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Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies

Middle Eastern Studies
Kennedy Leigh Professor of Modern Hebrew Studies
Email address: 
+44 (0)1223 335117
Fellow of: 
Jesus College
Director of Studies at: 
Jesus College

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. 

I am editor-in-chief of the Journal of Modern Jewish Studies and associate editor of Prooftexts.

Teaching responsibilities: 

Prof Peleg teaches courses relating to his research, including courses in the history of modern Hebrew literature since the late eighteenth century to the present and the formation of Zionist culture in the first half of the twentieth century and its legacy beyond that time.

Supervision information: 

Prof Peleg welcomes inquiries from potential MPhil and PhD students with research interests relevant to his interests 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.

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. 

Current PhD students

Xinyi Chen: Literary encounters of Hebrew and Arabic, the case of Mifgash-Liqa’


Directed by God: Jewishness in Contemporary Israeli Film and Television University of Texas Press (2016)
Brandeis Modern Hebrew New England: University Press of New England (2015)
Identities in Motion: Israeli Cinema Reader Texas: University of Texas Press (2011)
Israeli Culture between the Two Intifadas University of Texas Press (2008)
Orientalism and the Hebrew Imagination New York: Cornell University Press (2005)
Derech Gever, Homoeroticism in Modern Hebrew Literature (1880-2000) Tel-Aviv: Sufhra Publishing (2003)

Articles, Book Chapters etc

A New Hebrew Literary Diaspora? Israeli Literature Abroad Studia Judaica 18, no.2 (36) pp. 321-338 (2016)
Re-Orientalizing the Jew: Contemporary Israeli Masculinities Comparative Masculinity Studies: Commonalities and Differences in European Constructions of Masculinity from 1900 to the Present pp. 176-194 (2015)
Secularity and its Discontents: Religiosity in Contemporary Israeli Film and TV Jewish Film & New Media: An International Journal 3, no. 1 pp. 3-24 (2015)
Making a Holy Community: God's Neighbors and the Ascendancy of a new Religious Hegemony in Israel Jewish Film & New Media 1.1 pp. 64-86 (2013)
Writing the Land: Language and Territory in Modern Hebrew Literature Journal of Modern Jewish Studies, Volume 12, Issue 2 pp. 297-312 (2013)
Ecce Homo: The Transfiguration of Manhood Yaron Peleg (ed.) & Miri Talmon (ed.) Israeli Cinema: Identities in Motion (2011)
Beaufort the Book, Beaufort the film: Israeli Militarism Under Attack Rachel S. Harris (ed.) & Ranen Omer-Sherman (ed.) Narratives of Dissent: Representations of War in Israeli Culture (2011)
Israeli Identity in a Post-Zionist Age Ruth Wisse Festschrist (2008)
Zionism and Postcolonialism in Y. H. Brenners' Short Story 'Avla' Hador (2008)
Love, Suddenly: Etgar Keret and the Emergence of Hebrew Romance Hebrew Studies; XLIX pp. 143-164 (2008)
From Black to White: The Changing Image of Mizrahim in Israeli Cinema, 1960-2000 Journal of Israel Studies, Volume 13, Number 2 pp. 122-145 (2008)
Heroic Conduct: Homoeroticism and the Creation of Modern, Jewish Masculinities Jewish Social Studies 13:1 pp. 31-58 (2006)
Love at First Sight? David, Jonathan and the Biblical Politics of Gender Journal of Studies of the Old Testament, 30:2 pp. 171-189 (2005)
The Critic as a Dialectical Zionist: Gershon Shaked’s Hebrew Fiction 1880-1980 Prooftexts 23:3 pp. 382-396 (2003)
Hasipur ha’ivri hakatsar be’amerika, 1900-1950 (The Hebrew Short Story in America, 1900-1950) Hado’ar 23:1 (2003)