Tourism in the Holy Land: Inter-Religious Encounters
In cooperation with The Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences
Christian pilgrimages to the Holy Land are often guided by Jewish-Israeli tour guides, many of them immigrants. For many Christian pilgrims, the sites of their tours recall the birth of Christianity and the past (or future!) intervention of God in history, whereas for many Jewish-Israelis guides, they are loci of belonging and identity. These encounters offers unique insights into religious experiences, orientations and conflicts.
Based on his own experience as a tour guide and interviews with guides, pilgrims and pastoral leaders, anthropologist Jackie Feldman will explore in this presentation how Jewish-Israeli guides work and live under the Christian pilgrim gaze. How do tour guides experience and negotiate anti-Semitism or Islamophobia? How does their contact with Christianity shape or reflect their sense of belonging and their religious or political commitments? Through comparison with other tourism venues, Feldman explores how identity work is performed under differing conditions of power, exoticization, and inter-religious contact.
About the speakers
Jackie Feldman is an associate professor of anthropology at Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Beersheba and head of the Rabb Insititute of Holocaust Studies. His interests are pilgrimage, tourism, and collective memory. His two books are Above the Death-pits, beneath the Flag: Youth Voyages to Holocaust Poland and the Performance of Israeli National Identity, New York and Oxford: Berghahn Press, 2010 and A Jewish Guide in the Holy Land: How Christian Pilgrims Made Me Israeli. Bloomington: University of Indiana Press, 2016.
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