Distinguished Lectureship Program

 

What is the program?

The Distinguished Lectureship Program includes prominent scholars coming from all fields which cover the breadth of Israeli politics, history, society and culture.

The program offers the chance to host some of the most prominent Israel Studies scholars today to discuss their scholarship on a wide variety of issues related to Israel Studies. In broader terms, the program seeks to serve as a platform for Israel Studies scholars, one that will showcase their work as well as enrich and invigorate the scholarly discussion of Israel.   


How does the program work?

Universities are invited to sponsor a lecturer to speak at their institution. Scholars are expected to be willing to give one lecture per year for the program if invited by a sponsor university to do so. Universities that are interested in sponsoring a lecture will pay an honorarium of $1,000 for a single speaker and $500 for a speaker participating on a panel, directly to the AIS and cover the lecturer’s travel and lodging expenses (when conducted in person, rather than virtually). Lecturers are required to be AIS members. 

Please explore the list below to find lecture topics listed by categories. To view lecture topics listed according to scholars, click here


To get started:

Please contact Asaf Shamis, Executive Director at ais@aisisraelstudies.org.  Please include the name of the scholar you would like to sponsor for a lecture. 

The AIS will coordinate the next steps between the institution and the scholar.

 

Lecture topics listed by categories

Navigate to each section by clicking on the right-hand menu. 


Anthropology; Art and Theatre; Culture; COVID-19; Holocaust; History; Immigration; International Relations and Conflict Resolution; Israel/Diaspora Relations; Law; MENA Jewish experience in Israel; Political Science; Religious Studies; Teaching and Pedagogy; War and Peace Between Israel and its Neighbours; Zionism


Art and Theater

Diego Rotman, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem (website


  • Yiddish Theater in Israel
  • Contemporary Art Scene in Jerusalem (This topic is general and can be focused: Alternative Art Scene, Site Specific Art in Jerusalem, Approaching History through Art, Art and Protest, etc.) 
  • Art and Activism in Jerusalem: The Case of HaMesila Park
  • Performance in Corona Times in Jerusalem

Anthropology

Sarah S. Willen, University of Connecticut (website)


  • “Citizens, ‘Real’ Others, and ‘Other’ Others: Global Migrants and the Dynamics of Inclusion and Otherness in Israel”
  • “Fighting for Dignity: Migrants’ Lives at Israel’s Margins”

COVID-19

Gad Barzilai, University of Haifa (website)


  • Emergencies and COVID: Socio-Legal Models, Israel and the World 

 

Joel Migdal, University of Washington (website) 


  • Why Israel Fared Poorly in Dealing with the Corona Crisis.

 

Liat Steir-Livny, Sapir College (website)


  • COVID-19, Antisemitism in the world and Holocaust Memory in Israel

Culture

Arieh Saposnik, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (website)


  • Becoming Hebrew—the Making of a Jewish National Culture
  • Real Estate or Holy Land: Zionism’s Shaping of Place
  • Zionism’s Redemptions: Visions of the Future and their Ambivalent Dialogues With Redemptive Traditions
  • Expounding Exile, Narrating Redemption: Narratives of Zionist History and Visions of the Jewish Future
  • Zionism and the Christian Holy Land
  • Bellum Mundi in Axis Mundy: World War I, the Balfour Declaration and
  • Zionist Visions of Redemption
  • Israel as a Cultural Code
  • Zionism in the Twenty-First Century
  • Wailing Walls and Iron Walls: The Western Wall as Sacred Symbol in Zionist National Iconography
  • Zionism, Territorialism, and Jewish Place

 

Aviva Halamish, The Open University of Israel (website)


  • Who is the Zionist "New Jew"?
  • Israeli Perception of Europe: The Role of Nostalgia, Negation of the Exile and Search for Identity

 

Ian Lustick, University of Pennsylvania (website); www.paradigmlostbook.com

Bess W. Heyman Professor, Political Science Department


  • How have Israeli Collective Memories of the Holocaust Evolved?

