Focusing on a course taught to Palestinian and Jewish Israelis, this essay suggests that the study of life writing can help students develop a better informed civic identity, particularly in relation to divisive national matters. By carefully constructing collective classroom practices of reading, writing, discussing, and listening, the instructor can forge an environment that strengthens students’ capacity to appreciate the textual and contemporary interaction between individuals and their historical contexts, and to hear alternative perspectives and experiences attentively, without argument. University classrooms can thus play a vital role in democratic culture, as spaces in which a broader range of voices can be heard and in which minority voices are specially protected and projected.

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