Current Fellows


Roii Ball

Roii Ball is a social historian working on nineteenth and twentieth century Germany and its imperial and colonial engagements. Having previously focused on the administrative practices and social dynamics of German settlement in the context of the internal colonization of the Polish territories of Prussia, his current research is a social history of German agrarian settlement across multiple frontiers of German imperial expansion, traversing East-Central Europe, the Middle East, and Germany’s African colonies. He was trained in Tel-Aviv University and at the University of California, Los Angeles, where he completed his PhD in 2021, supervised by David Sabean. Roii’s other areas of interest are histories of children, kinship and work, settler-colonialism and empire, environmental history, history of knowledge and expertise.


Snait Gissis 

Snait B. Gissis is teacher and researcher at the Cohn Institute for the History and Philosophy of science and ideas. Her work and her publications deal with the interactions between biological and social thinking:

a. Lamarckism and the emergence of new social sciences in the 19th -early 20th centuries;

b. ‘race’ as scientific object and category between the 18th and the 21st centuries;

c. collectivity.

In recent years she has been teaching graduate seminars on questions related to ‘race’, nation and racism as moving categories between the social and the biological, especially in the 20th-21st centuries, including recent work in genetics/genomics.

Recently (autumn 2022) she co-organized with Luc Berlivet (CNRS Paris) a three days international workshop under the auspices of The Minerva Institute for German History at Tel Aviv University, under the title: “‘Nations’, ‘Races’, Genes, and Genomes”. The organizers and the participants are now debating the possibility of publishing a collection which will reflect the significant results of the workshop’s papers and intense discussions of foundational issues.


Ina Serif

Ina Serif studied History, German and Italian in Freiburg i. Br. (D) and Rome (I) and received her PhD from the University of Freiburg in 2018 with a thesis on the manuscript tradition of a late medieval chronicle. In 2019 she started working as research assistant at the University of Basel (CH), at the chair of Renaissance and Early Modern History, and since 2021 she has been assistant for Premodern and Digital History at the History Department. Besides medieval and early modern ways of knowledge transmission she is interested in disseminating and preservating knowledge in the digital realm. In her postdoc project she is using a quantitative approach to printed book advertisements in an early modern newspaper, falling back on qualitative methods if need be and/or in panic.


Silja Behre

Silja Behre is a historian focusing on transnational intellectual history, the sociology and theory of memory studies and social movements. She received her PhD from Bielefeld University and the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales Paris. Her study on the memory battles over the supposed legacies of the German and French 68 movements was published in 2016 under the title „Bewegte Erinnerung. Deutungskämpfe um 1968 in deutsch-französischer Perspektive“ (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2016). During the academic year 2016/2017, she was a postdoctoral fellow at the Franz Rosenzweig Minerva Research Center (FRMRC) at the Hebrew University. She also collaborated in the joint project of the FRMRC and the Deutsches Literaturarchiv Marbach on „Traces and Treasures of German-Jewish History in Israel“. As a postdoctoral fellow of the Minerva Institute for German History at Tel Aviv University (2017-2019), she will pursue her work on the intellectual biography of the German-Jewish-Israeli scholar Jochanan Bloch (1919-1979) as well as on the general history of academic and intellectual relations between Israel and Postwar Germany.


Sagie Schaefer

Sagie Schaefer is a German historian working on the social history of the twentieth century transformation of life in the periphery of state power. His book, States of Division presents a social history of German division through the development of the inter-German border. The book was published by Oxford UP in November 2014. He has written a number of articles about, among others, border tourism, land ownership, border guarding, and migration. Currently he is developing research projects about the impact transportation policy and infrastructure in the postwar German periphery and about the history of property ownership in twentieth century Germany.


Amir Teicher

Amir Teicher is a historian with training in mathematics and statistics and an interest in biology. His research deals primarily with the development of social-hygiene and racial-hygiene in Germany from the late 19th century to 1945. He studies the relation between social and scientific thinking, how new concepts of heredity and diseases informed - and were influenced by - cultural perceptions and social anxieties, and how biological and medical ideas turned into public policies. He is also interested in visual and mathematical tools, their use, spread and impact.