 

Talia Diskin, Tel Aviv University (website) and Ben-Gurion University of the Negev


  • Socializing Austerity: Children's Periodicals during Israel’s First Years
  • Collective Memory and Moral Issues in Children's Culture in Israel

 

Yael Zerubavel, Rutgers University (website)


  • Desert in the Promised Land: The Politics of Memory and Space in Israeli Culture
  • Numerical Commemoration of the Fallen: Place Names, Monuments, and the Politics of Remembrance in Israeli Culture
  • The Shepherd and the Well: Reimagining Antiquity in Israeli Culture
  • The Image of the War Widow in Israeli Literature and Film
  • Between Jew and Palestinian: Passing and Identity Exchanges in Israeli Films

Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies

Ayelet Harel-Shalev, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (website


  • Women in the military in Israel
  • Women's struggle to be included as combatants in the IDF
  • Minority women in Israel

History

Alan Dowty, University of Notre Dame (website)


  • How It Began: Origins of the Arab-Israel Conflict
  • Israelis and Palestinians: Has the Gap Narrowed?
  • The Fourth Stage of the Arab-Israel Confict
  • Democracy in Israel
  • Israel: A Nation Like Other Nations, or a People That Dwells Alone?
  • Israel (July 2020 - part of a series published by Polity: "Essential Histories")
  • Current issues of Israeli politics

 

Arieh Saposnik, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (website)


  • Becoming Hebrew—the Making of a Jewish National Culture
  • Real Estate or Holy Land: Zionism’s Shaping of Place
  • Zionism’s Redemptions: Visions of the Future and their Ambivalent Dialogues With Redemptive Traditions
  • Expounding Exile, Narrating Redemption: Narratives of Zionist History and Visions of the Jewish Future
  • Zionism and the Christian Holy Land
  • Bellum Mundi in Axis Mundy: World War I, the Balfour Declaration and
  • Zionist Visions of Redemption
  • Israel as a Cultural Code
  • Zionism in the Twenty-First Century
  • Wailing Walls and Iron Walls: The Western Wall as Sacred Symbol in Zionist National Iconography
  • Zionism, Territorialism, and Jewish Place

 

Aviva Halamish, The Open University of Israel (website)


  • 1934 - Profile of a Year: Toward an Integrative History of the Yishuv
  • Biography and the Israeli Academia: Enemies, a/or Love Story
  • Kibbutz and Aliyah: Symbiotic Relations
  • The Ambivalent Role of the Kibbutz in Molding the Zionist Left
  • Kibbutz and Utopia: Social Success and Political Failure

 

Ian Lustick, University of Pennsylvania (website); www.paradigmlostbook.com

Bess W. Heyman Professor, Political Science Department


  • Why Hasn’t Israel Officially Declared Sovereignty over East Jerusalem
  • Demography:  The Red Thread In Zionist and Israeli History

 

Reuven Gafni, Kinneret College on the Sea of Galilee (website)


  • Under The Dome of the Nation: The Israeli Synagogue between Religion, Nationalism and Statehood 
  • Praying for the State of Israel? Liturgy, Politics and Ethnicity in The Israeli Siddur.
  • The Lost Settlement Janres: Jews and Arabs in Peripheral Mandate Palestine 

 

Yael Zerubavel, Rutgers University (website)


  • Masada and the Holocaust: Changing Remembrances and the Use of Historical Analogies
  • Tel Hai, 1920-2020: National Myth and Subversive Narratives
  • Numerical Commemoration of the Fallen: Place Names, Monuments, and the Politics of Remembrance in Israeli Culture

Holocaust

Adrian Krupnik, University of Potsdam (website)


  • The Hunt for Nazi War Criminals: The Eichmann Kidnapping and his Trial in Israel

 

Aviva Halamish, The Open University of Israel (website)


  • Not what you think: The Role of the Holocaust in the Establishment of Israel
  • "Exodus" – Sixty Years Later: The Movie, the Myth and the Real Story

 

Ian Lustick, University of Pennsylvania (website); www.paradigmlostbook.com

Bess W. Heyman Professor, Political Science Department


  • How have Israeli Collective Memories of the Holocaust Evolved?

