The Zvi Yavetz School of Historical Studies is the center for academic activity for the study of history and culture at Tel Aviv University, and a leading institution for research in Israel and abroad. The School incorporates three departments and eleven research institutes, in three main arenas: the "West" (Europe and the Americas), in the Middle East and Africa, and East Asia. The leading discipline is history, along with a variety of other disciplines, from philosophy, literature, art and religions to politics, economics and international relations, with an emphasis on language studies. The postgraduate studies (PhD) in these fields are conducted within the school.
Research and studies in the school combine a commitment to the highest standards of traditional scholarship, with innovative approaches to historical research and an atmosphere of a true learning community. In addition to teaching, supervising and managing research, the School also initiates publications and hosts a variety of academic events. It coordinates a wide variety of high-profile academic activities through its innumerable colloquia, graduate workshops, international conferences and forums, and a large number of internationally acknowledged periodical publications.
Currently, about 100 doctoral candidates are enrolled in the School. The School also hosts about six post-doctoral fellows each year. The School's faculty of about sixty includes a number of renowned scholars, many of them associated with other leading research centers around the world and regularly publishing with top university presses such as Princeton, Harvard, Columbia, Cornell, Chicago, the University of California, Oxford and Cambridge, as well as in leading international journals in the US, Europe, and Latin America.
Seven members of the School were awarded the Israel Prize, the country's highest honor for academic (and other) excellence: the late Professors Zvi Yavetz, Michael Confino and Amos Funkenstein, as well as Professors Saul Friedländer (who is also a Dan David Prize Laureate), Shulamit Shahar, Benjamin Isaac and Irad Malkin. Three are members of the Israel Academy of Sciences and the Humanities: Shulamit Volkov, Margalit Finkelberg and Benjamin Isaac. Many members of the school have acted, and are still active, in Israeli society in various fields and on various platforms, in the public sphere, in contribution to society and diplomacy.
Past directors of the School were Professors Aviad Kleinberg, Leo Corry, Billie Melman, Ehud Toledano, Yosef Kostiner ז"ל, Shulamit Volkov, Shulamit Shahar, Ron Barkai, Benjamin Isaac, Sholom Ben Ami, and the late Zvi Yavetz who was the founder of the school.
As of December 1, 2019, the Director of the School of Historical Studies is Professor Miri Shefer-Mossensohn.