Dome of the Rock, Jerusalem

The Dome of the Rock, Jerusalem

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Dr. Patricia J. Woods, Ph.D.

Faculty Senator, 2015-2018

Associate Professor

Department of Political Science

Center for Jewish Studies 

Affiliate, Center for Global Islamic Studies

Affiliate, Center for Women's Studies and Gender Research

Mailing address:

University of Florida
234 Anderson Hall, Box 117325

Gainesville, FL 32611
Tel: 352-273-2370;
Fax: 352-392-8127

Office: 222 Anderson

Judicial Power and National Politics:  Courts and Gender in the Religious-Secular Conflict in Israel 

By Patricia J. Woods

Coming soon in its Second Edition! 

Current Courses and Basic Information

Fall 2015 Office Hours

222 Anderson Hall

Mondays 1:30 - 3:30 p.m., and Tuesdays 2:00 - 4:00 p.m.

Fall 2015 Courses:

CPO 3403 (213B) / JST 3930 (1C27) POLITICS OF THE MODERN MIDDLE EAST with daily reading schedule; press refresh, or delete cookies if you are not seeing pages 5-9.

POS 4931 (1295) / REL 4936 (22AB) / JST 4936 (055G) / WST 4930 (055A) THE HEBREW GODDESS




Haifa 2010
Copyright (c) 2010 by Patricia J. Woods

Robinson's Arch and Al-Aqsa Mosque, Jerusalem 1995
Copyright (c) 1995 by Patricia J. Woods


UF logo

Patricia J. Woods received her Interdisciplinary Ph.D. in Modern Middle East Politics from the University of Washington, Seattle, in 2001. She has been a faculty member in the Department of Political Science and the Center for Jewish Studies at the University of Florida since 2001. In addition to her Ph.D., Dr. Woods received graduate certificates in Comparative Law and Society, and Comparative Gender Politics from the University of Washington. She is trained in Hebrew; French; written Standard Arabic (Arabic-to-English); and has elementary training in German, Turkish, Haitian Creole, and Palestinian spoken Arabic. She is trained in ethnographic field work methods, comparative historical field work methods, and has constructed and conducted one national survey in Hebrew. She has published on field methods, comparative judicial politics, gender politics, religious-secular identity issues, ethnic politics in gender context, regional institutional and cultural legacies and the Arab Spring, and the intersection of law, religion, and gender politics. The country she knows best is Israel, and she is trained, has done research, and teaches on these issues in the broader Muslim Middle East. She has received national grants for her research from the National Science Foundation (Co-PI for SES#9906136); three awards from the Social Science Research Council (IDRF, NMERTA, and one competitive special-topics dissertation workshop); the Dorot Foundation. She has received collegiate awards from the Office of the Provost, University of Florida; the Humanities Faculty Enhancement Award from the University of Florida; as well as travel awards from various departments and centers at the University of Washington and the University of Florida. She is currently Associate Professor of Political Science and Jewish Studies, and affiliate with the Center for Women’s Studies and Gender Research, and the Center for Global Islamic Studies.

Dr. Woods has been a Visiting Scholar at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, Harvard University (a year and a half in 2003-2004); Honorary Visiting Fellow, Birkbeck College of Law, University of London; Visiting Foreign Research Fellow, Group d’Analyses des Politiques Publiques, ENS-Cachan, France; Visiting Scholar, Hebrew University Department of Political Science (SSRC IDRF dissertation fellow); and visiting scholar, Tel Aviv University, Department of Sociology and Anthropology (SSRC NMERTA pre-dissertation fellow). She has spent time as a student at Haifa University, and at Birzeit University in the West Bank. She has lived on three continents and traveled on four. She grew up in Micanopy, Florida; Shelburne, Vermont; and Fairbanks, Alaska.


Judicial Power and National Politics
Courts and Gender in the Religious-Secular Conflict in Israel

By Patricia J. Woods

"The author's notion of an extended judicial community of judges, academic lawyers, and cause lawyers is a major move forward in the 'new institutionalism' in the study of law and courts."  -- Martin Shapiro, Boalt Law School, University of California at Berkeley


"This well-written book makes an important contribution by pushing the analysis of the controversies surrounding judicial intervention/activism to take ideas seriously. It provides a very persuasive account of Israel's High Court of Justice's involvement in religious issues and the key role of the judicial community in precipitating that involvement. At the same time, Woods attends to the roles of institutional factors and social movements in facilitating the controversial rights actions/decisions of the HCJ. This book is a must read for scholars of law and politics."  -- Austin Sarat, Amherst College


“Her study of Israeli judicial politics is shrewd, sophisticated, culturally sensitive, and historically grounded … Judicial Power and National Politics is a welcome addition to the scholarship on comparative judicial politics, and Patricia Woods is a welcome new voice in the field … The impact of her work will cut across subfields and enrich the political science discipline.” — Judith A. Baer, Department of Political Science, Texas A&M University, for The Law and Politics Book Review


Uses the case of Israel to examine the circumstances that lead national courts to engage heated political issues.


Publisher Summary:

Patricia J. Woods examines a controversial issue in the politics of many countries around the world: the increasing role that courts and justices have played in deeply charged political battles. Through an extensive case study of the religious-secular conflict in Israel, she argues that the most important determining factor explaining when, why, and how national courts enter into the world of divisive politics is found in the intellectual or judicial communities with whom justices live, work, and think about the law on a daily basis. The interaction among members of this community, Woods maintains, is an organic, sociological process of intellectual exchange.  Over time, it culminates in new legal norms.  These legal norms may, through court cases, become binding legal principles. Given the right conditions -- electoral democracy, basic judicial independence, and some institutional constraints -- courts may use these new legal norms as the basis for a jurisprudence that justifies hearing controversial cases and allows for creative answers to major issues of national political contention.


Available in hardcover and paperback from State University of New York Press

 Recent Activities: 
  • Series editor, Gender in Jewish Studies, Academic Studies Press, Brighton, MA
  • Faculty Senator, University of Florida 2015 - 2018
  • Fulbright Foundation, National Screening Committee 2015 
  • Academic Advisory Committee, Rothberg International School, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 2013 - present
  • Chair, Curriculum Committee, Department of Political Science, 2015-2016
  • Member, College Curriculum Committee, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, University of Florida, 2014-2016
  • Member, Faculty Quality Assurance Committee, Distance Learning (e-courses), University of Florida, 2013 - 2015
  • Member, Harn Museum Advisory Committee for the exhibit:  Full Disclosure: Images of War in the 21st Century, scheduled to open February through July, 2016, at the Harn Museum of Art, University of Florida
  • Chair, Curriculum Committee, Department of Political Science, University of Florida, 2013-2014; Fall 2014
  • Reviewer, American Political Science Review
  • Reviewer, Law and History Review
  • Reviewer, Israel Law Review
  • Reviewer, Law and Society Review
  • Reviewer, Journal of Church and State
  • Reviewer, Oxford University Press
  • Fulbright Foundation, National Screening Committee 2013
  • Program Director, UF in Jerusalem Summer 2014 Study Abroad Program (did not fill)
  • Film Series Coordinator, "Politics Through Feature Film," Department of Political Science, University of Florida, 2013-2014, 2014-2015
  • Reviewer, UF International Center summer study abroad scholarships, University of Florida, 2013-2014