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Dr. Zef Segal

My research at explores the portrayal of America in European responsa literature at the turn of the century (1900).

Biographical Note

I completed undergraduate studies in the Humanities Department at the Open University (2003) and Mathematics at Tel Aviv University (2005). I graduated from Tel Aviv University Department of Philosophy (2005) and Mathematics (2008). My PhD thesis, conducted at Tel Aviv University under the supervision of Prof. Shulamit Volkov and approved in 2013, deals with the formation of five medium sized German states (Bavaria, Saxony, Hanover, Wurttemberg and Baden) in the years 1815 – 1866. Through spatial analysis of their infrastructures, deconstruction of their cartographic depictions and statistical analysis of communication flows, I restructured the territorial reality of the nineteenth century German world.

Since I finished my doctorate, I have been a post doctoral fellow at the Truman Institute for the Advancement of Peace at the Hebrew University (2013-2014) and a post doctoral fellow at the Department of General History and Bucerius Institute for Research of Contemporary German History at Haifa University (2013-2014). At Truman institute my research focused on the connection between communication flows and the deterritorialization process of sovereign states, i.e. secessions and unifications. At Haifa University my research project was the analysis of cartographic depictions of new sovereign states in the years 1800-1939, in order to better understand the role of “territorial states” in our spatial imagination. I am also currently an associate fellow of the Haifa Center for German & European Studies, with a research on the causes for the unification of Baden and Wurttemberg in 1952.

Current project

My current research at “Da’at Ha-makom” explores the portrayal of America in European responsa literature at the turn of the century (1900). This research aims to both identify the communication networks that linked American orthodox Jewry to the European Jewish communities and to contextualize them. Responsa literature serves here as a communication medium rather than a Halakhic source, and is therefore slightly different from most responsa research. Digital means such as GIS and digitized textual search provide a new perspective on transnational orthodox communication in particular, and the connection between immigration, communication and religion in general.

Selected Publications


• “Real, Actual and Imagined Borders – State Construction in the »Third Germany«” in Jose Brunner and Iris Nachum (eds.), Die Deutschen als die Anderen: Deutschland in der imagination seiner Nachbarn (Göttingen: Wallstein, 2012).


• “Nationalizing the Global and the Local: Spatial Re-Organization of the Catholic and Protestant Churches following the end of the Holy Roman Empire”, Wichmann-Jahrbuch des Diözesangeschichtsvereins Berlin (accepted for publication)

• Conference Report “International Affairs and the Politics of Memory: German-Jewish-Israeli Relations after the Holocaust”, Haifa, 12.01.2014- 14.01.2014, in H-Soz-u-Kult (May 2014).

• “Regionalism, Nationalism and Globalism in German Railway Cartography during the mid Nineteenth Century”, Imago Mundi (sent for review)

• “Communication and State Construction: The Postal Service in the Medium sized German States, 1815-1866”, The Journal of Interdisciplinary History 44 (2013), 453-473.


• “Practices and Representations of the State Space: The Medium Sized German States in the Years 1815-1866” (Tel Aviv University: Dissertation, 2013).

• “Variation of the Game Chromatic Number”, (Tel Aviv University: MSc Dissertation, 2006).

• “The Aesthetic Ethics and its Realization in “On the Aesthetic Education of Man” by Friedrich Schiller”, (Tel Aviv University: MA Dissertation, 2005).

• “The PLO, from a military struggle to a diplomatic struggle”. (Ramat Hasharon: Library of the Center for the Intelligence Heritage, 1998).