Joel is a DPhil candidate in the Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology and COMPAS. He holds an MPhil in Social Anthropology from Cambridge University (High Pass), an MA in Near and Middle East studies from SOAS (Distinction), and a BA Hons in Philosophy from King’s College London (First Class). His research interests are in urban anthropology, multiculturalism and ethics, racism and xenophobia, the anthropology of place and the built environment, the anthropology of values, the political geography of Israel/Palestine, diasporas and social memory, and the anthropology of food.
His doctoral research, under the supervision of Michael Keith, focuses on multicultural urban encounter as a space for the production of new values, hopes, political imaginaries, and cross-cultural exchange, as well as violence, racism, and ethnic segregation. Specifically, he is interested in how social, moral, and political imaginations are shaped by the sharing of housing and public space in an ethnically diverse socioeconomically disadvantaged neighbourhood of present-day Jaffa, Israel.
Incorporating new migrations to this neighbourhood since the 1980s – particularly of Former Soviet Union and Ethiopian Jews, and Palestinian Arabs from the gentrified Arab-majority neighbourhoods of Western Jaffa – he is interested in differentiations in ethical relations between members of the neighbourhood’s distinctive populations, and how local sub-communities of exclusion and belonging are created through houses of worship, ethnic enclaves, residential committees and shared spaces of consumption and sociality. This requires discovering the values utilised and reflected on in relation to interaction with others, the ways in which relations between individuals of different ethnicity, race, or citizenship status, generate processes of racialisation, xenophobia, and stereotyping. It also requires an inquiry into how striving for place, through community-building and practices of exclusion, delineates political borders, frontiers, strongholds, and new spaces of hope in the urban landscape.
Overall, he aspires to move beyond the dichotomous ‘mixed-city’ paradigm in the study of Israeli cities with some demographic configuration of both Arabs and Jews, by demonstrating how the loosening of spatial segregation, internal communal dynamics, and further ethnic mix in Israel’s socioeconomic periphery constitutes Israeli multiculturalism as a potential site for future social integration, or the reproduction of social segregation and new forms of ethnonationalist friction.