Portrait of Dr. Carola Hilfrich

Dr. Carola Hilfrich

Academic Background and Fields of Interest:

Originally from Germany, where I studied German Literature and Philosophy at the universities of Munich and Berlin, I conducted my doctoral studies and research in Jewish German literature and thought at the Hebrew University. As a faculty member of the Department of General and Comparative Literature and the Program in Cultural Studies at the Hebrew University, I teach literary theory, performed literatures, sociology of literature, and critical theories of culture. My research explores the poetics and politics of contact zone writing in the historical contexts of modernity and contemporaneity, with focus on Jewish German, French Algerian Jewish, African American, and, more recently, Turkish German and Arab Israeli literatures. I also study the politics and poetics of everyday life, the sociology and history of feelings, and the role of literatures of unhomeliness in culture. In my current research, I explore how belongings matter, focusing on architectures of the uncanny in contemporary Jewish Literatures.

I have previously chaired the Program in Cultural Studies and the Academic Committee of the Lafer Center for Gender Studies. In 2005, I gained a fellowship at the Hebrew University’s Institute for Advanced Studies, with a group project on “Ethnography and Literature: Theory, History, and Interdisciplinary Practice.” More recently, in 2012, I was a fellow at the Friedrich Schlegel School of Literary Studies at the Freie Universität Berlin, with a seminar on “Ghostwriting: The Ghost in and as Literature.” With my current research, I participate in the ongoing workshop series on “Fields of Belonging: Interpreting Jewish Literatures,” initiated by the Simon Dubnow Institute for Jewish History and Culture at Leipzig University.

Contact Information:

Office Hours:

Tuesday 14:15-15:15 (first semester). Wednesday 13:00-14.00 (second semester), Room 6851, Humanities Building.

Selected Publications

  • Lebendige Schrift. Repräsentation und Idolatrie in Moses Mendelssohns Philosophie und Exegese des Judentums, München: Fink 2000
  • with Stéphane Mosès, Zwischen den Kulturen. Theorie und Praxis des interkulturellen Dialogs, Tübingen: Max Niemeyer 1997
  • “Making Writing Readable Again: Between the Discourse on Idolatry and Cultural Criticism,” The Journal of Religion, Vol. 82: 2 (April 2005): 267-292
  • “Anti-Exodus. Countermemory, Gender, Race, and Everyday Life in Toni Morrison’s Paradise, Modern Fiction Studies, Vol. 52: 2 (Special Issue: Toni Morrison), Summer 2006: 321-349
  • “The Self is a People. Autoethnographic Poetics in Hélène Cixous’s Fictions,” New Literary History, Vol. 37 (Special Issue: Hélene Cixous. When the Word is a Stage), 2006: 217-235
  • “Aesthetics of Unease: A Brechtian Study of Anna Deavere Smith’s Eyewitness Performance in Fires in the Mirror,” Partial Answers: Journal of Literature and the History of Ideas, Vol. 7.2 (Eyewitness Narratives), 2009: 299-318
  • “Unheim(at)liche Zugehörigkeiten: Algerien als Ort von Herkunft und Gedächtnis bei Jacques Derrida und Hélène Cixous,” Jahrbuch des Simon-Dubnow Instituts, Vol. 10, 2011: 389-403