Yael Almog is a doctoral candidate in the German Department at the University of California, Berkeley, studying German literature from 1750 till the present, Jewish and religious studies, literary theory, and continental philosophy. Her dissertation, Hebrew Reminiscences: Global Religion, Politics and Aesthetics in the Rise of Hermeneutic Thinking, demonstrates that salient notions of literary interpretation—such as reading through empathy (Einfühlung) and textual restoration—emerged with the broad fascination with Hebraism in the German enlightenment. As shown in the works of Herder, Goethe, Hamann, Klopstock and Mendelssohn, literary and philosophical “rebels” sought in the Hebrew Bible original aesthetic and political models with which to elucidate and negotiate new subject positions in the rise of the nation state. The dissertation intervenes with debates on the Enlightenment secularist legacy (e.g. Reinhart Koselleck, Hans Blumenberg, and Talal Asad) in its examination of how the wide impact of Hebraism monitored the mutually-dependent paradigm shifts in theology and interpretation. The project thus scrutinizes intercultural and interreligious exchange as formative for modern norms of cultural production, sensibility, and political agency. Almog’s research has been supported with fellowships from the Minerva Foundation of the Max-Planck-Gesellschaft, the Leo Baeck Fellowship Programme, Berkeley’s Pre-doctoral Humanities Fellowship, the DAAD, and the Simon-Dubnow Institute for Jewish History and Culture at the University of Leipzig.
Her other academic interests center on the Jewish-German tradition, German idealism, history of sexuality, Frankfurt School, and critical and media theory. With Erik Born, she edited the volume Neighbors and Neighborhoods in the German-Speaking World (Cambridge Scholars, 2012) which scrutinizes instances of “neighborliness” in German literature, psychoanalysis, and continental philosophy in conjunction with works by Freud, Benjamin, and Eric Santner. She is also interested in constellations of gender studies, literary form and religious studies, which she explored in the article: “’Flowing Myrrh upon the Handles of the Bolt’: Bodily Border, Social Norms and their Transgression in the Song of Songs,” Biblical Interpretation (2010). Concurrently to her dissertation work, she is working on the first Hebrew translation of Herder’s Treatise on the Origins of Language, which, together with her introduction and comments, is forthcoming with Resling Publishers.
Review of May Mergenthaler, Zwischen Eros und Mitteilung: die Frühromantik im Symposion der Athenaeums-Fragmente. Paderborn: Schöningh, 2012. Forthcoming in MLN, fall 2013.
“Sublime Readings: The Emergence of the Aesthetic Bible in Herder’s Writings on Hebrew Poetry.” The Simon Dubnow Institute Yearbook. November 2013.
“Cognition and Hermeneutics: Herder’s Notion of Interpretation between Leibniz and Kant.” Herder: From Cognition to Cultural Science Conference, International Herder Society, Purdue University, IN. September 2014.
“Benjamin and Scholem’s Correspondence and the Hebrew Trope.” Language, Nation, and Modernity: Hebrew in Europe Conference, King’s College, London, May 2014.