 

Liat Steir-Livny, Sapir College (website)


  • Holocaust Memory in Israel – An overview of 75 years
  • Our Postmemory – Third Generation Holocaust Survivors in Israeli Documentary
  • The Memory of Jewish Factioneers in the Holocaust in Israeli Culture

Immigration

Adrian Krupnik, University of Potsdam (website)


  • Between Aliyah and Yeridah: Migration, Return Migration and Circular Migration
  • New Immigrants and Their Social Integration in Israel: Challenges of Housing, Labor, and Language
  • A New State, a New Migration Policy: Israel’s Absorption Policy from Its Independence to the Yom Kippur War

 

Aviva Halamish, The Open University of Israel (website)


  • The Triple Role of American Jews in Illegal Immigration to Palestine, 1945-1948
  • Israel's Immigration Policy 1948-1951
  • Israel as an Immigrant Society
  • Jewish Immigration from Muslim Countries to Israel: A Comparative Perspective

 

Ian Lustick, University of Pennsylvania (website); www.paradigmlostbook.com

Bess W. Heyman Professor, Political Science Department


  • Demography:  The Red Thread In Zionist and Israeli History

International Relations and Conflict Resolution

Donna Robinson Divine, Smith College, (website)


  • The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict in Word and Deed

 

Galia Golan, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem (website)

Darwin Professor (emerita)


  • Arab Israeli conflict-past negotiations
  • Israeli Palestinian conflict- negotiations and issues
  • History of the two state solution -emerging positions of the PLO and Israel
  • Israeli leaders (Eshkol, Meir, Begin, Olmert, Rabin, Barak, Netanyahu) and the Arab Israeli conflict since 1967

 

Ian Lustick, University of Pennsylvania (website); www.paradigmlostbook.com

Bess W. Heyman Professor, Political Science Department


  • What If a Two-State Solution is Impossible? The Idea of a One-State Reality
  • Why Hasn’t Israel Officially Declared Sovereignty over East Jerusalem

 

Uriel Abulof, Tel Aviv University, (website)


  • Israel/Palestine: From Existential Conflict to Coexistence?

 

Yael Aronoff, Serling Institute for Jewish Studies and Modern Israel, James Madison College, Michigan State University (website)


  • The Political Psychology of Israeli Prime Ministers: When Hard-Liners Opt for Peace
  • Peering Over the Protective Edge: The Dilemmas of Israel's Asymmetric Wars
  • Pathways to Peace: The Legitimation of a Two State Solution

Israel/Diaspora Relations

Adrian Krupnik, University of Potsdam (website)


  • Anti-Zionism and Latin American Societies
  • Israel and Diaspora Jews: Together Yet Apart
  • Jewish Identities and Domestic Politics: The Case of Argentina.
  • A Historical Perspective on Israeli Migration to Germany.

 

Ilan Troen, Brandeis University (website) /Ben-Gurion University (website)


  • BDS: The view from Israel and from the United States.
    • I am active on both fronts and would compare and comment on the similarities and differences in approaches to the same troubling issue that confronts Jews in both countries.

 

Uriel Abulof, Tel Aviv University, (website)


  • Small Nations: Israeli Jews, Afrikaners and Québécois

Law

Gad Barzilai, University of Haifa (website)


  • Judiciary under Siege: Judicial Making, Litigation and Politics in Israel and Beyond 

 

Ian Lustick, University of Pennsylvania (website); www.paradigmlostbook.com

Bess W. Heyman Professor, Political Science Department


  • Why Hasn’t Israel Officially Declared Sovereignty over East Jerusalem

 

Talia Diskin, Tel Aviv University (website) and Ben-Gurion University of the Negev


  • Challenges of Legal Socialization in Israel: Children's Weeklies as a Test Case, 1948-1958
  • Nation, Class and Gender in Texts for Israeli Children: A Legal Viewpoint
  • State and Pre-State Texts for Children in Israel: What Can They Teach Us About the Law?
  • Legal and Moral Values in Janusz Korczak's works