Michael Elm

Michael Elm received his Phd from Goethe Universität in Frankfurt on the depiction of Holocaust testimonies in feature and documentary films . From 2009 to 2014 he taught at the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Be'er Sheva cultural memory studies, film and trauma theory as discourses of political and cultural modernity at the political science department. Currently he is a senior research fellow at the Friedrich Meinecke Institute (Freie Universität, Berlin) and an international fellow of the Frankfurt Memory Studies Platform (Goethe Universität, Frankfurt) next to his affiliation at the Minerva Institute for German History. Elm is conducting a research project about ‘The Great War as Cultural Trauma in current European and Middle Eastern Film’.



Previous Fellows


Felix Steilen

Felix Steilen is currently writing his dissertation as a Minerva Fellow (Minerva Foundation of the Max Planck Society) at Tel-Aviv University and as  a PhD-student in political theory at Humboldt-Universitaet zu Berlin. Before coming to Tel-Aviv, he was a visiting graduate student at the New School for Social Research in New York, an assistant (wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter) at Humboldt, and a visiting scholar at the University of Chicago’s Committee on Social Thought. His project deals with 19th and 20th century sociology as philosophy of history. Currently, he works on Emile Durkheim and Georg Simmel. During his stay, he will co-organize a conference on Karl Löwith’s historical vision and Weltanschauung.


Gilad Shenhav

Ghilad Shenhav is a Ph.D. student at the Porter School of Cultural Studies and at the Martin Buber Professorship in Goethe University Frankfurt am Main. His dissertation project titled "Abyss and Messiah: Reflections on the Question of Language" focuses on the writings of Gershom Scholem and Jacques Derrida alongside the German and Jewish sources which their thought echoes. He graduated with great honors from the philosophy department at Tel-Aviv University, where his M.A thesis examined the gap between critique and practice in Derrida's political thought. His research interests include Modern German-Jewish thought, continental philosophy, modern Jewish culture, Talmud Jewish Mysticism.


Dafna Shetreet

Dafna Shetreet is a master student in the department of Jewish Philosophy at the Tel-Aviv University. Her research focuses on 20th century German Jewish Philosophy and literature. She was a visiting student at the Jewish Theology department in Postdam University and a member of the Shalom Hartman Institute Beit Midrash. Currently she is completing her thesis entitled: "Stars of Prayer – on the concept of prayer in Franz Rosenzweig's Star of Redemption".


Gilad Sharvit

Gilad Sharvit is a scholar of modern Jewish intellectual history with a broad interest in Jewish philosophy, German-Jewish literature and culture, continental philosophy, psychoanalysis and Critical theory. Sharvit received his PhD from the Philosophy Department at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (2014), was a Diller Post-Doctoral fellow at the Center for Jewish Studies at the University of California, Berkeley and a Townsend Fellow at the Doreen B. Townsend Center for the Humanities at UC Berkeley. Sharvit is co-editor and a contributing author of the volume Freud and Monotheism: Moses and the Violent Origins of Religion (Fordham University Press, 2018). As a postdoctoral fellow of the Minerva Institute for German History, he studies the formative role of heretical thought in the development of the Jewish traditions in modern German Jewish context. He is also working on an edited volume on Jewish heresy for the series “Perspectives on Jewish Texts and Contexts” of De Gruyter Press.


Ohad Kohn

Ohad Kohn is a PhD student at the Porter School for Cultural Studies of the Tel Aviv University, writing his doctoral dissertation on the poetic language of Paul Celan from the vantage point of the poet's use of the term Verjudung. He graduated from the German Department and the Amirim Interdisciplinary Honors Program at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and spent a year as an exchange student at the Berlin Freie and Humboldt Universities. His central academic and intellectual interests are German and Yiddish Literature and their inter-cultural and inter-lingual contact. His M.A. thesis consequently examined the influence of Yiddish on the literary work of Paul Celan by striving to show how the complex inter-lingual dynamics between Yiddish and German manifests itself in his writing.


Gal Hertz

Gal Hertz (ZfL-Berlin and Tel Aviv University) studied German Literature and History of Science in The Cohn institute in Tel Aviv university. He has written his dissertation on Karl Kraus, and published articles on Literature in the First World War and on the relations between German and Hebrew Literature. In addition, his is presently the co-director of "Humanities in Conflict Zone" - a project that focuses on humanities as intervention. 


