Joshua Schmidt Ph.D
I am a cultural anthropologist with an interest in contemporary popular culture, ethno-linguistics, ethnomusicology, tourism and wellness and visual ethnography. My doctoral research focused on the uses and functions of popular music among secular and religious Israeli youth.
Developing Cross-National Organizational Resilience to Earthquakes in the Israeli Hospitality Industry
Dr. Joshua Schmidt, Dead Sea and Arava Science Center under the auspices of Ben-Gurion University, IsraelProfessor Natan Uriely, Department of Hotel Management and Tourism, Ben-Gurion University, IsraelThe study is underwritten by the Ministry of Science and Technology and coordinated with the National Steering Committee for Earthquake Preparedness. The researchers are examining levels of organizational resilience to earthquakes within the Israeli tourism industry in general and the hospitality sector in particular. Initial inquiries detected a dangerous lack of awareness in the national hospitality sector to the significant damage that seismic activity could render to its infrastructure. Moreover, lacking are running operating codes and ongoing regulatory by-laws for the industry. To rectify this condition, the researchers are exploring effective avenues for the industry/hotels to reduce the impact of, and increase their recovery from what geologists believe is an impending earthquake.
The research is undertaken by an interdisciplinary team of researchers from the Dead Sea and Arava Science Center, the Department of Hotel Management and Tourism at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and disaster management professionals. Pooling together their expertise, the team is currently conducting anthropological fieldwork, participant-observation ethnography and Key Informant Interviews (KII) in Eilat and the Dead Sea.
Taking into account current national procedures and protocols, the researchers will produce context-specific readiness strategies for each of these hospitality centers, offering national policy makers in general and the Israeli tourism industry in particular:
- applicable policy initiatives to bolster the resilience of the hospitality industry to earthquakes;
- pertinent operational procedures for ensuring proper levels of current and future earthquake readiness, risk reduction and recovery initiatives according to the population scenarios of the various types of hotel-hospitality frameworks under consideration;
- relevant platforms for generating primary stakeholder interest in the development of multi-sector government-commercial mitigation networks.
Suggestions for improving resilience levels will be correlated with readiness and recovery models found in other high-risk tourism sectors throughout the world and adjusted to account for local resources and the applicability of these systems within an Israeli context. The study is unique in that it blends ethnographic fieldwork methodologies with multidisciplinary theoretical knowledge and past field experience to consider a large – and largely unaccounted for – demographic that currently remains on the sidelines of nation-wide earthquake mitigation efforts.
- Continuity and Change among Contemporary Israeli Settlers in the Negev Desert: The Case of Mitzpe Ramon– Anthropology– Employing ethnographic participant-observer field methodologies, my research examines the southern Negev desert in general and the isolated frontier town of Mitzpe Ramon and the adjacent Ramon Crater in particular. Mitzpe’s remote setting facilitates a unique variety of inter-ethnic relationships that are both particular to Mitzpe Ramon while also a reflection of well-established power structures found in more central areas of the country. Initial research findings suggest how diverse local communities’ attitudes and discursive practices actually reflect paradigmatic changes occurring within the socio-cultural fabric of the country.This study includes the documentation of interviews with interlocutors, particularly veteran residents, from the different local communities. Digital video footage is being catalogued will be uploaded to the Science Center’s website where will serve as an online archive, visually depicting how local residents variously relate to the town and the surrounding environment.
- –Anthropology– The study targets the 75,000 residents of the Dead Sea, Arava, Mitzpe Ramon and the city of Eilat and studies their perceptions of their role in coping and recovering from an earthquake. It seeks to identify points of strength and weakness with regard to local earthquake preparedness, and to help increase resilience by motivating personal and communal responsibility towards preparing for, and recovering from, an earthquake. Ethnographic fieldwork across a wide geo-demographic area will identifying social attitudes which hamper effective preparedness. Findings can be applied to formulate coherent education-based approaches for encouraging students to promote familial and communal responsibility and resilience.
A preliminary survey conducted by DSASC researchers on earthquake awareness among authorities and residents of the peripheral Southern Negev found that locals are generally unaware of basic preparatory guidelines and real-time emergency procedures. Signs of community resilience was lacking in both the official and individual spheres. These findings concur with parallel research both in Israel and abroad and seem to indicate the need for improved earthquake education programs, greater regional/communal/inter-organizational coordination and better access to site-specific information and risk mitigation strategies.
- Visual ethnography of Mitzpe Ramon.
- Cultural Preservation in Mitzpe Ramon: The Mythology of Authenticity and the Authentication of Mythology .
- Comparing and Contrasting the popular cultures of Mitzpe Ramon.
