Communication and Culture | Senior Seminar in Communication and Culture (Topic: Images of War and Peace in Israel)
C401 | 11992 | Simons, J.

MW, 1:00 PM-2:15 PM, C2 203

“Making War, Making Peace” Themester at the College Course

Instructor: Jon Simons
Office: C2 239
Phone: 856-0896

This class studies images of war and peace in Israel from its
independence in 1948 until the present. As I do not presuppose prior
knowledge of Israel and its conflict with the Palestinians and other
Arab nations, the first part of the class will provide a brief
overview of those issues. Then the seminar will elaborate the notion
of peace and war as “political images” by drawing on work from
visual culture studies (particularly that of W.J.T. Mitchell),
political studies and political as well as commercial marketing. In
this light, images of peace and war are not only visual images but
complex condensations and rich webs of cultural associations, which
are manifested in a variety of verbal, visual and acoustic media and
a range of forms. The perpetual debate in Israel about war and peace
is conducted as a struggle for hegemony between competing images of
war and peace that are produced, disseminated and consumed in
Israel’s vibrant public culture. The range of image texts that the
seminar will study includes films, literature, journalism, graphic
art, educational programs, political performance through
demonstrations and speeches, memorials and public rituals in
addition to the formal, political positions on war and peace that
are advocated in Israel. The guiding questions for the seminar will
be: how do various media and cultural practices constitute differing
images of war and peace in Israel? Which images tend to predominate,
and why? How and when do images change, and how do those changes
connect to the political events of war and peace? Could persuasive
images of peace contribute to ending the Israeli-Palestinian

Student’s work for the seminar will be focused on the development
and completion of an independent research project that will examine
a particular image (or set of images) of war and peace. Projects
could be about a particular film, or about a range of media and
cultural artefacts that refer to a particular war or stage of the
conflict or peace-making efforts, or about how certain social or
particular groups present their images of war and peace. Work for
the project will include a proposal (10%), literature review (15%)
and final paper (30%). There will also be a test at the end of the
first part of the class (the overview of the conflict, 15%) and the
second part (on concepts of the image, 15%). Students will also be
graded for their overall participation in the seminar (15%).