The head of the Program for Hermeneutics and Cultural Studies

Prof. Hizky Shoham

    קורות חיים

    Hizky Shoham is the head of the Program for Hermeneutics and Cultural Studies at Bar Ilan University, Israel; and a co-director of the Bar-Ilan’s Center for Cultural Sociology. He also serves as a research fellow in the Kogod Institute for Advanced Jewish Studies at the Shalom Hartman institute in Jerusalem. His works consist of anthropological history and cultural sociology of Zionism, the Yishuv, and Israel; and cultural theory. His publications include Carnival in Tel Aviv: Purim and the Celebration of Urban Zionism (Academic Studies Press, 2014); and Israel Celebrates: Festivals and Civic Culture in Israel (Brill, 2017). His new manuscript Why Bar and Bat Mitzvah? Gender, Spectacle, and Temporality in Modern Jewish Cultures has won the Goldberg Prize for 2022 and is about to be published in Hebrew by the Open University of Israel Press.

    Shoham engages in interdisciplinary research that combines history, theory, sociology and anthropology, and political philosophy and is mainly interested in the way in which cultural and social processes occur from below without the direction of social and political institutions, with an emphasis on theoretically-informed work. His books dealt with the meanings that the Israeli and Jewish publics finds in the holidays and life cycle rituals, focusing on interfaces between religion, nationalism and consumer culture. Other publications dealt, in addition to these topics, with the history of childhood, family, and emotions, as well as the theory of time, space, culture and religion. 



    Courses and Seminars:

    • Theories of Culture: Sociological and Anthropological Aspects
    • Is there a Modern Culture?
    • Theories of (Modern) Religion
    • Shopping, Identity, Culture: Consumer Culture in Comparative Perspective
    • Israeli Culture from the Grassroots.


    • Mordecai is Riding a Horse: Purim Celebrations in Tel-Aviv (1908-1936) and the Building of a New Nation(Ramat-Gan and Sede-Boqer: Bar-Ilan University Press and Ben-Gurion university Press, 2013). [Hebrew]

    Abridged Translation: Carnival in Tel-Aviv: Purim and the celebration of urban Zionism (Boston: Academic Studies Press, 2014).

    • Israel Celebrates: Jewish Holidays and Civic Culture in Israel (Boston & Leiden: Brill, 2017).
    • Why Bar and Bat Mitzvah? Initiation, Gender, and Spectacle in Jewish Cultures, forthcoming in Lamda: The Open University of Israel Press (winner of the Goldberg Prize). [Hebrew]



    Best article for 2019, the Society for the History of Childhood and Youth

    • “Zionist ‘Buy National’ Campaigns in Interwar Palestine.” Boycotts: Past and Present, ed. David Feldman, London: Palgrave, 2019, pp. 73-95. 
    • “The Conceptual and Anthropological History of Bat Mitzvah: Two lexical paths and Two Jewish identities.” Contributions to the History of Concepts 13, 2 (2018): 100-122.
    • “Bar and Bat Mitzvah in the Yishuv and Early Israel: From Rites of Initiation to Rites of Temporality.” AJS Review 42, 1 (2018): 133–157.
    • [With Nissim Leon] “Belonging without commitment: the Christocentric view and the traditionist perspective on modern religion.” Culture and Religion 19, 2 (2018): 235-252. 
    • “’A Birthday Party, Only a Little Bigger’: A Historical Anthropology of the Israeli Bat Mitzvah.” Jewish Culture and History 16, 3 (2015): 275-292.  
    • “’He Had a Ceremony—I Had a Party’: Boys’ Initiation Rites and Girls’ Birthday Parties in Israeli Culture.” Modern Judaism 36, 3 (2016): 1-22. 
    • “‘You Can’t Pick Your Family’: Celebrating Israeli Familism around the Seder Table.” Journal of Family History39, 3 (2014): 239-260.
    • “Yom-Kippur and Jewish Public Culture in Israel.” Journal of Israeli History 32, 2 (2013): 175-196.
    • “’Buy Local’ or ‘Buy Jewish’? Separatist Consumption in Interwar Palestine.” International Journal of Middle East Studies 45, 3 (2013): 469-489.
    • “From ‘Great History’ to ‘Small History’: The Genesis of the Zionist Periodization.” Israel Studies 18, 1 (2013): 31–55.
    • “Tel-Aviv’s Foundation Myth: A Constructive Perspective.” Tel-Aviv, the First Century: Visions, Designs, Actualities, eds. Maoz Azaryahu and S. Ilan Troen, Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2012, pp. 34-59.
    • “Rethinking Tradition: From Ontological Reality to Assigned Temporal Meaning.” European Journal of Sociology 52, 2 (2011): 313-340.
    • “Of Other Cinematic Spaces: Urban Zionism in Early Hebrew Cinema.” Israel Studies Review 26, 2 (2011): 109-131.
    • “‘A huge national assemblage’: Tel Aviv as a pilgrimage site in Purim celebrations (1920–1935).” Journal of Israeli History 28, 1 (2009): 1-20.

    Last Updated Date : 07/08/2023