Tag Archives: Intellectual history
New Book: Ram; The Return of Martin Buber (in Hebrew)
רם, אורי. שובו של מרטין בובר. המחשבה הלאומית והחברתית בישראל מבובר עד הבובריאנים החדשים. תל אביב: רסלינג, 2015.
Martin Buber (1878-1965) was the first chair of the first Department of Sociology at the first university in Israel – but who remembers this today? This book discusses the history of ideas of national and social thought, and of sociology in Israel, through the question of Buber’s changing status: what was his initial place in sociology? Why did he disappear from the sociological canon? And why has interest in his works resurged in recent years?
This significant book by Uri Ram presents a new look at Buber’s philosophy and offers a critical reading of it. While Buber was a prominent figure of the pre-state peace movements (“Brit Shalom” and “Ihud”), he was also a German thinker of his time, who utterly rejected modernism and fully embraced the conservative-right visions of traditional Gemeinschaft Community, the nationalist Volk culture, and the Congregation of the Faithful.
The Department of Sociology was founded in the academic year of 1947/8 and Buber was appointed as its chair. His sociology was somewhat consistent with the spirit of the pre-state Jewish community, but not the spirit of statehood that followed independence. In 1950, the leadership of Sociology shifted to Buber’s student Eisenstadt, who designed the discipline in the coming decades in the spirit of American modernization. Buber’s figure became marginal for many years. However, since the 1990s, Buber’s status has enjoyed a revival, against the backdrop of the crisis of secular nationalism, alongside the rise of postmodern and postcolonial approaches in intellectual discourse. New sociological studies was inspired by Buber is defined in this book as “neo-Buberian”, and the book raises questions as to whether this trend promotes a civil and democratic culture or rather empowers the national-religious culture in contemporary Israel.
New Article: Zelkovitz, The Palestinian Universities as Initiators of National Struggle, 1972–1995
Zelkovitz, Ido. “Education, Revolution and Evolution: the Palestinian Universities as Initiators of National Struggle 1972–1995.” History of Education 43.3 (2014): 387-407.
Since the concept of nationalism first emerged on the world stage, universities have played a key role in its collective formation and dissemination to the masses. Established under challenging circumstances and subjected to the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip in the wake of the 1967 war, Palestinian institutions of higher education have trodden a thin line between the training of human resources requisite to their national movement and compliance with the dictates of a military regime bent on curbing such aspirations. This research examines the various roles played by Palestinian universities in the ongoing struggle for national independence. Spanning from its inception to the establishment of the Palestinian Authority, this collection of first-hand accounts, historical documents and critical analysis explores the evolution and adaptation of Palestinian higher education amidst three decades of social and political turmoil.
Dr. Ido Zelkovitz is research fellow at the Ezri centre for Iran and the Persian Gulf Studies and teaches in the Department of Middle Eastern History at the University of Haifa, Israel. Dr Zelkovitz will fulﬁll the position of a Schusterman Visiting Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Minnesota for the Academic Year of 2014/15.
New Article: Rosmer, Israel’s Middle Eastern Jewish Intellectuals
Rosmer, Tilde. “Israel’s Middle Eastern Jewish Intellectuals: Identity and Discourse.” British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies 41.1 (2014): 62-78.
The intellectual movement HaKeshet HaDemokratit HaMizrahit (The Eastern Democratic Rainbow) was established in 1996 by second and third generation Middle Eastern and North African Jewish immigrants who are faculty members, graduate students, actors, artists, educators, businessmen and women, and media workers. These self-identified Mizrahi Israeli intellectuals aimed to initiate new debates in Israeli society with their criticism of Zionist narrative and policies by applying post-colonial theory to expose the construction of social categorisation among Jewish Israelis. In their discursive contribution they addressed several issues of historical and contemporary inequality between groups of Israeli citizens. By examining the motivation behind this intellectual activism, the present article asks what the Mizrahi identity means to people labelled as Mizrahim and why it is important.
New Article: Behar and Benite, The Possibility of Modern Middle Eastern Jewish Thought
Behar, Moshe and Zvi Ben-Dor Benite. “The Possibility of Modern Middle Eastern Jewish Thought.” British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies 41.1 (2014): 43-61.
While the vast scholarly fields of modern Jewish thought and modern Jewish intellectual history effectively include no texts by Jews who are of non-European origin, the domain of modern Middle Eastern intellectual history includes no writings by native Middle Eastern Jews. Aiming to help remedy this dual void, this article presents the core premises and argumentation of several pre-1936 Middle Eastern Jewish intellectuals. In filling in some of the contours and details of this rich—but significantly underexplored—history, it posits that a distinct Jewish intellectual school that unambiguously understood itself to be quintessentially Middle Eastern has been present since the beginning of European Zionism in the late nineteenth century. What contemporary scholars commonly recognise as post-1970s Mizrahi (Eastern) thought is thus better understood as an outgrowth of a Middle Eastern Jewish intellectual formation predating 1948.