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Amit Levy

German-Jewish Orientalism, Lingual Intercultural Encounters.

Amit Levy is a PhD candidate in the Department of History at HUJI, where he also received his B.A. (History and Political Science, magna cum laude) and M.A. (History) degrees. During his M.A. Studies Mr. Levy was awarded the Jacob Talmon prize for M.A. students, and was included in the Dean of Humanities list. He was a research assistant to Dr. Aya Elyada, and teaching assistant to Dr. Alex Kerner.

Amit Levy professional background as a translator made him curious about issues of cultural transfer and the lingual context of intercultural encounters. Among other things, he examined the use of Arabic in Palmach (pre-state Jewish elite fighting force in Palestine) folklore, in a study which was awarded the George L. Mosse prize and published in a 2015. In recent years, Mr. Levy has focusedhis research on German-Jewish academic Orientalism and its migration to Palestine/Israel, and the subject of my M.A. dissertation (supervised by Prof. Yfaat Weiss and Dr. Aya Elyada) was the life of German-Jewish Orientalist Martin Meir Plessner (1900-1973). In this work, he looked at Plessner’s immigration – from Frankfurt to Haifa and Jerusalem – and how the transfer from a textual encounter with the Orient to a physical one affected his political views and academic practices. The work was based on collections in several archives; one main source for documents was the Plessner Archive at the National Library of Israel, which he sorted and cataloged.

In his PhD project, which is at an initial stage and will be also supervised by Prof. Weiss and Dr. Elyada, Amit Levy intend to widen the scope and study other models of transferring German-Jewish Orientlism to Palestine/Israel, as represented by other prominent scholars who immigrated to Palestine in the 1920s and 30s. At the same time, he aspire to continue making relevant documents cataloged and accessible, in the framework of the joint project of The Franz Rosenzweig Minerva Research Center and Deutsches Literaturarchiv Marbach, aimed at preserving and researching German-Jewish archives in Israel.