Ethnography is both a method and a product of anthropological research. Given their grass-root, micro perspective, ethnographies provide an introduction to Israeli scenes that are not often part of discussions about Israel. In this seminar, we shall read a selection of ethnographies that have sought to document different aspects of Israeli society and culture. After a brief theoretical introduction that focuses on the challenge of carrying out ethnographic research in “unstable places” (to use Carol Greenhouse’s term,) we shall explore a range of ethnographic texts that have attempted to encapsulate the depth of diversity in contemporary Israeli society. Each ethnography will be analyzed in class both for its style and epistemological framework as well as for the window it provides to grasping contemporary Israeli life. We shall explore Arab-Jewish coexistence in a Israeli city, the making of Post-Soviet community, pregnancy in Israel, how Christian pilgrims see Israel, life in a marginalized desert town and more. Together, we shall read and discuss ten full-length Israeli ethnographies. Each student is invited to select three ethnographic texts from this larger corpus of reading according to his or her own research interests and will be expected to lead discussion of these three selected texts in class.
Taught by Pnina Motzafi-Haller, Monday 5:30-8:20 pm, 109 A Davenport