For Immediate Release
All Zones
January 24, 2000
For More Information Contact:
Roxane M. Geraci at (219) 980-6686
Indiana University Northwest
Office of Marketingand Communications

We/Them” Identities of Arab and Jewish Individuals Living in OneCity 

The study of ground level interactions between Arab and Jewish individualsliving together in the city of Acre (or Akko), Israel is the topic of anupcoming lecture at Indiana University Northwest.The Limits of Coexistence: Identity Politics in a Mixed Arab/JewishCity in Israel, will be presented by Dr. Rebecca Torstrick, IUSouth Bend assistant professor of sociologyand anthropology, on January 28 from 5:15 to 7 p.m. in the IU NorthwestLibrary Conference Center.

Spending nearly 20 years studying the people of Acre, Torstrick’s researchlooks at the process by which the different groups construct a sense ofself. Besides participant observation, interviews and surveys, Torstrickalso uses the archives of historical documents from the beginning of theIsraeli Republic 50 years ago to extend her analysis.

“Dr. Torstrick is interested in the interactions among the people (ofAcre) and how the interactions lead to groups forming symbolic we/themidentities,” says Dr.Robert Mucci, IU Northwest associate professor of anthropology.“She also looks at how the identities relate to ongoing political events.”

Through her study of Acre, Torstrick has observed how schools educatefor democracy, how people interrelate in a mixed housing area, and howlocal political competitions have polarized the community. According toMucci, her more recent work has focused on gender issues there, “especiallylooking at the question of whether woman would do things differently ifthey were politically empowered.”
“One position found in feminist literature is maternal feminism, butRebecca has found some contradictory evidence that women are not more tolerantof others,” he adds.

Torstrick received her Ph.D. from WashingtonUniversity in St. Louis, and has taught course in anthropology, sociologyand women’s studies.

Sponsored by the IU Northwest Anthropologyand Sociology Clubs, the lecture is open to the community free of charge.Refreshments will be served after the presentation. For more informationcontact Dr. Mucci at 219-980-6607.

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