Fall 2005 Scholar-in-Residence: Nimrod Hurvitz, Professor of Middle Eastern Studies, Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Israel
A senior lecturer at Ben-Gurion University, Israel, and currently a research fellow
at Harvard Law School's Islamic Legal Studies Program, Hurvitz earned his B.A. and
M.A. from Tel Aviv University in Middle and Near Eastern studies and earned his Ph.D.
from Princeton University in the Department of Near Eastern Studies with a disertaion
on Islamic orthodoxy. He has held several Princeton University fellowships, was a
Fulbright scholar and a fellow at the Institute of Advanced Studies at Hebrew University
in Jerusalem. His main areas of scholarly interest are Islamic religious movements
in the medieval period and Abbasid courtly culture. He is most recently the author
of The Formation of Hanbalism: Piety into Power (2002), as well as numerous articles on a range of subjects within Islam scholarship.
In his work, Hurvitz makes use of a broadly interdisciplinary approach, focusing particularly
on the interplay between social history and the history of ideas. As a politically
engaged academic, Hurvitz has been involved in efforts to breach the many gulfs between
Israeli and Palestinian politicians and intellectuals. A former chair of the Chaim
Herzog Center for Middle East Studies and Diplomacy (a research and conference center),
Hurvitz has also been part of an Israeli contingent (headed by Dror Zeevi, the fall
2004 Greenberg Scholar-in-Residence) in "second-track" talks with Palestinian politicians
and intellectuals. During his residency at Skidmore, Hurvitz will be guest-teaching
in Professor Steven Hoffmann's government course on the Middle East, delivering a
public lecture (see below) and meeting informally with faculty and students. He has
also been actively engaged in developing the series of lectures and visits by scholars
and experts (also listed below).
Fall 2005 Events
"Faith and Regime in the Middle East," a lecture by Greenberg Middle East Scholar-in-Residence Professor Nimrod Hurvitz,
September 21, 2005 8 p.m., Davis Auditorium
"Gaza Disengagement: Politics and Identity in Israel," a lecture by Ehud Eiran, research fellow at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at the Kennedy School at Harvard University, October 5, 2005, 8 p.m., Davis Auditorium
"New Thinking on the Creation of the Palestinian Refugee Problem," a lecture by Benny Morris, professor of history at Ben-Gurion University and author of The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem Revisited (Cambridge UP, 2004), October 17, 2005 8 p.m., Gannett Auditorium
"Palestinian Views on Prospects for Peace," a lecture by Khalil Shikaki, director of the Palestine Center for Political and Survey Research in Ramallah, October 31, 2005, 8 p.m., Davis Auditorium
Ehud Eiran, research fellow at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at the Kennedy School at Harvard University, holds degrees in political science and law from Tel Aviv University, an M.A. in international relations from Cambridge University and is currently a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Politics at Brandeis University. Eiran was a senior fellow at the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School from 2003 to 2005, where he worked on issues relating to the Israeli settlements in the West Bank and Gaza. He has been a legal clerk for two Israeli attorney generals and served as an assistant to Prime Minister Ehud Barak's foreign policy advisor. In his last posting in the prime minister's office, he worked on Israeli-U.S. relations and the Israeli-Syrian peace negotiations. Eiran served as an officer in the Israeli Army and is currently a Reserve major. As a volunteer, he has worked with Israeli and U.S. youth groups and with the Israeli Center for Psychological Support for Holocaust Survivors.
A 1997 recipient of the British Chevening Award and the 2002 winner of the Morris Abrams Award, Eiran was also awarded a certificate of distinction in teaching from the Bok Center at Harvard University and an Outstanding Teaching Fellow award from Brandeis University.
He has published papers and articles in a variety of academic and political journals, his opinion pieces have been published in numerous papers in the United States, Israel, and India and he has been a guest on a number of National Public Radio shows.
Benny Morris, professor of history at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev since 1997, received his B.A. from Hebrew University in Jerusalem in European history and philosophy and his Ph.D. from Cambridge University in modern European history. Morris was born in Israel in 1948, the child of English immigrants. He was schooled in Jerusalem and New York City, completed his military service in 1967–69 and upon completing his graduate studies was from 1978 to 1991 on staff at the Jerusalem Post as a diplomatic correspondent and journalist. Currently a visiting scholar at the University of Maryland, Morris is the author of numerous books, including The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem, 1947–1949 (Cambridge UP, 1988); 1948 and After (Oxford University Press, 1990); Israel's Border Wars, 1949–1956 (Oxford University Press, 1993); Righteous Victims, a History of the Arab-Zionist Conflict (Knopf, 1999); The Road to Jerusalem (Tauris, 2002); and The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem Revisited (Cambridge University Press, 2004); and numerous articles in scholarly journals as well as other journals, magazines and newspapers.
Well-known as the leading "new historian" in Israel for his research into the period surrounding Israeli independence in 1948, and in particular the origins of the Palestinian refugee problem, his scholarly work and his public discourse has brought him much attention, acclaim and acrimony. Initially embraced by the Israeli left and excoriated from the right for his illusion-shattering work on the founding of the State of Israel, his reception has in many venues since reversed itself, his work becoming a touchstone for many about the character of the state of Israel. Notwithstanding the variety of political implications his work appears to suggest, his research has been praised for its thoroughness, for its sophistication and appreciation of nuance and for the avoidance of easy or angry attribution of moral responsibility even while it brings into question the various myths cherished by Israelis and Arabs alike.
Khalil Shikaki, associate professor of political science and director of the Palestine Center for Political and Survey Research in Ramallah, which has conducted more than 100 polls among Palestinians in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip since 1993. Shikaki is this fall a senior research fellow at the Crown Center for Middle East Studies at Brandeis University. He received his Ph.D. from Columbia University in 1985 and has taught at several universities, including Bir Zeit University, al-Najah National University, the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee and the University of South Florida at Tampa, and has been a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington D.C.
Between 1998 and 1999, jointly with Yezid Sayigh, Shikaki led a group of more than 25 Palestinian and foreign experts on Palestinian institution-building, the findings of which were published in a Council on Foreign Relations report Strengthening Palestinian Public Institutions (New York: Council on Foreign Relations, 1999). Since then, Shikaki has continued to work with the sponsors of the report, the Independent Task Force on Strengthening Palestinian Public Institutions, advising them on Palestinian reform and annually updating the 1999 report. His recent publications include Palestinian Public Opinion and the Peace Process: Long Term Trends and Policy Implications (Washington DC: United States Institute of Peace, 2005); "The Future of Palestine," Foreign Affairs (November–December 2004); Building a State, Building a Peace: How to make a Roadmap that Works for Palestinians and Israelis (The Brookings Institution: Washington D.C., Summer 2003); The Israeli-Palestinian Peace Process: Oslo and the Lessons of Failure (East Sussex: Sussex Academic Press, 2002), co-editor with Robert Rothstein and Moshe Ma'oz; "Self-Serving Perception of Terrorism Among Israelis and Palestinians," Political Psychology (September 2002), with Jacob Shamir; among many others.
He has written numerous opinion pieces and articles for Arabic, American, European and Asian newspapers including al Sharq al Awsat, al Quds, al Ayyam, Daily Star, the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, International Herald Tribune, Guardian, Le Stampa and LaVanguardia.