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Israel: History, Culture, & Society


This trip is linked to several CU courses, most notably to “Modern Middle East” (HST-358) taught by Dr. Scott Bennett & “Multi-Ethnic Literature” (EN-375) taught by Dr. Pamela Rader.  Beyond these courses, the trip will engage themes embedded in other History courses (World History I/II); in Political Science courses (International Relations; Comparative Politics); and in Religious Studies courses.

 The trip’s main focus & themes will be: (1) History of Israel/Palestine since the 1880s; (2) Israeli-Palestinian conflict (causes, issues, solutions); (3) Jerusalem (religious & historical city); and (4) cultural interactions & multiple perspectives (religious & secular).


  • Jerusalem
  • Bethlehem
  • Sea of Galilee/ Nazareth
  • Tel Aviv
  • Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum


HST358 Modern Middle East Modern Israel and the Arab-Israeli conflict are major themes in this course. We will explore Zionism, the Jewish settlement in Palestine, the creation of Israel, and the causes, consequences, and solutions of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  We will reflect on the tragedies of the Jewish and Palestinian peoples: the Holocaust, in which 6 million Jews were murdered; and the Nakba, or “catastrophe,” in which 700,000 Palestinians were displaced and dispossessed in 1948 at the time of Israel’s creation.  We will also consider Islam, Jerusalem’s role as a holy city for three major world religions, and the role of women in Israel/Palestine. 

EN375 US Multi-Ethnic Literature A study of multi-ethnic American literature from the 20th and 21st centuries. Students will gain a critical framework for reading and interpreting these literary works, which may include a variety of genres such as autobiography, fiction, poetry, and folktales. Prerequisites: One 100-level literature course.  Students enrolled in this course and the Israel Study Abroad Program will have an opportunity to read literature about and by refugees and descendants of Holocaust survivors; these texts will prepare students for a visit to Yad Vashem in Jerusalem. We will read literature from the Jewish Diaspora.


Faculty Leaders

Dr. Scott Bennett –  Dr. Scott H. Bennett, professor of history, is a historian of the United States and contemporary global history.  He has an interest in U.S. rebels, reformers, & radicals and in war, peace, & society–and has published books and articles on antiwar dissent, peace activism, and radical pacifism.  For ten years, he taught in international schools in El Salvador, Italy, and Denmark, and, more recently, taught at Leiden University, in the Netherlands, for a semester.  He has led students on dozens of trips to sites of historical and cultural significance in Europe, Vietnam, and the mid-Atlantic region.  He believes that travel is a transformative experience.

Dr. Pamela Rader –An alumnus of an undergraduate study abroad program in Avignon, France, Dr. Pamela Rader believes in the transformative power of global education and experiential learning. She has also lived abroad while teaching at Université Bordeaux Montaigne in Bordeaux, France. Dr. Rader and a group of English majors traveled to Paris for one of GCU’s first faculty-led trips, Literary Paris (2015). With another colleague, she coordinated a hiking-creative writing program on the Wicklow Way of Ireland (2017); program members hiked upwards of 10 or more miles/day on this program. Dr. Rader enjoys teaching literature and writing in GCU’s English Department. When possible, she continues to design travel around hiking, walking, and writing.

Program Costs


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