Diversity & Democracy: Teaching Life Writing to Jewish and Palestinian Israelis

Date: 
02/04/2019 - 7:00pm to 9:00pm
Location: 
Hilary J. Boone Center
Speaker(s) / Presenter(s): 
Ilana Blumberg

Having moved from the United States to Israel, Ilana Blumberg will discuss what it means to teach English literature in an Israeli university where social diversity isn't just an aim, it's an everyday reality. As questions of democracy and equality are debated in the Israeli media and government, what does the actual pursuit of those ideals look like in a college classroom filled with half Jewish Israelis and half Palestinian Israelis? How does a professor make use of the opportunities of the social integration of the classroom without politicizing it in ways that inhibit students from the freedom to learn? What is the place of contemporary and local politics in a college classroom devoted to the study of literature and the liberal arts? Ilana will discuss how her approach to the study of literature shifted with her move to new students, the Israeli context, and the ever-present, elusive desire for equality, co-existence, and peace.

Ilana Blumberg is the author of Houses of Study: a Jewish Woman among Books (University of Nebraska Press, 2008), winner of the Sami Rohr Choice Award, and Victorian Sacrifice: Ethics and Economics in Mid-Century Novels (Ohio State UP, 2013). She is also the author of the memoir, Open Your Hand: Teaching as a Jew, Teaching as an American (Rutgers UP, 2019), where she writes about her experiences teaching in a wide range of classrooms, from kindergarten through university.

Blumberg is Senior Lecturer in English at Bar Ilan University where she coordinates the Creative Non-Fiction track in the Shaindy Rudoff Program in Creative Writing. She previously taught at Michigan State University for ten years, where she was awarded the university’s Teacher-Scholar Award.

The event is free and open to the public. Free parking is available in the Boone Center lot (enter from Columbia Avenue, yes, it is gated, but the gate will be opened for exit or there will be tokens available from the Boone Center's main desk). There will also be a free dessert reception immediately following the lecture.

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