Teaching the Gaza Conflict

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As I write this, a cease-fire has just been announced in the Israel-Gaza conflict. Hopeful news, but also a reminder of how tenuous peace can be in the world today. I’ve been thinking about how I might teach this event in our first-year writing class, because I always want students to think about how what they read and write and think about in the classroom connects to, interacts with, and can shape the world around them.Several essays from Emerging spring to mind. The natural place to start, I think, would be Madeleine Albright’s “Faith and Diplomacy,” about the role of religion in international relations. Coming from a US-centric perspective, we tend to think strongly about separating church and state. But as long as we hold onto that perspective, we lose sight of the fact that church is state in many places in the world and that a people’s faith has a profound impact on national relations in even more places. The current situation in the Middle East would be a useful test case for Albright’s claims about faith-based diplomacy.More interesting, though, might be Thomas Friedman’s “The Dell Theory of Conflict Prevention.” Friedman’s basic premise is that any two countries embedded in the same global supply chain will not risk their position in that chain by going to war. But what about countries that aren’t countries? That don’t have the economic engines necessary to enter supply chains? What about Gaza? For that matter, what about Tibet? Friedman’s discussion of terrorism and rogue supply chains would be an interesting tool of analysis, too. And given the technological nature of the conflict, with Israel’s “Iron Dome” and the longer-range missiles used by Hamas, Friedman’s final thoughts about the benefits of collaboration might be challenged by thinking about the supply chains of war.
About the Author
Barclay Barrios is an Associate Professor of English and Director of Writing Programs at Florida Atlantic University, where he teaches freshman composition and graduate courses in composition methodology and theory, rhetorics of the world wide web, and composing digital identities. He was Director of Instructional Technology at Rutgers University and currently serves on the board of Pedagogy. Barrios is a frequent presenter at professional conferences, and the author of Emerging.