MENA Jewish experience in Israel

Bat-Zion Eraqi Korman, The Open University of Israel (website)


  • The encounter between Mizrahi and Ashkenazi immigrants in Palestine: social and political conflicts
  • Historiography and the politics of memory: the claim of Yemeni Jews for a share in the Zionist ethos
  • Women contesting traditional patriarchal principles: the Yemeni Jewish community following Immigration to Palestine and Israel
  • The phenomenon of polygamy in Jewish Palestine
  • Maternal sacrifice and the Yemeni Jewish mother: memories and practice in Palestine and Israel
  • Secularism, tradition and (in)tolerance: Yemeni Jews' response to modernity in Israel

Political Science

Alan Dowty, University of Notre Dame (website)


  • How It Began: Origins of the Arab-Israel Conflict
  • Israelis and Palestinians: Has the Gap Narrowed?
  • The Fourth Stage of the Arab-Israel Confict
  • Democracy in Israel
  • Israel: A Nation Like Other Nations, or a People That Dwells Alone?
  • Israel (July 2020 - part of a series published by Polity: "Essential Histories")
  • Current issues of Israeli politics

 

Donna Robinson Divine, Smith College, (website


  • Israel Votes: But Why So Often?
  • By the Waters of Babylon: The Middle East in Crisis or in Transition

 

Ian Lustick, University of Pennsylvania (website); www.paradigmlostbook.com

Bess W. Heyman Professor, Political Science Department


  • What If a Two-State Solution is Impossible? The Idea of a One-State Reality

 

Ilan Troen, Brandeis University (website) /Ben-Gurion University (website)


  • “The Challenge of Theological and Secular Discourses in Validating a Jewish State”
    • An examination of attempts to base Jewish legitimacy in secular terms that are apparently universal and objective, as distinct from the theological discourse that is inevitably welcomed only within communities of fellow believers.  Where do they intersect, complement or contradict one another.
  • How American can Israel become?
  • Using the Declarations of Independence of Israel and of the United States to explain what is shared and what is unique about both societies.  Given the growing critique of Israel by Americans, including Jews, there will be consideration of how much change in Israel can be reasonably expected.

 

Ilan Peleg, Lafayette College (website)


  • The Americanization of Israel Politics: Focussing on the Israeli Right
  • Israel as Jewish & Democratic: The Evolvement of a Sacred Formula
  • The Political Career of Benjamin Netanyahu, 1991-2021
  • The Debate over a Possible Solution: One-State or Two-State Solution in Israel/Palestine
  • The Israeli Political Right: Ideology, Politics & Culture

 

Jonathan Rynhold, Bar-Ilan University (website)


  • The Impact of the U.S. Elections on U.S.-Israeli Relations (He gave this talk during the MSU/Concordia Symposium)
  • The Future of US-Israeli relations
  • The Democrats and Israel
  • The partisan divide over Israel
  • Iran and the Pro-Israel lobby
  • The US-Israel Strategic Relationship
  • American Jews and Pro-Israel Lobbying: Identity, Meaning and Politics

 

Robert Freedman, Johns Hopkins University, (website)


  • US Policy Toward Israel
  • Russian Policy Toward Israel and the Middle East

 

Tamar Hermann, The Open University of Israel (website) and The Israel Democracy Institute (website)

Academic Director, Viterbi Family Center for Public Opinion and Policy Research


  • Israel public opinion
  • Social movements and civil society organizations
  • Israeli politics

 

Uriel Abulof, Tel Aviv University, (website)


  • Israel’s Politics of Fear, Freedom and Bad Faith
  • Happiness Now, Apocalypse Later? Israel and Humanity’s Midlife Crisis

 

Yael Aronoff, Serling Institute for Jewish Studies and Modern Israel, James Madison College, Michigan State University (website)


  • US-Israeli Relations: Influences of Leaders and Elections
  • Israeli Prime Ministers: Transforming the Victimhood Discourse
  • Challenging Netanyahu: The Zionist Center-Left Parties
  • Benjamin Netanyahu: Battling to Survive
  • Continuity and Change in Israeli Political Culture
  • Predicting Peace: The Contingent Nature of Leadership and Domestic Politics in Israel

 

Yoram Peri, University of Maryland, (website)


  • Israeli politics during the election
  • The Gap between the Israeli military and the political leadership
  • The Israeli version of populism
  • Is Israel an illiberal democracy?

