Hizky Shoham-Research projects

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Rites of Adolescence in the Yishuv and Israel

This project is a historical anthropology of the bar/bat mitzvah ceremony in the Yishuv (the Jewish community in British Mandate Palestine) and Israel. It uses source materials from popular culture past and present to detail micro-transformations in the ceremonies’ format, meanings, and social functions in various contexts during the “long 20th century of Zionism.” The rituals use as a litmus paper through which to examine the complicated connections between nationalism, family rites, middle class culture, perceptions of membership in the political community, consumer culture, religion, and modern temporality. 

Religion in the Modern World: Against Christocentrism [With Nissim Leon]:

This is an essentially theoretical project that seeks to conceptualize the middle spaces of people whose link to religion is perceived as partial and fragmentary—the vast majority of the population in the world of the twenty-first century, who belong to a religious tradition but are quite selective in their observances, are not fully committed to its current authorities, and are not affiliated with recognized denominations. We turn to Jewish and Muslim theological concepts and sociological experiences in order to avoid the Christocentrism characteristic of sociology of religion today, whose dichotomy between “religious” and “secular” has proved inappropriate for conceptualizing these middle spaces.