Academic resources for understanding Israel and Palestine

Dear Rice Community,

Over the course of the fall semester, we have heard from students and faculty about the interest and need for additional education on the history, language and cultural aspects relevant to the ongoing conflict in Israel and Gaza and its impact on our Israeli, Palestinian, Jewish and Muslim communities. As we look ahead to the spring, we would like to provide an update about new and existing resources that will further equip Rice students to have meaningful, informed conversations.

Notably, we are forming an advisory group consisting of faculty experts and student leaders who will assist in planning academic panel discussions that offer historical and cultural knowledge. The group will consist of faculty whose specialty is in related subjects such as history, religion, Jewish and Judaic studies, Islamic studies, modern Arab studies and other related fields, as well as faculty from the Boniuk Institute. The events they hold this spring will be limited to current Rice students and held in safe, on-campus environments.

In the interim, we urge students to continue to learn more about the history, cultures, and politics that impact the region and beyond. Some students already have benefited from courses offered this fall, which have deepened and broadened their understanding. These courses include First and Second-Year Arabic I, Intro to Biblical Hebrew, Modern Middle East, Israeli Women Writers, Life of Prophet Muhammad, Basic Coptic I, Arabic Texts, and American Judaism.

We encourage students to take advantage of several more related courses offered this spring. You’ll find them listed below with the corresponding course numbers.

As an institution of higher learning, we take seriously our responsibility to foster thoughtful, informed and well-reasoned dialogue that builds healthy communities here in Houston and around the world. Our hope is that these resources and the conversations we have in and outside of the classroom contribute to a campus environment where all can learn, explore, debate and flourish.

Warm regards,

Amy Dittmar, Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs

Bridget Gorman, Dean of Undergraduates

Seiichi Matsuda, Dean of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies