 48, 2:30–3:45 TR
Introduction to International Relations
Lecture 1, 2:30–3:45 MW; Discussion 314, 9:55–10:45 T

Jerusalem has been an object of desire and longing for the three monotheistic religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. It is the site of the Jewish Temples, of Jesus’s Tomb, and of the Mosques of the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa. For thousands of years, the holiness and the beauty of Jerusalem have inspired artists and visionaries, while the desire to possess the city and the holy places has caused hostilities, conflicts, and wars—which are by no means over.

Starting with Abraham, the forefather of the three religions, the main seminar in this FIG, Jewish Studies 231: “Jerusalem: Holy City of Conflict and Desire,” will examine the religious factors and the political interests demonstrated in the Holy Scriptures of the three religions, in historical events such as the Crusades, as well as in the poetry and the myths that have shaped the unique ethos of Jerusalem. We will study the historical, sociological, and psychological reasons for the emergence of the modern Zionist movement in Europe that resulted in the return to the Land and in the establishment of the Jewish State–historical processes that reconfigured the position of Jerusalem in the consciousness of the world. Our investigation of the ways in which the European-based empires shaped the political-ethnic-national realities of the Middle East will provide the necessary information to understand the current conflicts over Jerusalem and the Land of Israel/Palestine and to the comprehension of the current situation in the Middle East at large. The study of the ethical, theological, and national components of the historical narrative of Jerusalem and the Land of Israel will illuminate the roots of the violence and enmity that preclude peace in this crucial part of the world.

We will:

  • watch films about the history of the Jerusalem and the Land of Israel;
  • discuss the current events in the Middle East;
  • attend cultural events associated with the Middle East and sample Middle Eastern food;
  • attend guest lectures by eminent scholars of Israel and the Middle East; and
  • take a field trip to the Jewish Museum Milwaukee, a church, and an Islamic Center.

English 100: “Introduction to College Composition” — This class treats writing as both an act of inquiry and communication, and it offers opportunities to identify, develop, and express concepts; engage in conversations with the ideas of others; and critique and construct arguments through original research.

Political Science 140: “Introduction to International Relations” — This course explores past and present patterns of political, social, and technological change in terms of their contemporary and future implications for international relations.