SURF

Itamar Haritan

The Activist Mystique: Personal-Political Transformation in Israel

I am interested in the personal and political transformations that occur at the beginning and throughout the process of mobilization for social change. In particular, I am interested in the activities of the Jerusalem Open House, a grassroots organization that is the politically active community center of the LGTBQ community in Jerusalem, a city deeply divided along various lines where even close daily contact does not translate into mutual understanding between different communities. By volunteering and interviewing individuals in the Open House, I hope to understand the personal-political transformations that are associated with processes of community-building while negotiating complex existing boundaries. I hope to contribute to the understanding of the transformative capabilities of grassroots organizations.

Message to Sponsor

SURF granted me an exciting opportunity to do research on an important area in anthropology, the anthropology of activism. I am here in Jerusalem on my own, making connections, getting interviews, and putting ideas and research approaches together with a freedom that at the same time requires great responsibility. I am scared at every turn that my questions will hit a brick wall or that I will lose access to the organization. The question is incessant: Am I on the right track? The most exciting thing about this research is that I am never finished, it is never enough, and the boundaries that exist are very real especially if broken, and negotiated with the people around me. This is what research with people is all about, and I cant thank SURF enough for providing that opportunity to me.
  • Major: Anthropology
  • Mentor: Nancy Scheper-Hughes, Anthropology