Carnegie Mellon University

Academic Series on the Historical and Political Context of the Israel-Hamas War

The ongoing war between Israel and Hamas has brought immense suffering and anxiety to people in Israel, the Gaza Strip, the surrounding region and all over the world. The conflict has come to college campuses and divided us.

Our role as an institution of higher education is to educate and foster informed and respectful dialogue on complex issues. The Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences and Heinz College of Information Systems and Public Policy have collaborated to create a series of events that will take place during the spring semester of 2024. These events are designed to illuminate the historical, political, cultural and narrative background of the Israel-Hamas war. We have intentionally created forums that represent multiple perspectives, humbly recognizing that there are many viewpoints on this long-standing conflict. We invite all CMU students, faculty and staff to join us.

Read a message about the series from Richard Scheines, Bess Family Dean of the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences, and Ramayaa Krishnan, Dean of Heinz College of Information Systems and Public Policy.

Schedule of Events

The Possibility of Peace

Jan. 31, 5-7 p.m., Tepper Building - Simmons Auditorium A

Rula Hardal and May Pundak will share their experiences as Palestinian and Jewish members of A Land for All, an organization advocating for peaceful resolution in the region.

Moderated by Nevine Abraham, assistant teaching professor of Arabic Studies in the Department of Modern Languages, and Michal Friedman, Jack Buncher Professor of Jewish Studies in the Department of History.

Watch a video of Hardal and Pundak's discussion

Mapping the History of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Feb. 15, 5-6:30 p.m., Cohon University Center - McConomy Auditorium

Laurie Z. Eisenberg, teaching professor emerita in the CMU Department of History, will provide an overview of the history of the region's borders and populations, including how they have changed over time, from the beginning of the conflict in the 1880s until the present day.

Competing Narratives: Small Group Book Discussions

Multiple dates in March, times and locations TBA

Join one of several small groups of students, faculty and staff in discussing Neil Caplan’s book “The Israel-Palestine Conflict: Contested Histories" (Second Edition). There will be six options for book discussion groups on campus, each led by an expert faculty member. Discussions will explore the contested Palestinian and Israeli narratives of events and aim to move readers beyond assigning blame to wrestling with the complexities and contradictions of the conflict. Is there a chance for peaceful resolution?

The first 200 registrants will receive a free e-copy of the book.

Two additional discussion sessions will feature a meal and conversation with Caplan. Registration for these options is limited.

Caplan taught in numerous Canadian institutions, including the Humanities Department of Vanier College from 1973 to his retirement in 2008, and he instructed sessional courses in political science and history at McGill, Concordia and Queens universities. 

Misinformation in Times of Conflict

April 1, 5-6:15 p.m., Hamburg Hall A301

Zeve Sanderson, executive director of New York University's Center for Social Media and Politics, will lead a discussion and Q&A session on the role of social media in the Israel-Hamas war. Participants will explore which sources of information have been reliable and how misinformation has impacted the conflict.

Register for misinformation in times of conflict

Exploring History and Culture Through Food

April 18, 6-7:30 p.m., Hamburg Hall - Heinz Rotunda

Join Nevine Abraham, assistant teaching professor of Arabic Studies in the Department of Modern Languages, and Michal Friedman, Jack Buncher Professor of Jewish Studies in the Department of History, as they share lessons from co-teaching their semester-long Grand Challenge Seminar titled “Israeli and Palestinian Food Cultures” and spring 2023 travel with students to Israel and the West Bank. Sample food from the region and learn more about the common threads that exist between cultures.

Register for exploring history and culture through food

Speakers

Nevine Abraham

Nevine Abraham

Assistant Teaching Professor of Arabic Studies
Department of Modern Languages

Neil Caplan

neil caplan

Author of "The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: Contested Histories"

Laurie Z. Eisenberg

laurie Z. Eisenberg

Professor Emerita
Department of History

Michal Friedman

michal friedman

Jack Buncher Professor of Jewish Studies
Department of History

Rula Hardal

rula hardal

Co-Executive Director
A Land for All

May Pundak

may pundak

Co-Executive Director
A Land for All

Zeve Sanderson

zeve sanderson

Executive Director
NYU Center for Social Media and Politics

Organizing Committee

Richard Scheines, Bess Family Dean of the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences, and Ramayaa Krishnan, Dean of the Heinz College of Information Systems and Public Policy, thank the following committee members who provided thoughtful counsel on event topics, speakers and logistics.

  • Nevine Abraham, Assistant Teaching Professor of Arabic Studies, Department of Modern Languages
  • Dareen Basma, Associate Dean of Diversity, Inclusion, Climate and Equity, Heinz College
  • Sharon Carver, Associate Dean for Educational Affairs, Dietrich College
  • Laurie Eisenberg, Teaching Professor Emerita, Department of History
  • Michal Friedman, Jack Buncher Professor of Jewish Studies, Department of History
  • Ayana Ledford, Associate Dean of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Dietrich College
  • Alexandra Lutz, Senior Director, School of Public Policy and Management, Heinz College
  • Daniel Silverman, Assistant Professor of International Relations, Carnegie Mellon Institute for Strategy and Technology (CMIST)
  • Abby Simmons, Associate Dean of Communications, Dietrich College

Questions?

Contact the Dietrich College Dean's Office
dietrichdean@andrew.cmu.edu