Near Eastern Languages and Cultures | The Kibbutz in Fact and Fiction
N675 | 29122 | Stephen Katz

04:00P-05:15P TR BH 245


The kibbutz, Israel’s communal socio-economic system, has undergone
many changes since its initial formation almost a century ago.
Although it always remained a small community in Israel, its becoming
an object of idealization and pride in Israeli society and culture has
exceeded its actual size.

In this course we will read of the history and ideological foundations
of this communal society to learn why it came to be and what ideals it
attempted to realize—among them the elimination of hatred, strife,
social class and inequality among its members and between men and
women.  Supplementing our readings will be video representations of
life on the kibbutz and, whenever possible, guest speakers who have
lived on a kibbutz.

In probing the cultural impact of the kibbutz on Israeli society, we
will read a series of literary works—primarily short stories and
novels—whose action takes place with the kibbutz as background.  They
will trace for us the evolving attitudes to the kibbutz in Israel.
Our interest will focus on whether the kibbutz has been able to
realize itself as a utopia, or is it a dystopia.  Graduate students
will write a research paper in addition to performing all other course