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Dana Hercbergs

Ph.D. Candidate
Folklore Program
University of Pennsylvania
3619 Locust Walk, Fourth Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19104
phone: (215) 898-7467
fax: (215) 573-2231

email: hercberg(at)
or hercbergs(at)

Proposed Dissertation Title

"Playscapes: Children’s Folklore as Expression of Local-National Identity in Jerusalem/al-Quds"

Committee: Dan Ben-Amos (Chair), Mary Hufford, Heather Sharkey, Anna Beresin

This research explores the everyday lives of Palestinian and Israeli children and teens throughout the last 60 years in Jerusalem. It engages residents' memories and lived experiences to tell a story of children’s culture as constructed and lived by several generations of Jerusalemites. The term “playscapes” refers to those contexts where children’s routines and traditions create their communal spaces. In particular, I focus on sites of leisure and play, youth groups and hangouts, patterns of mobility and routes, and places of tension and conflict. I aim to contribute a fresh perspective of Jerusalem ’s social history after 1948 and more broadly, of children’s cultural production of space in the Middle East.

Research Interests

Folklore and Geography, Arab-Jewish relations and identities, Vernacular Architecture, Tribes in the Arab World, Children's Folklore, Children's Geographies, Palestinian Women's Folklore

Membership/Professional Affiliations

The American Folklore Society, The Association of American Geographers, Middle East Studies Association of North America (MESA)


“A Reassessment of Children’s Folklore Classification.” Children’s Folklore Review Vol. 30 (October 2008), forthcoming.

“Playscapes: Children’s Spaces and Mobility in Jerusalem Neighborhoods.” Children’s Folklore Review Vol. 29 (2006/2007): 21-31.


“Teenage Culture and Identities of Place, Nationality, and Religion in Jerusalem/al-Quds,” Middle East Studies Association Annual Meeting, Washington, D.C. Panel: Contemporary Ethnography from the Middle East, to be presented November 23, 2008.

“Life is a Test so give it Your Best”: Palestinian Women’s Adolescence as Reflected in Autograph Books, American Folklore Society Annual Meeting, Lexington, KY, Panel: It’s Not all “Hybrid”: Intertextuality and Folkloristics, October 24, 2008.

“The Sukka as a Ludic Site in Jewish Tradition,” Association of American Geographers Annual Meeting, Boston, MA, Panel: Geographies of Play II: Interrogating Spaces of Play, April 16, 2008.

"A Reassessment of Children's Folklore Generic Classification," American Folklore Society Annual Meeting, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada, Panel: Play as Intangible Cultural Heritage, October 20, 2007.

"Between East and West Jerusalem: Children’s Spaces and Activities in a Folkloric Perspective" (Hebrew), Jewish Folklore Between East and West, 26th Annual Inter-university Conference for Folklore Research, Tel-Aviv, Israel, May 9, 2007.

"Playscapes: Children’s spaces and mobility in Jerusalem neighborhoods," American Folklore Society Annual Meeting, Milwaukee, WI, Panel: Children’s Folklore, October 19, 2006.

"Playscapes: Traditional games as markers of local identity and communal interaction in Jerusalem," New Directions in Children's Geographies international conference, Northampton, England. Paper session: Exploring identities: place, space, landscape and belonging, September 8, 2006.

"Landscapes of play in Israel/Palestine: What games can tell us about regional identity", Association of American Geographers Annual Meeting, Chicago, IL, Session: Folk Geographies II: Land, life, lore, March 10, 2006.

"'Occupation' or 'Conflict'? Discursive strategies in campus politics centering on the Palestinian problem," American Folklore Society Annual Meeting, Albuquerque, NM, Panel: Reweaving the Fabric of the Public Sphere: Folklore, politics, and the ecological imagination, October 2003.


BIMKOM: Planners for Planning Rights in Israel
Riwaq Centre for Architectural Conservation, Palestinian Heritage Sites
The Center for Bedouin Studies and Development in Ben Gurion University

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