- Crater Anthropology: A diachronic community study of how Mitzpe Ramon residents relate to their environment.ock Art as Text: An Archeo-Linguistic examination of inscriptions found in the En-Nusra burial cave, Avdat, Israel- Anthropology– This research project explores inscriptions from the past hundred or so years that were found in the En-Nusra cave on the far end of the ancient Nabataean city Avdat. Hewed into the hillside, the cave initially served as a Roman burial chamber, circa 200 AD. Its entrance is enclosed by a domed antechamber whose stone walls are covered from floor to ceiling with markings and characters in three languages—Arabic, Hebrew and English. In what might be equated with contemporary graffiti ‘tagging’, the majority of these markings are tribal monikers, known in Bedouin Arabic as wasms, while the inscriptions, especially the ones in English, appear to be their inscriber’s initials. The Hebrew words are accompanied by dates from the 1950s and Stars of David appropriated from the Israeli national flag.Although it is difficult to precisely date these engravings, their apparent use as territorial assertions suggests a relation to recent socio-historical contexts. Indeed, these findings raise questions about why and what took place at En-Nusra over the last century whereupon this area was occupied by Bedouin-Turks, British and Israelis. Conducted in conjunction with an archeologist from the Israeli Antiquity Authorities, this research is the first academic study to consider the Negev petroglyphs from a current-day perspective by applying a novel combination of archeological and sign-oriented linguistic methodologies to explore why this sidelined and otherwise unremarkable vestibule accommodated such a prolific epigraphic exchange.
Ready Or Not?!: Promoting Individual and Communal Responsibility in Preparing for Earthquakes in Southern Israel.
- Joshua Schmidt and Natan Uriely. (2018) Tourism development and the empowerment of local communities: The case of Mitzpe Ramon, a peripheral town in the Israeli Negev Desert. JOURNAL OF SUSTAINABLE TOURISM, 2018 Link
- Eisenberg-Degen, D., Nash, G.H. and Schmidt, J. (2018). Signposts in the landscape: Marks and identity among the Negev Highland Bedouin. Nomadic Peoples. January, 2018. (In press).
- Schmidt, J. (2017). Notes on national earthquake education programs in Israel. Proceedings of the 7th International Conference on Building Resilience: Using scientific knowledge to inform policy and practice in disaster risk reduction, 27-29 November, 2017, Bangkok, Thailand. Elsevier Procedia Engineering.
- Schmidt, J. (2017). Report on IMPART research project symposium. Rock Art Research, 34:2, 221-222. Link
- Schmidt, J. and Navon, L. (2017). ‘In dance we trust’: Comparing trance-dance parties among secular and Orthodox Israeli youth. Israel Affairs, 23:6, 1127-1147.
- Eisenberg-Degen, D., Nash, G. H. and Schmidt, J. (2016). Inscribing history: The complex geographies of Bedouin tribal markings in the Negev desert, Southern Israel. In L. Brady and P. Taçon, (eds). Relating to rock art in the contemporary world: Navigating symbolism, meaning and significance. University of Colorado Press, Boulder, 157-189.
- Schmidt, J. and Eisenberg-Degen, D. (2015). Rock Engravings as text: Territorial assertions on the walls of the En-Nusra cave in Avdat, Israel. Time and Mind: The Journal of Archaeology, Consciousness and Culture, 8:1, 21-50.
- Schmidt, J. and Eisenberg-Degen, D. (2015). The socio-historical pragmatics of Negev Bedouin rock art symbols. Journal of Negev, Dead Sea and Arava Studies, 7:2. (Hebrew).
- (2014) Fringe Benefits: Israeli Desert Pioneering in the 21st Century –The Case of Mitzpe Ramon. Journal of Negev, Dead Sea and Arava Studies 1(2).
- Schmidt, J., (2013). “Shifting Perceptions: Continuity and Change in the Israeli Desert Frontier Town of Mitzpe Ramon”. In Ethnic and Minority Communities. Channel View Press. (in press).
- Schmidt, J., (2012). “Full Penetration: The Integration of Psychedelic Electronic Dance Music and Culture into the Israeli Mainstream”. Invited Feature Article for Dancecult: Journal of Electronic Dance Music Studies. 4(1).
- Tobin, Y. and J. Schmidt, (2012). “Comparing and Contrasting the Behavior and Language at Secular versus Religious Trance Parties in Israel”. Festschrift in Honor of Professor Ora Schwarzwald. Ramat Gan: Bar-Ilan University Press.
- Schmidt, J., (2010). “Countering the Beat: Paradox in Israeli Psytrance”. In G. St John (Ed), The Local Scenes and Global Culture of Psytrance. London and New York: Routledge Press. pp. 130-148.
- Tobin, Y. and J. Schmidt, (2008). “The Language of Paradox: Interpreting Israeli Psytrancers’ Unspoken Discourse”. Journal of the Israeli Association for the Study of Language and Society. Vol. 1 (1), pp. 97-116.