Saturday, October 27, 2007

School started last week.

School started last Sunday. Tomorrow is the start of the 2nd week of classes. I have found a job teaching/tutoring English in a private English center. The job pays really well--double minimum wage. It's fun, challenging, and frustrating all at the same time.

As for school: all my classes meet once a week, for 4 hours at a time. This is not necessarily the way the program is designed, but these are the courses I've chosen.

Sunday: Beginning Arabic, taught by an amazing professor. She has her doctorate from Harvard in Semitic languages. She is originally American, made aliyah 4 years ago, knows English, Hebrew, Modern Standard Arabic, Biblical Hebrew, Egyptian Arabic, and is working on her Jerusalem Arabic. (More later on the different "dialects" of Arabic). We learned the beginning of the alphabet: alif, bet, teh, th, wow, and yeh. It seemed really hard at first, but now it's starting to come together.

Monday: The Production of Resistance in Arab Societies and Beyond. This class reminds me of the Mass Communications classes I took when I was a Mass Comm major at Berkeley. In our first meeting, we talked about Foucault (who I absolutely despise from my experience reading him in the worst class I ever took at Cal--Indian History) and listened to an Egyptian resistance song. Half of the classes will be taught by a Palestinian professor, who recently published a book entitled "Palestinian Political Prisoners: Identity and Community." First reading this weekend was about hegemony.

Tuesday: Ottoman State and Society: Themes in History and Historiography. This class is a little dry, but it seems to be important for understanding the Middle East. Reading so far has included Hourani and some methodological texts. Like I said, not the most thrilling, but important.

Wednesday: Israel/Palestine: Politics of Land and Identity. This is what I've been looking forward to. Last week, our class met on the 12th anniversary of Yitzak Rabin's assassination. This topic was the lead in to our discussion. From Rabin's assassination, one sees so many of the problems going on here: religious vs secular, arabs vs israelis, ashkenazim vs sepharadim, and so on. We then went on to talk about the history of how Israel got to be in its current state, since the Second Diaspora.

I listed 3 classes and Arabic. I will be taking a fourth class, a mini course on the Muslim Mediterranean City (3 weeks of 12 hrs per week) at the end of the semester. It's taught by a Harvard professor.

Am leaving soon to take the bus back to Beer Sheva after the weekend in Tel Aviv.

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