Amit Levy

Amit Levy
Research Coordinator of "Traces and Treasures of German-Jewish History in Israel"
Managing Editor of "Naharaim: Journal of German-Jewish Literature and Culture History"
Research Fellow 2016-17


Amit Levy is a doctoral student at the Department of History and Jack, Joseph & Morton Mandel School for Advanced Studies in the Humanities (PhD Honors Program), Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He He is interested in the history of humanities, intellectual history, and German Orientalism. In 2017/8 Amit was a doctoral fellow at the Leo Baeck Fellowship Program. His MA Thesis, submitted to the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, examined the life and work of German-Jewish orientalist Martin Meir Plessner (1900-1973). 

At the Franz Rosenzweig Minerva Research Center, Amit is the managing editor of Naharaim: Journal of German-Jewish Literature and Culture History, and the research coordinator of the joint project of the FRMRC, DLA Marbach and Leibniz Institute for Jewish History and Culture – Simon Dubnow, Traces and Treasures of German-Jewish History in Israel.


Research Project

In his PhD project, Amit studies the transplantation of German-Jewish Orientalism from Germany to Palestine/Israel, focusing on the intellectuals at the School of Oriental Studies. Born and educated in Germany, these scholars’ encounter with the Orient was on a textual basis. During the 1920s and 30s, many of them immigrated to Palestine and formed the School of Oriental Studies at the Hebrew University, the first Western Oriental institute in Palestine. By doing so, their encounter with the Orient was transformed into a living encounter, which was also heavily influenced by the ever-intensifying Arab-Jewish conflict. Amit’s study seeks to examine the consequences of this transformation - on the said scholars’ research interests and methodology, professional perceptions, political outlook, and the connection between all these fields. The project is based on a rich corpus of archival documents from various archives and institutions in Israel and abroad.


Selected Publications

- (co-authored with Hanan Harif) “‘A Complete, Multifaceted Discipline’: The Debate over the History of Jews in Muslim Lands and its Teaching at the Institute of Jewish Studies and the School of Oriental Studies, 1948–1955,” in: Uzi Revhun and Yfaat Weiss (eds.), The History of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 5th volume (accepted; forthcoming) [IN HEBREW].

- “The Archive as Storyteller: Refractions of German-Jewish Oriental Studies Migration in Personal Archives,” Simon-Dubnow-Institut Yearbook XVII (2019, forthcoming).

- ”A Man of Contention: Martin Plessner (1900–1973) and His Encounters with the Orient,” Naharaim 10.1 (2016), pp. 79-100.

- "'The Sheik': Understanding American Orientalism through Visual and Narrative Differences in Three Decades of Discussion,” Slil 10 (Winter 2016), pp. 39-57. [IN HEBREW]

- "'Ma'alesh, Nistader': Arabic in the Folklore of the Palmach during the 1940s,” Hayo Haya 11 (Autumn 2015), pp. 46-66. [IN HEBREW]