Student Poster Session
Latifah Al-Hazza, Broadcast Journalism
International Reporting: Destination Turkey
In May of 2012, nine students under the guidance of Professor Nancy Benson, traveled to Turkey to report on issues there. Each student had researched the country well beforehand and chose an issue they wanted to cover. Ranging from domestic violence to LGBT communities to the Hijab, students conducted interviews with major television networks, Mosque officials, as well as ordinary people in order to put together a story. Six students recorded, shot, and edited video footage that was put together to form a documentary that has aired in Champaign as well as in Chicago. Three students wrote print stories that were featured in the International Herald Tribune as well as The New York Times.
Jessica Easter, Earlham School of Religion, Master of Divinity
Former student in Professor Yore Kedem’s Israel study abroad course (Immigration and Cultural Diversity in Israel) during 2010-11 Winter Break
The Other Among the Masses: Exploring The Outsider in an Israeli Context
My research project focused on "the Other" in a Jerusalem context.During my time in Israel, I noticed that various presenters made attempts to bridge understanding by using the Black American experience during the Civil Right Era (which is still in progress). From that point on, I was intrigued and decided to figure out who was really "the Other" in any number of situations.
Karsten Hendricksen, Political Science
Attended Professor Yore Kedem’s class (Immigration and Cultural Diversity in Israel)
From Israel with Love: An Examination of Russian Immigrants
The poster exhibited was created in conjunction with a paper that reflects on the topic of Russian* Jewish immigrants to Israel since the dissolution of the Soviet Union. The main focus on such immigrants is on their assimilation in Israeli culture and whether these Russian immigrants are segregated against or if they practice self-segregation as a way of retaining their original culture. The paper thus argues that given the qualitative research done, that the barriers between the Russian Jewish subculture and the rest of Israeli culture are exaggerated, but that Russian values are taking a foothold in Israeli politics.
*In this context, the term “Russian” is used to encapsulate immigrants not only from Russia, but from the former Soviet Bloc nations as well.
Jennifer Levy, MA student, Political Science with focus on Civic Leadership
Former student in Professor Yore Kedem’s Israel study abroad course (Immigration and Cultural Diversity in Israel) during 2009-10 Winter Break
The Arab Minority in Israel: Exploring the Root of Inequality through Varied Perspectives
While there is a great deal of research exploring the Israeli-Palestinian conflict there is little knowledge about the impacts of a Jewish Democratic State on the Arab minority within Israel. In the paper written in conjunction with this poster I explore the various perspectives of Arabs in politics and the role Arabs play politically on both a local and state level. I look at why these inequalities exist and what the main concerns are from Arab politicians and citizens. Through my research I discover the rich diversity within Israel, exploring viewpoints of immigrants from different countries, native born soldiers, and Arabs both in government and completely removed from politics. Within this diversity there are varying viewpoint;, however there is one commonality and that is a desire for peace. There are numerous reasons for the lack of equality between Arabs and Jews in Israel and a main contributor to their lack of resolution is the fear of “the other.” I explore the issue of Arabs in politics and discover how deeply rooted this fear is. I find that a deep rooted fear is caused by historical anti-Semitism. In addition, a feeling of disadvantage in their indigenous homeland has caused many Arabs to resent Jews. Nevertheless, these views vary from person to person revealing the complexities of the issue.
Tim Mahrt, Doctoral student, Linguistics
Language, Identity, and the Loss of Cultural Practices in Siwa
Siwi is an Afro-Asiatic Berber language spoken by about 30,000 people in the oasis of Siwa. In the past, due to geographical isolation, Siwa received little contact with the outside world. This changed in 1985 with the completion of a road which connected Siwa to the rest of Egypt. Since that time, the community has been drawn closer economically and socially with Egypt and the rest of the world.This can be evidenced in the rapid development of the community. In order to gauge the impact of these changes to the community, a three-week study was conducted at the oasis where observations were made and interviews were conducted.Comparing this data to earlier reports on Siwa and to similar reported situations, it appears that the Siwan sense of identity is eroding.Without a strong sense of identity, Siwans will have little motivation to preserve their language, suggesting that over time the Siwan language and culture will be replaced by those of Egypt.
Colin Zimmerman, Economics and Politcal Science
Attended Professor Yore Kedem’s class (Immigration and Cultural Diversity in Israel), winter 2011-12
A Conflicted State
This paper and poster associated with it examines the cultural and religious conflicts within the state of Israel as well as the ways in which Israelis interpret and react to the threats they receive from the international community. The paper first examines the breadth of conflicts within Israel. It demonstrates how conflict exists on many levels. Jews and Arabs disagree, Jews and Jews disagree, and Arabs and Arabs disagree.The focus is then turned to the threats Israel faces from abroad such as the well-known threat of Iran and the less well-known threat from Syria and the 2011 Arab Spring. An in-depth look is taken at the religious and cultural threats from within, specifically pertaining to education, the Israeli Defense Force, political leadership, and immigration.The creation of the State of Israel and the United Nations mandate for Israel is also focused on, as well as the conflicts that the mandate creates for the present day.The paper does not offer a conclusion to which issue or conflict is most threatening to Israel, nor does it offer a solution to any of the problems stated. Rather, this paper’s goal is to make the reader think critically about the issues that Israel faces today, and understand that a conflict is only as difficult as the perspective that someone brings to it.