New Article: Sherrard, American Biblical Archeologists’ Responses to the Six-Day War

Sherrard, Brooke. “Mystical Unification or Ethnic Domination? American Biblical Archeologists’ Responses to the Six-Day War.” Journal of the Bible and its Reception 3.1 (2016): 109-33.

 

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1515/jbr-2016-1002

 

Abstract

After the Six-Day War, members of the American Schools of Oriental Research experienced conflict over how and whether to maintain the organization’s policy on political neutrality. This article argues that ASOR members who supported Israel framed their views as theological, lauding the war for achieving a mystical unification of Jerusalem, while members who opposed the war’s outcome responded that appeals to theology and neutrality were being deployed to justify one ethnic group’s domination over another. I present two main examples, George Ernest Wright and Paul Lapp, and connect their scholarly views on objectivity versus relativism to their political views on the conflict. Wright, a biblical theologian, argued the Old Testament was an objective record of a religion revealed by God to the Israelites and defended the slaughter of Canaanites in terms that echoed justifications for Palestinian displacement. Conversely Lapp, who read the Old Testament as a polemical text, overtly connected his perspectivalism to his pro-Palestinian politics. In 1968 Wright clashed with ASOR residents, including Lapp, who protested Israeli plans to reroute a parade through recently captured areas of East Jerusalem. A reading of the correspondence record created after the protest analyzes the political implications of these differing scholarly positions.

 

 

 

New Article: Molad, Zionism: An Unfinished Revolution?

Molad, Yoni. “Zionism: An Unfinished Revolution?” Arena 44 (2015): 178-190.

 

URL: http://search.informit.com.au/documentSummary;dn=512951196182719;res=IELAPA

 

Abstract

In a recent and fascinating study published in Israel, the history and achievements of Israeli – or Hebrew – modernist art, music, architecture and literature have been documented and discussed under the title ‘How Do You Say Modernism in Hebrew?’ Clearly, the authors and editors of the collection felt that, despite the rich modernist artistic heritage of modern Hebrew culture, the status of modernism in Israeli culture is still underappreciated or misunderstood and its rehabilitation is an important intellectual task. However, the editors did not explicitly raise any political consideration in their book. This essay seeks to address this question and argues that the modernist history of the Zionist movement needs to be re-examined in order to rehabilitate the universalist aspects of the project of Jewish nationalism that lie dormant in its intellectual heritage. This paper is not intended as a definitive statement and does not offer a detailed empirical or historical analysis but rather raises some theoretical and more generally philosophical questions based on what I take to be the ideological heritage of Zionist thought. I am aware that some of the following reflections may fall on deaf ears or even provoke hostile reactions due to the sensitivity of the topic, so I will try to be as clear as possible.

 

 

New Article: Piterberg, Israeli Sociology’s Young Hegelian: Gershon Shafir and the Settler-Colonial Framework

Piterberg, Gabriel. “Israeli Sociology’s Young Hegelian: Gershon Shafir and the Settler-Colonial Framework.” Journal of Palestine Studies 44.3 (2015): 17-38.

 

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/jps.2015.44.3.17

 

Abstract

In April 2014, the Center for Near Eastern Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) convened a conference titled “The Settler Colonial Paradigm: Debating Gershon Shafir’s Land, Labor and the Origins of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict on Its 25th Anniversary.” This essay emanates from the conference. I first chart the dialectical emergence of Shafir’s thought out of Israeli sociology, and then gauge its impact on the growing presence of the settler-colonial framework in the study of Palestine/Israel. The analysis of Shafir’s book shows how a powerful hegemony has produced its disavowal. The examination of Palestine/Israel as a settler-colonial situation past and present underscores the benefit of studying this topic comparatively and as part of a global phenomenon.

New Article: Ram, Israeli Sociology: Social Thought amidst Struggles and Conflicts

Ram, Uri. “Israeli Sociology: Social Thought amidst Struggles and Conflicts.” Irish Journal of Sociology 23.1 (2015): 98-117.

 

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.7227/IJS.23.1.6

 

Abstract

The basic challenge of Israeli sociology always has been, and continues to be to present days, the designation of its object of study; i. e.’Israeli society’. The history of Israeli sociology and its conception of ‘Israeli society’ may be discerned into the five following modules: 1. Proto-sociology. In the pre-state era, sociological thought thrived within the context of the socialist Zionism. The two prominent’ proto-sociologists’ were Arthur Ruppin and Martin Buber, who professed German communal perspectives. 2. Modernization sociology. The formative phase of sociology as a discipline was from 1950 to 1977. It was led by Shmuel Noah Eisenstadt, who effected a transition from the German anti-modernist paradigm to an American modernization theory. 3. Critical sociology. The critical phase took place in the 1970s and 1980s. Critical sociology was manifested in elitism, pluralism, Marxism, feminism and colonization approaches. Simultaneously there emerged a robust branch of’ quantitative sociology’. 4. Post-modern sociology. The turn towards post-modernity started in the 1990s. The three noticeable post-modern perspectives are: post-structuralism, post-colonialism and post-Marxism. 5. Palestinian Arab sociology in Israel. Palestinian Arab sociology is emerging and coming to its own since the 1990s. It reflects integration as well as alienation.

New Book: Ram; The Return of Martin Buber (in Hebrew)

רם, אורי. שובו של מרטין בובר. המחשבה הלאומית והחברתית בישראל מבובר עד הבובריאנים החדשים. תל אביב: רסלינג, 2015.

buber

Martin Buber (1878-1965) was the first chair of the first Department of Sociology at the first university in Israel – but who remembers this today? This book discusses the history of ideas of national and social thought, and of sociology in Israel, through the question of Buber’s changing status: what was his initial place in sociology? Why did he disappear from the sociological canon? And why has interest in his works resurged in recent years?

This significant book by Uri Ram presents a new look at Buber’s philosophy and offers a critical reading of it. While Buber was a prominent figure of the pre-state peace movements (“Brit Shalom” and “Ihud”), he was also a German thinker of his time, who utterly rejected modernism and fully embraced the conservative-right visions of traditional Gemeinschaft Community, the nationalist Volk culture, and the Congregation of the Faithful.

The Department of Sociology was founded in the academic year of 1947/8 and Buber was appointed as its chair. His sociology was somewhat consistent with the spirit of the pre-state Jewish community, but not the spirit of statehood that followed independence. In 1950, the leadership of Sociology shifted to Buber’s student Eisenstadt, who designed the discipline in the coming decades in the spirit of American modernization. Buber’s figure became marginal for many years. However, since the 1990s, Buber’s status has enjoyed a revival, against the backdrop of the crisis of secular nationalism, alongside the rise of postmodern and postcolonial approaches in intellectual discourse. New sociological studies was inspired by Buber is defined in this book as “neo-Buberian”, and the book raises questions as to whether this trend promotes a civil and democratic culture or rather empowers the national-religious culture in contemporary Israel.