April has been busy, and allows me to proudly present four recent publications which could well be relevant for readers of this blog. First of all, I have edited a book which is concerned with the relationship between religion and politics in the Middle East conflict, together with my friend and colleague, the ethnologist. More information on the book can be obtained on this page - German and English summaries of the different articles as well as more general information about the book.
Secondly, an article is coming up shortly in a journal called "Aus Politik und Zeitgeschichte" - the German reader may know this - on the role of water resources in conflicts (in issue 25). Also, I have written a piece for the annual report of my institute on "Myths and Ideologies - On the Role of Water in the Middle East Conflict", which is available in German and English. And finally, an article I have co-written with my colleague the physicist is being published in English translation as we speak. All of these publications can be obtained here, just leave me a note.
So much for reasons. On the planny side of things, I have booked my flight to Tel Aviv. Another two months of field research and frantic writing of this blog and my thesis will begin on July 6.
And to finish this, I am currently reading a lot about theories of national, ethnic and cultural identity, with a focus on the role of territory for all of these concepts. Obviously this is part of my thesis. However, it is also really fascinating to look at something like the Eurovision Song Contest which took place yesterday in terms of national identity. At one point, Mr. PR and I were sitting on the sofa, looking at different northern, balcan or whatever nations give each other points (and this is indeed extraordinary since it is the PUBLIC voting, not a nationally appointed jury), and coming to the conclusion that Germany does not have enough, if any, friends. Not in terms of this contest, at least. One reason for this, arguably, is that German national identity, which entails the definition, acceptance or rejection of "the other" as integral part (simply speaking), is not very well developed for obvious historical reasons. The tendency is to either concentrate on more regional, local, or individual concepts of identity, like Bavarian, Berliner, or simply skater or grunge (if there's anyone left of the latter), or to resort to supranational concepts of identity, for instance Europe, old or new, or Greenpeace, even. Adhering to nationalism is, in this country, still connected to too many bad collective memories. Which brings me back smoothly to Israel and my travelling there again. Keep in touch and check in every once in a while, there will be more news shortly.