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Undergraduate Scholars Conference in Israel Studies

Israel – Between East and West

Photo for Undergraduate Scholars Conference in Israel

Leftt: Old City Jerusalem Market (Photo: Terrazzo/Wikimedia Commons) CC BY 2.0 Right: Skyscrapers in Tel Aviv (Photo: Tfeliz/Wikimedia Commons) CC BY-SA 3.0

A conference for undergraduate scholars examining Israel's multiple identities.

Sunday, June 2, 2019
10:30 AM - 4:15 PM
UCLA Dodd Hall, Room 121
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Full Conference Program Now Available

The UCLA Y&S Nazarian Center for Israel Studies invites submissions to its 2nd annual Undergraduate Scholars Conference in Israel Studies on Sunday, June 2, 2019.

Those interested in attending as spectators can RSVP here.

About the Conference

The State of Israel is geographically located in the Middle East and yet it has always been considered, both by most of its supporters and enemies, to be a representative of the cultural West. Many Middle Easterners have rejected its existence and considered it a colonial transplant in the region. Yet since the 1990’s it has begun a process of normalization which has seen it hesitantly accepted as an important regional actor.

Culturally, Israel traditionally looked to Western Europe and the United States as it role model. Yet significant elements of the country's social fabric, its music and cuisine are uniquely Israeli and in many aspects are unmistakably Middle Eastern. Caught between multiple identities: which is the real Israel?


Presentations and papers may cover aspects of the Israeli past (e.g.,the pre-state settlement in Palestine), present and future, including but not limited to: societal diversity/divisions; culture (art, music, film & tv, cuisine); religion; immigration; democracy; regional geopolitics; Israeli-Palestinian conflict; politics and government; economic development and science/technology innovations; environmental sustainability; and land use/urban planning.


Undergraduate students are invited to submit abstracts of 100-250 words for presentations based on their research and original analysis (e.g., based on a paper written for a class, or research project conducted as part of a larger effort or primarily for the purposes of the conference).

Diverse philosophical, theoretical and methodological approaches are welcome. The estimated time for each presentation is 10-12 minutes.


Students are also encouraged to submit a complete paper (including papers submitted in a current or past class) for the conference (8-15 pages in length, minus bibliography).

Please note that students interested in presenting at the conference do not need to submit a paper. However, all students who wish to submit a paper must submit an abstract first and present in-person at the conference.


Awards will be given for the top presentations and best papers. Papers will be judged based on originality, depth of research and analysis, and quality of writing.

Awards for first-place presentation and first-place paper: $350 (for each winner)

Second place in each category: $150

Due Dates

Abstract submissions are due by: Friday, May 17
Students will be notified as to whether their abstracts have been accepted for presentation by: Monday, May 20

Paper submissions are due by: Friday, May 24 (only students whose abstracts have been accepted for presentation and who plan to present in person at the conference may submit papers)

Travel Allowances

Students planning on attending the conference can request a travel allowance (up to $300/student is available) when submitting their abstracts.

Those seeking funding will need to:

  1. Provide the address from which they will be traveling (only students traveling from outside of Los Angeles County are eligible for this assistance) when they submit their abstract
  2. After the conference, submit their mileage count to the Y&S Nazarian Center for reimbursement if they drove or submit receipts for tickets purchased for travel to the conference by other means, e.g., air or train travel.    

Please note that there are no registration fees for students joining the conference.


If you have any questions, please contact Dr. Shaiel Ben-Ephraim, Y&S Nazarian Center Postdoctoral Fellow, at shaielb@ucla.edu.