Shira Wilkof specializes in the history and theory of modern spatial knowledge – planning, urbanism, geography, and environmental thought, with a particular interest in professional transnationalism. In her dissertation, which she recently completed at UC Berkeley, she examined the emergence of Zionist planning, as a distinct locus of German knowledge transfer, placing it as an encounter between Central European planning traditions, British colonial practices and the Zionist ideology. This study provides a first history of the field of planning in Jewish Palestine/Israel.
At the Rosenzweig center, she will continue to explore mid-twentieth century German intellectual migration by focusing on how environmental-scientific attitudes travelled to the Palestine/Israel, adapted to the local nation-building project, and later were exported by Israeli experts of German background to the postwar “developing” world. Based on the rich holdings of the Historical Archives at the Hebrew University, her research challenges perceived notions of the direct flow of knowledge from Germany to the West, demonstrating instead how Palestine/Israel became a key locus of knowledge production in this process.
Another long-lasting project in which Shira is engaged is the production of urban space in East Jerusalem in the context of a contested city. Based on her MA research, which examined the intersections between spatial professionalism and nationalism in the making of post-1967 Jerusalem, she continues to explore the city’s complex planning realities and their impact on urban communities.
Dr. Wilkof holds a B.A. degree in History and Geography at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem; an M.Sc. in Urban and Regional Planning at The Technion – Israel Institute of Technology; and a Ph.D. in History of Architecture and Urbanism at UC Berkeley.
“‘Art and Technik’ in Zionist Town Planning: Ariel Kahane’s Utopian City,” in Jahrbuch des Simon Dubnow-Instituts/Simon Dubnow Institute Yearbook XVII (forthcoming 2018)
“‘A Historical Opportunity’: Landscape, Statism, and Competition in the Making of the Walls of
Jerusalem National Park, 1967-1970,” co-authored with Alona Nitzan-Shiftan, in Cathedra 163 (2017):163-190 [Hebrew]
"New Towns, New Nation: Europe and the Emergence of Zionist Israeli National Planning Between the Wars." In Planting New Towns in Europe in the Interwar Years: Experiments and Dreams for Future Societies, edited by Helen Meller and Heleni Forfyriou, 195–228. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2016.