David Dilmaghani

David Dilmaghani studied philosophy, politics and psychoanalyses in Frankfurt am Main and Paris. He is currently a doctoral student at the University Bordeaux Montaigne and at the Goethe Universität in Frankfurt. His main research interests are in the fields of social philosophy and ethics as well as in epistemology and aesthetics, theatre aesthetics in particular. Beside translations, he has published both on theories of recognition and on the satirical figures of laziness and revolt according to, amongst others, Hegel and Freud. As a fellow of the Minerva Institute in 2015 he studies the social contexts in which French proponents of the Enlightenment made use of the aesthetic forms of satire.


Uri Ganani

Uri Ganani is a cultural historian. He received his PhD from Tel Aviv University in 2013. He is currently a postdoctoral fellow of Minerva Stiftung (Max Planck Gesellschaft) at the TU in Berlin. His research focuses on the intersection of cultural history, Jewish Studies and Gender Studies in Central Europe. His book on The Politics of the Lyrical Voice in the Operatic World of Richard Strauss and Hugo von Hofmannsthal is forthcoming in Wallstein Verlag in the Schriftenteihe of the institute.  During his stay at the Minerva Institute in 2013 Uri worked on a research project titled: Richard Strauss and the Jewish question - Rethinking the composer's Biography.


Naveh Frumer

Naveh received his PhD from The New School in 2015. His main interests are Critical Theory, both past and contemporary, with special emphasis on Adorno, as well as the connections between these and other traditions of political, moral, and hermeneutical thought—especially those drawing on German Idealism and Marxism. His research deals with the question of the “critical grammar” of social and political injustice, and in the limits of liberal thought to deal with such questions, both conceptually and in relation to the historical present in which they operate.


Martin Herrnstadt

Martin Herrnstadt is a PhD student in the History of Science work group at the Goethe Universität in Frankfurt. Since 2012 he is part of a research project focussing on the analysis of the different epistemologies of the sciences of man in France around 1800. His current studies are concerned with the intersections between the production of a postrevolutionary “self” and the development of sciences of administration and philanthropy. As a fellow of the Minerva Institut for German History in 2014 he was studying the early reception of Kant's philosophy in France by Joseph Marie de Gérando.


Roni Hirsch Ratzkovsky

Dr. Roni Hirsh Ratzkovsky works on German and German-Jewish urban culture and thought at the beginning the 20th century. Her dissertation, titled: City, alter-city: German Intellectuals writing on Paris, was submitted in 2011. She was also post-doctoral scholar at the Freie Universität in Berlin and the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.
Dr. Hirsch Ratzkovsky teaches Urban History and theories of Space at the multidisciplinary program of the Humanities at Tel-Aviv University.


Iris Nachum

Iris Nachum received her PhD degree from the Zvi Yavetz Graduate School of Historical Studies at Tel Aviv University in January 2017. The title of her dissertation is: "Nationalbesitzstand and Wiedergutmachung: The Career of Two Combat Concepts of the German Bohemian/Sudeten German Discourse" (supervisor: Prof. José Brunner). Currently, she serves as a Postdoctoral Research Associate (since January 2017) and as the Academic Research Coordinator (since April 2014) at the ERC project "JudgingHistories: Experience, Judgement, and Representation of World War II in an Age of Globalization" at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem (PI: Prof. Dan Diner). The topic of her postdoctoral research is: "The Impact of the Memory of WWII and the Holocaust on the West GermanEqualization of Burdens Law (Lastenausgleichsgesetz)". In addition, she teaches Political Theory and Political Philosophy at the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya.


Susanne Zepp

Susanne Zepp is a tenured Full Professor of Spanish, Portuguese and French literatures at the Freie Universität Berlin. She teaches literary and historical texts that range from the sixteenth to the twentieth century. She has written on Borges, Montaigne, Eça de Queiroz, Lispector, Cohen and Early Modern Jewish Literatures, among others. Prof. Zepp will spend the Winter semester 2016 at the Minerva Institute for German History. During her stay, she will continue the work with the research group “Dialogical Textures” and work on a research project about history and literature in general.




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