Courses Taught

I have taught in Israel, the United States and Singapore. In addition, I have been invited to give classes in a variety of other countries such as Austria, The Netherlands, Hong Kong, Japan, or The United Kingdom.

The following are examples of courses that I have taught:

Japanese Society and Culture

This class will focus on society and culture in contemporary Japan with a special emphasis on sociological and anthropological perspectives. It is divided into three parts: a short historical and social overview of Japan, the analysis of the main stages of the life-course (birth, childhood, education, work, leisure and aging), and a discussion of a number of macro-sociological issues (new values, crises, social problems, and popular culture). Throughout the emphasis will be on the internal diversity of Japanese society and culture. The course is based on readings from sociology, anthropology, and cultural studies. It will also deal with the ways in which social scientists analyze social and cultural phenomena – in other words with different theoretical models of Japanese society. [PDF]

The Sociology and Anthropology of Early Childhood

We shall examine the processes of socialization during a period that is defined as early childhood (from birth to entry to school). We shall begin by understanding the sociological perspective to socialization that is complementary to the psychological one. Understanding the main concepts of socialization in sociology and anthropology will allow us to understand how cultural definitions of the development of children influence the behaviors of parents, educators, or the peer-group. We will continue on to examine how processes of socialization in different frameworks bring the individual to adopt certain actions that are defined as appropriate. We shall continue to see how these in turn form part of the internal life of children and their identities.  We will look at different arenas for socialization such as ritual, play, children’s literature, or toys. [PDF]

Violence, the State and the Military

The aim of this course is to explore and examine the social, cultural, and psychological aspects of violence as they relate to the armed forces of modern nation-states. Violence means those physically aggressive behaviors that do, or potentially could, cause injury or death. In this sense, it refers both to the physical acts of aggression themselves and to their consequences. After dealing with some contemporary views about violence, the course goes on to deal with the historical development of modern nation-states and the emergence of their militaries as bearers of the legitimate use of the means of violence. The rest of the course will be devoted to exploring various (macro and micro-level) issues related to the use, “operation,” and “management” of violence within and by military establishments. [PDF]

The Military in Israeli Society

The aim of this course is to undertake an analysis of the military in Israeli society and culture. The course proceeds from the centrality of the military in contemporary Israel in terms of individual experiences, political decision-making, cultural ceremonies and the allocation of resources. The emphasis will be on discussing the major issues and theoretical approaches to the study of “things military” in contemporary Israel: that is, the social and cultural concerns related to (and derived from) the armed forces, war, and provisions for “national security. In addition, we will devote a number of lessons to the analysis of the place of the Israeli military in contemporary conflicts with the Palestinians and the Hizbullah. Interspersed throughout the course will be a number of movie showings (ranging from short documentaries and You-Tube presentations to a limited number of full-length features), fictional short stories, and autobiographical material. The aim of these activities is to familiarize students with problems and places characterizing the issues dealt with, and to raise questions for analysis and discussion during class.[PDF]

Introduction Anthropology: A Cultural Approach

What is culture? What is it comprised of? How is it organized? What are cultural differences? These are classic questions that anthropology has been trying to answer since its beginning. In complex societies these questions are intensified because of the cultural, ethnic, national or religious meeting of different groups that are sometimes in conflict. This course will introduce the basic concepts of anthropology for analyzing culture with an emphasis on the variety of human societies. We will begin with understanding the uniqueness of anthropology and will go on to explore some institutions and social processes that appear to be different in diverse cultures. During classes I will also introduce basic concepts such as social structure, interaction, reciprocity, transaction, interests, meaning, ritual, or play. [PDF]

Rituals and Symbols: Anthropological Perspectives

In this seminar we will deal with the complex relations between rituals, symbols and behavior. In the introduction to the course we shall deal with central questions and concept s derived from this focus and explore such issues as key symbols, assumptions about causality, the structure of rituals or the special character of sacred space and sacred time. We shall focus especially on the move of ritual from simple to complex societies, sorcery and witchcraft, sacred places or the ways in which symbols are “charged” with emotions. Where possible, we shall base our understanding on the experience of the students.[PDF]

Anthropology and Organizations

This seminar will deal with anthropological approaches to organizations and organizational life. Its focus will primarily be on the discipline’s ethnographic contribution and the emphasis on processes, the creation of meaning and organizational cultures. The last part of the seminar will be devoted to the ways that anthropological analyses can link the micro and macro levels of analysis. Among the issues dealt with are meetings, cultural aspect of technology, the resistance of workers, bureaucratic logic and rituals, and the discipline of anthropology itself as an organization.[PDF]

Readings in Contemporary Sociological and Anthropological Theory

The aim of this course is to undertake a systematic analysis of the concept of “culture” as it has been used in the past two decades or so in social theory. Drawing from contemporary studies based in anthropology, sociology and history, the course begins by examining some of the major theoretical approaches utilizing the concept of culture, its derivatives, or allied concepts. The second part of the course will involve a series of “cases” or “locations” where the analysis of culture has opened up new issues for analysis and furthered the theorization of contemporary societies. These locations include such themes as the state, organizations, science, or transnationalism. The aim of this part of the course is to elucidate the manner by which conceptualizations of culture are used in empirical research. [PDF]

Advanced Research Workshop

The aim of this advanced research workshop is to prepare students to conduct and present independent empirical. This is not a “methods” class in the ordinary sense of a series of lectures or exercises centering on statistical methods and the design of research. Rather, we shall devote class meetings to three sets of issues. The first entails a systematic discussion of the main issues involved in conducting and presenting research (such as carrying out literature surveys or defining a research problem). The second will involve the analysis of typical published studies which we will “take apart” in order to understand how their elementary forms were turned into a finished piece. The third set will include a series of meetings with researchers from academic institutions who will come and talk about their research. [PDF]