Religious Studies

Kimmy Caplan, Bar-Ilan University (website)


  • Religious Trends in Israeli society
  • Haredi society
  • Religious Zionism
  • Status Quo

 

Reuven Gafni, Kinneret College on the Sea of Galilee (website)


  • Under The Dome of the Nation: The Israeli Synagogue between Religion, Nationalism and Statehood 
  • Praying for the State of Israel? Liturgy, Politics and Ethnicity in The Israeli Siddur

 

Masua Sagiv, Bar-Ilan University and Shalom Hartman Institute (website)


  • Strategies for Social Change in Israeli Halachic Feminism
  • Religious Feminism in Israeli Law
  • Israel as a Jewish and Democratic State Today
  • “We the People”? Jewish Peoplehood in Israeli Law
  • The Dynamics of the State Interpreting Religion: The Case of Israel

    Teaching and Pedagogy

    Yael Aronoff, Serling Institute for Jewish Studies and Modern Israel, James Madison College, Michigan State University (website)


    • Pedagogy of Teaching Israel on College Campuses

    War and Peace Between Israel and Its Neighbours

    Raphael Cohen-Almagor, University of Hull, (website)


    • Peace Building, The Arab-Israeli Conflict, and/or War and Peace Between Israel and Its Neighbours.
      • Lectures
        • The 1948 War
        • The 1967 War
        • The 1978 Camp David Peace Summit
        • The 1982 War
        • The Oslo Peace Process
        • The 2000 Camp David Peace Summit
        • Comparing the 1978 and 2000 Camp David Peace Summits
        • Possible Solutions to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
      • The seminar will also include lectures on:
        • The 1956 War
        • The 1973 War
        • The 2006 War

    Zionism

    Arieh Saposnik, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (website)


    • Becoming Hebrew—the Making of a Jewish National Culture
    • Real Estate or Holy Land: Zionism’s Shaping of Place
    • Zionism’s Redemptions: Visions of the Future and their Ambivalent Dialogues With Redemptive Traditions
    • Expounding Exile, Narrating Redemption: Narratives of Zionist History and Visions of the Jewish Future
    • Zionism and the Christian Holy Land
    • Bellum Mundi in Axis Mundy: World War I, the Balfour Declaration and
    • Zionist Visions of Redemption
    • Israel as a Cultural Code
    • Zionism in the Twenty-First Century
    • Wailing Walls and Iron Walls: The Western Wall as Sacred Symbol in Zionist National Iconography
    • Zionism, Territorialism, and Jewish Place

     

    Aviva Halamish, The Open University of Israel (website)


    • Bi-Nationalism in the Ideology and Praxis of Ha-Shomer ha-Tza’ir: A Case of Optical Illusion
    • The Israeli Left and the Soviet Union: Anatomy of One-sided Love Affair
    • Hashomer Hatza'ir: The Interplay of Fundamental Zionism and Revolutionary Socialism
    • Why was the Zionist Left Excluded from Israel's First Elected Government
    • The Interplay of Demography, Geography, and Catastrophe in Shaping Zionist and Israeli Policy
    • Jerusalem in Zionist Ideology, Praxis and Policy 1897-1947

     

    Donna Robinson Divine, Smith College, (website)


    • Zionism and The Transformation of Mandate Palestine into a Place to Call Home for Jews

     

    Ilan Troen, Brandeis University (website) /Ben-Gurion University (website)


    • Imagining Zion: Challenges and Dilemmas in Settling Eretz Israel
      • In this remarkable and ongoing story in which the country grew nearly twenty-fold over the last century emphasis will be on how preconceptions have had to adjust to realities.  

     

    Uriel Abulof, Tel Aviv University, (website)


    • To Be(lieve) or not to Be: The Roles of Judaism in Zionism
    Annual Meeting