Summary

I had a fantastic summer researching, and this will be my final post! I can’t wait for the Summer Research Showcase. It has been a great experience, and I am, again, extremely grateful to all who made this opportunity possible.

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The Hajj Mural in Jerusalem

Before my last, summary post, I thought I would go in depth about what I think is the most interesting thing I found on my research, the practice of painting Hajj murals in the Muslim Quarter of Jerusalem’s Old City. The Hajj, the pilgrimage to Mecca that Muslims are obliged to make once in their lifetime (finances permitting). Michael Wolfe, in his memoir The Hadj: an American’s pilgrimage to Mecca, describes the Hajj as “an act of obedience, a profession of belief, and the visible expression of a spiritual community. For a majority of Muslims, the hadj is an ultimate goal, a trip of a lifetime” (10). Not only is the Hajj a deeply personal religious experience for the hajji, it is also has great social significance. For example, once someone completes the pilgrimage, he takes the title Haji for the rest of his life.

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Thoughts on Researching Abroad

As the research process winds to a close, and before I post my summary, I thought I would do a blog post on what I learned simply from living in Israel for three weeks, and being immersed in a culture so very different from that of the United States.

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Field Work Summary and the Questions Begged by Jerusalem’s Graffiti

I’m back from Israel (have been for a while, actually, though I’m really nervous about blogging). All in all, I captured nearly 1000 photos of the graffiti of Old City Jerusalem. Researching abroad was a thrilling, life-changing experience, and I am extremely grateful to the Nathan P. Jacobs foundation, who funded the grant the made this research possible.

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Hitting the Streets: Data Collection in Jerusalem’s Old City

I arrived in Jerusalem on Sunday, and spent Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday conducting field work for my study of the graffiti of Jerusalem. I have taken 700 pictures, and have surveyed most of the Christian, Muslim, and Armenian quarters. At this point in my research, I’m focusing my efforts on data collection, rather than analysis, but I’m seeing a few trends which I will keep in mind for when I begin my paper in the next weeks.

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