Abstract and Keywords
This chapter charts the growth of Israel studies from 1985, when it emerged as as a distinct field of academic scholarship in the United States, to its present international position. From the self-examination of Zionist settlers to academic writings during the Mandate period and the early years of the state, the subject has taken root in the last three decades particularly in Israel and the United States. The development of what is legitimately considered Israel studies began decades earlier, primarily in Israel. During the formative period essential characteristics were established, especially a proclivity toward comparative perspectives that were first anchored in European academic culture but increasingly became American oriented after World Waw II and Israel’s independence. More recently the globalization of the field and its growing interest among non-Israelis and non-Jews promise innovative inquiries in a discourse that is often contentious, not only in relation to the Israeli-Arab conflict but also to many internal topics.
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