Robert Phillips cultural anthropologistrfphillips@bsu.edu

Current Research

My current research examines the effects of new media on the tensions between religious and sexual identity experienced by several communities of newly observant Jewish gay men in Jerusalem, Israel and Boro Park, New York. This study, which builds upon research conducted in Jerusalem in 2015 and 2016, uses participant observation, semi-structured interviewing, focus groups, and archival research to determine the degree to which social media affects and/or influences a reconciliation between these seemingly disparate identities. Specifically, I am interested in how interactions on various social media platforms affect how these men resolve the dissonance between their sexual identity and their religious beliefs. These changes in sexual and religious cultures can be seen as an indictor of more general changes taking place not only within, but also across cultures. Local and regional factors certainly contribute to societal change. But it appears that encounters with globalizing forces, for example the transnational circulation of media and technology, can serve as a mechanism for change as well. By engaging the local, regional, and global, I seek to determine the nature of these encounters and to better understand how and why cultural and societal change is taking place.

My dissertation research investigated the Internet’s role in national and sexual identity in Singapore. This research is currently being revised for publication as a monograph.

 

Jerusalem Pride 2015

Jerusalem Pride 2015

 

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