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A Comparative Analysis of Israeli and Palestinian Museums

Presenters Name: 
Jenna Wichterman
Co Presenters Name: 
Primary Research Mentor: 
James Loeffler
Secondary Research Mentor: 
9:30 - 10:15
Time of Presentation: 
2019 - 9:30am to 10:15am
Newcomb Hall Ballroom
Presentation Type: 
Presentations Academic Category: 
Grant Program Recipient: 
Harrison Undergraduate Research Grant

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is one of the most entrenched active conflicts in the modern world, and as such its history is not immune from contemporary politics. The terms that one uses, emphasis that one places or chooses not to place upon different events or aspects of the history, and information left out of the story can all be used to imply blame or justification for past or current events. The battle of narratives within the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is waged in scholarly historical accounts, oral history collections, public discourse, and various cultural items like films, books, and museums. This last summer, I collected video data recording every plaque and video displayed in Israel’s Yitzhak Rabin Museum (Tel Aviv, Israel) and the Palestinian Yasser Arafat Museum (Ramallah, West Bank). I have analyzed this data to answer the following research question: What are the major ways in which Ramallah’s Yasser Arafat Museum and Tel Aviv’s Yitzhak Rabin Museum differ in their portrayal of the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? My research findings indicate that these museums differ largely in the terms that they use, their portrayal of refugees, and the way that they explain violence committed by their own “side” versus violence committed by those on the “other side,” among other differences. As a comparative study, this project can shed light on some ways in which institutionally-legitimized cultural narratives in Israel and in the West Bank portray the conflict.