Sense of Self, Sense of Other: Life Stories and Encounters of Palestinian and Israeli Émigrés to the United States

Grant Winners

  • Julia Chaitin, Ph.D. – Graduate School of Humanities and Social Sciences
  • Elia Awwad, Ph.D. – Boston Health Care, Inc.

Dean

  • Honggang Yang – Graduate School of Humanities and Social Sciences

Abstract

Award Winners

The conflict between the Palestinians and the Israelis has raged for over one hundred years. One result of this conflict is that many Palestinians and Israelis have immigrated to the United States. Both the Palestinian and Israeli Diasporas tend to publicly support their peoples and homelands, bringing issues of the Middle East conflict onto US shores. We propose to examine sense of identity, perception of other, and views on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict among émigrés who have resettled in the United States. The participants will be drawn from two generations of families of Palestinian and Israeli populations who have lived in the Boston and Miami-Ft. Lauderdale areas for at least seven years. Approximately 60 - 80 participants (half Jewish-Israelis, half Palestinians) will be interviewed by means of the biographical interviewing method. Interview data will then be subjected to global, chronological and thematic analyses. Following this, we propose to bring together a sub-group of 12 - 16 Israeli and Palestinian American interviewees ( half of them Israeli and the other half Palestinian) for a series of inter-group encounters in which they will share their life stories with one another, actively listen to the stories of the other, and reflect on what they have said and what they have heard. It is our aim that this two-layered process will help the participants achieve a better and deeper understanding of themselves and of the other side. We also hope that the knowledge gained will contribute to theory on inter-group conflicts and to praxis with such peoples and groups.