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Course Description:

Stories both reflect and mold our world. And all cultures tell stories to themselves and to others because all people tell stories. Narrative is a fundamental human cognitive ability that enables us to process and make meaning from what we see and experience around us. Within its storylines and frames, we move from the concrete to the abstract, weaving together what is seen, what imagined, what feared, desired, what is difficult to comprehend. Whether meant to be read alone, read aloud, performed or watched on stage or screen, stories function as an entertaining and educative means of introducing people to the beliefs, practices, politics, and mores of a group of people. Stories are windows that allow us to peer into, to move into contact with a particular society.Stories both reflect and mold our world. And all cultures tell stories to themselves and to others because all people tell stories. Narrative is a fundamental human cognitive ability that enables us to process and make meaning from what we see and experience around us. Within its storylines and frames, we move from the concrete to the abstract, weaving together what is seen, what imagined, what feared, desired, what is difficult to comprehend. Whether meant to be read alone, read aloud, performed or watched on stage or screen, stories function as an entertaining and educative means of introducing people to the beliefs, practices, politics, and mores of a group of people. Stories are windows that allow us to peer into, to move into contact with a particular society.

In this course, we will read and watch contemporary stories by Israeli Jewish and Arab writers and film directors. This will allow a more nuanced and multifaceted understanding of Israel's complex history of identity, place, community, and landscape -- and its continual metamorphosis through time. We will read poems, stories, plays, and novels, we will watch films. All these stories will provide us with an opportunity to not only examine literary, aesthetic, and cinematic qualities, but as importantly, will help us gain insight into the contemporary cultural and political contexts in which these works have been created.

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