Special Subject: Israel–US Special Relations and the New Diplomatic History Part B (V1472B)

15 credits, Level 6

Spring teaching

There are two principal characteristics of the old Diplomatic History: firstly, it concentrates on the relationship between states, and secondly, it is based on diplomatic documents located in national archives. New Diplomatic History aims to widen both the scope of discussion and its source materials. A good example of the impact of the new diplomatic history will be the special relationship between the United States and Israel. Scholars studied these relations on the state level as well as through the study of the interactions between states and diplomats. For reasons that will be discussed in the module, this approach was unable to address the question of why those relationships were formed, and why they endured for so long.

In this module, we will examine those issues by expanding the scope of study and assuming that diplomacy is not confined to state-to-state exchanges, which are carried out exclusively by elites.

In part A we will concentrate on the theoretical and conceptual ideas that lay the ground for the making of the special relations between the two nations.

In part B we will study the way ideas and concepts became policy, and the way the special relationships took shape and form.

This module examines the forces that shaped the special relationship, encompassing factors that went beyond state officials and state interests. We will explore the way religion, values and history laid the foundation for the making of the special relationship and sustained them for so long. Expanding the meaning of diplomacy, the module will explore the range of contacts between the people of the two nations at various levels – security, military, economics, trade, culture, tourism – demonstrating that the special relationship was not only between the two countries, at the state-to-state level, but also between the people of the two nations.


100%: Seminar


50%: Coursework (Essay)
50%: Written assessment (Essay)

Contact hours and workload

This module is approximately 150 hours of work. This breaks down into about 22 hours of contact time and about 128 hours of independent study. The University may make minor variations to the contact hours for operational reasons, including timetabling requirements.

We regularly review our modules to incorporate student feedback, staff expertise, as well as the latest research and teaching methodology. We’re planning to run these modules in the academic year 2024/25. However, there may be changes to these modules in response to feedback, staff availability, student demand or updates to our curriculum. We’ll make sure to let you know of any material changes to modules at the earliest opportunity.


This module is offered on the following courses: