The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Rothberg International School,

Division of Undergraduate Studies
Autumn Semester, 2018-19


48748: Hostility and Dialogue:

Narratives and Social-Psychological Dynamics of Intergroup Conflict


Dr. Yiftach Ron


Office hours: By appointment



I. Course Description:

Conflict-supporting narratives, collective memories and identities, and psychological factors such as intergroup bias, selective information processing, and resistance to change play a major role in the eruption and the persistence of intergroup conflicts. Despite the recognition of the negative role played by such factors in preserving intergroup conflicts, little attention is devoted to possibilities of dialogue between conflicting identities and narratives as part of intergroup contact and dialogue encounters held in settings of ethno-political diversity and conflict.

This course aims to enable a reflective encounter with social and psychological dynamics of intergroup relations, and with identities and narratives related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as they are represented in fictional and documentary films. The course will include experiential learning based on participation in dialogue in the classroom, alongside conceptualization. The following topics will be covered during the course: Social-psychological dynamics of intergroup relations; narratives and life stories in a multicultural society; personal and collective identities in settings of intergroup conflict; and models of intergroup encounter.


II. Course Requirements:

Participation: 10% of final grade

Oral class presentation: 20%

Final paper: 70%


III. Pre-requisites:

An introductory course in psychology, sociology or other relevant discipline in the social sciences


IV. Tentative list of Topics:

Explaining intergroup hostility

1.      Introduction

2.      Explaining intergroup hostility: Conformity, group pressure and obedience to authority

Haslam S. A., Reicher S., Birney M. E. (2016). Questioning authority: New perspectives on Milgram’s ‘obedience’ research and its implications for intergroup relations. Current Opinion in Psychology, 11, 6–9. E-JOURNAL

3.      Obedience and the psychological effects of perceived power: From Milgram and Zimbardo to Derren Brown

Optional reading: Neill, C. (2016), Ethics and Psychology: Beyond Codes of Practice. Chapter 2: A Familiar Scene). New-York: Routledge.             JOS on order   

4.      Authoritarian personality, Stereotypes, prejudice and intergroup biases

Moghaddam, F. M. (2008). Rationality: From Freud to the authoritarian personality. In F. M. Moghaddam (Ed.), Multiculturalism and intergroup relations: Psychological implications for democracy in global context. Washington DC: American Psychological Association, 49-58. E-BOOK

Optional reading: Stephan, W. G. & Stephan, C. W. (2000). An integrated threat theory of prejudice. In S. Oskamp (Ed.), Reducing prejudice and discrimination (pp. 23-46). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum. ERESERVE; Overseas Library 303.3 O828

5.      The realistic conflict theory and the social identity theory

Tajfel, H. & Turner, J. C. (1986). The Social Identity Theory of Intergroup Behavior.  In S. Worchel and W.G Austin (Eds.), Psychology of Intergroup Relations. Chicago: Nelson-Hall. 7-24. ERESERVE; Main Library HM 133 P795

Optional reading: Sherif, M. (1958). Superordinate goals in the reduction of intergroup conflicts. American Journal of Sociology, 63, 349-356. E-JOURNAL

Narratives and life stories in settings of diversity and conflict

6.      Narrativity and life stories

Pasupathi M., Mansour E., Brubaker J.R. (2007). Developing a Life Story: Constructing Relations between Self and Experience in Autobiographical Narratives. Human Development 50. 85–110. E-JOURNAL

Optional reading: White, H. (1980). The Value of Narrativity in the Representation of Reality. Critical Inquiry, 7 (1), 5-27. E-JOURNAL

7-8. Watching a movie: Stories We Tell (directed by Sarah Polley) Overseas Library DVD 125M

9-10. Identities and personal narratives in our group

11. The ethos of conflict in Palestinian society and culture;  Being Palestinian in Israel

Watching an episode from The Writer by Sayed Kashua JOS on order

Optional reading: Jamal, A. (2011). Arab Minority Nationalism in Israel: The Politics of Indigeneity. New-York: Routledge. Overseas Library E301.32(A) J271 ;  Main Library HN 660 A8 J355 2011

12. The ethos of conflict in Israeli society and culture

Hammack, P.L. (2008). Narrative and the cultural psychology of identity. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 12(3), 222-247. E-JOURNAL

13-14. Watching a documentary film: Promises (by B.Z. Goldberg) Education library V.CAS M324.1A PRO ;  JOS Google video


Narratives and Identities in Dialogue

15. Field trip to The Hand in Hand Jerusalem School

16. Palestinians and Jews in Jerusalem (guest lecture)

17. The contact hypothesis and the coexistence approach to intergroup contact

Maoz, I. (2011). Does contact work in protracted asymmetrical conflict? Appraising 20 years of reconciliation-aimed encounters between Israeli Jews and Palestinians. Journal of Peace Research, 48(1), 115-125. E-JOURNAL

18. The confrontational approach to intergroup dialogue

Halabi, R. & Sonnenschein, N. (2004). The Jewish-Palestinian encounter in a time of crisis. Journal of Social Issues, 60(2), 373-387. E-JOURNAL

Optional reading: Saguy, T., Tausch, N., Dovidio, J.F., & Pratto, F. (2009). The irony of harmony: Intergroup contact can produce false expectations for equality. Psychological Science, 20, 114-12. E-JOURNAL

19. The narrative model of intergroup encounter: Watching a film: Two sided Story (directed by Tor Ben Mayor) JOS on order

Bar-On, D. & Kassem, F. (2004). Storytelling as a way to work through intractable conflicts: The German-Jewish experience and its relevance to the Palestinian-Israeli context. Journal of Social Issues, 60(2), 289-306. E-JOURNAL

20. Field trip to Neve Shalom

21. Students' presentations

22.  Students' presentations / Summary

V. Final Paper Submission

By Sunday December 30, 2018