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Dr Yaron Peleg

Modern Hebrew literary history; Israeli cinema and culture; the creation and legacy of a native Hebrew culture at the beginning of the 20th century
Dr Yaron Peleg

Kennedy Leigh Reader in Modern Hebrew Studies

Fellow and DoS, Jesus College

Office Phone: 01223 335117


I received my BA in Film Studies from Emerson College in Boston in 1989 and my PhD in Hebrew literature from Brandeis University in 2000. Before coming to Cambridge, I taught various courses on modern Hebrew literature and Israeli film at Princeton University and later at George Washington University, where I also directed the Hebrew language program for ten years, 2002-2012. 

Subject groups/Research projects

Hebrew & Semitic Studies:

Research Interests

My main interests are in modern Hebrew literary history, Israeli cinema and Israeli culture more generally, primarily the creation of a native Hebrew culture in Palestine/Eretz Israel at the beginning of the twentieth century and its legacy. I am interested in language history and development, literary traditions and modern culture writ large, especially in Israel and the Middle East. Most of my research and teaching is focused on these issues. I have written about Zionism and orientalism, about homoeroticism in modern Hebrew literature, about Hebrew literature and culture in the 1990s, the so-called postzionist age, and about various cultural constructs in Israeli cinema, among them gender formation, ethnic identities (Ashkenazi/Mizrahi) and religious identities. 

I welcome inquiries from potential MPhil and PhD students with research interests relevant to my academic profile as outlined above. 

Key Words: Modern Hebrew literature, Israel/Jewish Studies, Israeli culture, Israeli cinema, gender and nationalism.

Other Professional Activities


Most of the courses I teach relate to my research and include courses in the history of modern Hebrew literature since the late eighteenth century to the present. I also teach courses on the formation of Zionist culture that look at its construction in the first half of the twentieth century and its legacy beyond that time. MES5, MES13, MES36 and MES40 (PDF link MES 40

External Affiliations

Journal of Modern Hebrew StudiesCo-editor

ProoftextsAssociate editor

Key Publications


2016 Directed by God: Jewishness in Contemporary Israeli Film and Television, University of Texas Press. 

2015 Brandeis Modern Hebrew, New England University Press (co-author).

2011 Identities in Motion: Israeli Cinema Reader, University of Texas Press (co-editor).

2008 Israeli Culture Between the Two Intifadas: A Brief Romance, University of Texas Press.

2005 Orientalism and the Hebrew Imagination, Cornell University Press.

2003 Derech Gever, homoeroticism in Modern Hebrew literature (1880-2000), Shufra Pub.

 God  Intifadas   




Other Publications


“A New Hebrew Literary Diaspora? Israeli Literature Abroad”, Studia Judaica 18, no.2 (36) (2016): 321-338.

“Secularity and its Discontents: Religiosity in Contemporary Israeli Film and TV”, Jewish Film & New Media: An International Journal 3, no. 1 (2015):3-24. 

“Re-Orientalizing the Jew: Contemporary Israeli Masculinities”, Comparative Masculinity Studies: Commonalities and Differences in European Constructions of Masculinity from 1900 to the Present, Vienna: de Grueter Pulishing, 2015, pp. 176-194.

“Writing the Land: Language and Territory in Modern Hebrew Literature,” Journal of Modern Jewish Studies, Volume 12, Issue 2, 2013, pp. 297-312.

"Making a Holy Community: God's Neighbors and the Ascendancy of a `new Religious Hegemony in Israel,” Jewish Film & New Media 1.1, 2013, pp. 64-86.

"Beaufort the Book, Beaufort the film: Israeli Militarism Under Attack." in Representations of War in Israeli Culture, An Anthology, Rachel S. Harris and Ranen Omer-Sherman editors, Wayne State University Press, 2011.

"Ecce Homo: The Transfiguration of Manhood" in Israeli Cinema: Identities in Motion, Miri Talmon & Yaron Peleg (eds), University of Texas Press, 2011.

"From Black to White: The Changing Image of Mizrahim in Israeli Cinema, 1960-2000." Journal of Israel Studies, Volume 13, Number 2, Summer 2008, pp. 122-145. 
Reprinted in Wandering Views: Modern Jewish Experiences in World Cinema, Lawrence Baron ed., Brandeis University Press, 2011.

"Love, Suddenly: Etgar Keret and the Emergence of Hebrew Romance," Hebrew Studies; 2008 XLIX:143-164.

"Zionism and Postcolonialism in Y. H. Brenners' Short Story 'Avla'." Hador, 2008.

"Israeli Identity in a Post-Zionist Age," in Ruth Wisse festschrist, Harvard University Press, 2008.

"Heroic Conduct: Homoeroticism and the Creation of Modern, Jewish Masculinities," Jewish Social Studies n.s. 13, no. 1 (Fall 2006): 31-58.

"Love at First Sight? David, Jonathan and the Biblical Politics of Gender," Journal of Studies of the Old Testament, Vol 30.2 (2005): 171-189.

"Hasipur ha’ivri hakatsar be’amerika, 1900-1950" (The Hebrew Short Story in America, 1900-1950), Hado’ar, No. 1, volume 23, Fall 2003.

"The Critic as a Dialectical Zionist: Gershon Shaked’s Hebrew Fiction 1880-1980," Prooftexts, volume 23, No. 3, Fall 2003.