Karen Grumberg

Associate ProfessorPh.D.- 2004, University of California- Los Angeles

Karen Grumberg


  • Phone: 471-5134
  • Office: WMB 6.116
  • Office Hours: Tuesday 2:30 - 4:00
  • Campus Mail Code: F9400


Contemporary Hebrew literature and comparative Jewish literatures (Hebrew, French, English)


Affiliated Research/Academic Unit

  • Ctr for Jewish Studies
  • Program in Comparative Literature 
  • Department of Middle Eastern Studies 
  • Center for Middle Eastern Studies


J S 363 • Israel/Palestine: Cultrl Persp

39274 • Fall 2015
Meets TTH 1100am-1230pm PAR 301
(also listed as C L 323, MEL 321, MES 342)

This upper-division course approaches the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians through a multifaceted cultural lens. The course begins with a consideration of the two major national identities at stake to better understand how they contribute to the collective imagination and to representations of the conflict. To this end, the semester is divided into five sections, each one devoted to a different cultural phenomenon: 1. Visual Culture (Film, photography, art) 2. Literature (Novels, short stories, poetry, theater) 3. Music 4. Spatial Culture (Architecture and Landscape) 5. New Media (Blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) The goal is for students to be exposed to the multivalent and complex reverberations of the conflict beyond the political and into the everyday lived experience of being Israeli and Palestinian -- in other words, to humanize the conflict through culture.


Texts will include (among others): - films: Ari Folman’s Waltz with Bashir, Eran Riklis’s Zaytoun, and Elia Suleiman’s Divine Intervention; - photography exhibits such as Bashir Makhoul’s Enter Ghost, Exit Ghost and Noel Jabbour’s Palestinian Interiors; - art such as Sivan Hurvitz’s graphic illustrations; - writings by Amos Oz (Nomad and Viper), Etgar Keret (Cocked and Locked), David Grossman (excerpts from The Yellow Wind), Mahmoud Darwish (poetry), and Ghassan Kanafani (from In the Land of the Sad Orange); - music by Daniel Barenboim and Edward Said’s West-Eastern Divan Orchestra as well as traditional and popular artists; - essays on the importance of particular landscape features (such as olive and eucalyptus trees, forests, and the sea) as well as features or types of built environment (the kibbutz, the Palestinian village); - blog posts and new media campaigns for awareness and activism (Electronic Intifada, Jewish Voice for Peace, and others).

Grading Policy

Partner or Group Presentations: 15%. Students will present either in small groups on one of the five categories outlined above. The topic will be chosen in consultation with the instructor and will entail research. Presentations will be ongoing throughout the semester. - Analytical Paper: 20%. A critical comparative analysis of two texts (4-5 pages). - Essay Exams: An essay-based midterm exam (20%) and a final exam (25%). - Participation (20%): Vigorous, regular participation in class discussion. - Possible Extra-Credit Assignments: A creative project (a short film, work of art, poem, etc., relevant to the class topic); a response or short reaction paper to a relevant text not on the syllabus; a response or short reaction paper to a relevant lecture.

J S 363 • Isrl/Palestn Confl In Lit/Film

40380 • Spring 2011
Meets TTH 930am-1100am PAR 203
(also listed as C L 323, HEB 374, MES 322K)

Course Description

This upper-division undergraduate course will examine literary and cinematic representations ofelements of the Israel/Palestine conflict by the most important Israeli, Palestinian, and “Arab Israeli”writers and filmmakers. In a discussion-intensive course, students will be exposed to diverseperspectives of the conflict. Some of the central questions we will investigate are: What effect canliterature and film have on the conflict? Conversely, what effect has the conflict had on literature andfilm? Do authors and filmmakers on any side of the conflict have a moral obligation to represent it, or torepresent it in a particular way? What is the author or artist’s role in places at war? No knowledge ofHebrew or Arabic is necessary.


Ghassan Kanafani, from Men In the Sun; Mahmoud Darwish, from Unfortunately, It Was ParadiseAnton Shammas, Arabesques. Additional textbooks will be provided by the instructor.

Grading & Requirements

Quiz 10%Active Participation 20%Essay Exam 1 20%Essay Exam 2 20%Final Essay Exam 30%

J S 363 • Sacr/Sec In Contemp Jewish Lit

39965 • Fall 2010
Meets TTH 930am-1100am MEZ 1.120
(also listed as E 322, HEB 374, MES 322K, R S 353)

This course will examine contemporary Jewish literature from the U.S., France, and Israel, in terms of their relationship (or lack thereof) with Judaism and Jewishness. In this context, we will read well-known works by several major authors from each country. How does their work interpret Jewishness, if at all? Does it redefine the sacred? Conversely, what is the role of the secular in these texts? We will consider these and other questions, taking into account not only nationality, but also gender, ethnicity, and generational differences.



Mind-Body Problem, Counterlife, Pillar of Salt, Book of My Mother, Shadows of a Childhood, City of Many Days, Lover, Dolly City. Additional information regarding textbooks will be provided by the instructor.



To be provided by the instructor.


SPECIAL NOTE: This course satisfies Area V requirements for English and Area II requirements for Religious Studies.

Curriculum Vitae

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