Sharon Katz

Literary representations of Israeli development towns

I am a first year Ph.D candidate at the department of Hebrew literature at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where I completed both my Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees. My Master’s thesis, under the supervision of Prof. Ariel Hirschfeld, dealt with the evolution of David Avidan’s poetry, specifically- a growing tendency towards the abstract from his early works until the poems he published in 1968, which marked a clear affinity for avant-garde poetic movements of the early 20th Century and were set against norms of the Concrete Poetry of the 1950s and the 1960s. I used a conceptualization of the abstract as a particular experience aimed to trigger an active “resonance” of the poetic material in the reader’s perception. The abstract emerges from this study as an analytical tool as well as a bridge between distant and somewhat contradictory sources of influence on the poet’s work.

For my Ph.D dissertation, again under the supervision and guidance of Prof. Hirschfeld, I am studying literary representations of Israeli development towns, evident in works by authors such as Amos Oz, Shimon Adaf, Kobi Ovadia, Moshe Ohayon, Kobi Oz, Sara Shilo, Haviva Pedaya and Batya Gur. The goal of this research is an analysis of the images of this marginal sector of Israel in Israeli literature: to what extent do these images adhere to representations of development towns commonly found in Israeli culture, what is the level of their commitment to political and social critique, what sort of places do they characterize physically and symbolically, what sort of individuals populate these places in literature and how do the individual, the community, the space in itself, tradition and contemporary Israeli society relate to one another in the works in question. I am trying to delineate the cultural and socio-political identities which are established by this space and its literary representation, and describe the literary tools utilized to form these identities. This research aims for a contribution to the understanding of Israeli development towns as a unique space and to the academic discourse about the link between space and the individual, as well as to the comprehension of the manner in which literature reacts to the reality out of which it is created.

I have worked as research assistance for the late Dr. Leon Volovici, Prof. Galit Hasan-Rokem and Prof. Hirschfeld. Currently I live with my family in Jerusalem where I am also part of the Deborah Harris literary agency.