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Indiana University Bloomington
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Irit Dekel

Assistant Professor of Jewish Studies and Germanic Studies

I am interested in the relations between collective memory, media and the public sphere. My work has focused on Holocaust memorialization and the representation of ethnic and religious difference in contemporary Germany, using ethnography as well as discourse analysis.

Museums have been a site for my research: I co-led a comparative research project on the representation and experience of home in Home Museums in Germany and Israel. This study focused on atmosphere and temporality, the presentation of gender differences, and mediating techniques of tour guides. I have written on the Anti-War Museum in Berlin within an ongoing interest in memories of non-violent struggles and activism.

My first book, Mediation at the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin analyzed how various groups mediate their experience in the Holocaust Memorial, performing a moral transformation around how they relate to Holocaust memory and recent German history. I argued that visitors reflect on and negotiate the modes in which they are expected to engage with those memories along with questions of citizenship and belonging of Jews and other minorities to the German society.

My research has additionally raised questions on the intersection of nationalism and pluralism. I have studied the Circumcision Debate in Germany and Israelis in Berlin.

My current research focuses on philosemitism in contemporary Germany. Philosemitism engages images and ideas that are interwoven in larger cultural self-understandings. Studying philosemitism is for me a lens through which to observe both local debates over antisemitism as well as to shed light on our larger understanding of social, national and post national projects of exclusion and inclusion.

Education

  • Ph.D., Sociology, New School for Social Research, 2008
  • M.A., Sociology, New School for Social Research, 2004
  • M.A., Sociology and Anthropology, Tel Aviv University, 2001
  • B.A., Sociology and Anthropology, Tel Aviv University, 1999

Publication Highlights

Books

Irit Dekel, 2013, Mediation at the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin, Palgrave Macmillan

Articles + book chapters

Irit Dekel, Bernhard Forchtner and Ibrahim Efe., 2019. "Circumcising the Body: reflections on the debate in Germany, Turkey and Israel". National Identities

Vered Vinitzky-Seroussi and Irit Dekel, 2019. “Moving Gender: Home museums and the Construction of their Inhabitants”. European Journal of Women Studies Vol. 26(3) 274 –292

Irit Dekel, 2018. “Quoting and telling: The mediating techniques of tour guides in German Home Museums Ethnologica Europaea: a Journal of European Ethnology" 48:2 82-95

Irit Dekel, 2017. “On the Unknown Soldier Symbol in Israeli Culture" Studies in Judaism", Humanities and the Social Sciences 1:1 85-100.

Irit Dekel and Vinitzly-Seroussi V., 2017. “A living place: On the sociology of atmosphere in home museums”, European Journal of Cultural and Political Sociology, 4:3, 336-362. 

Irit Dekel and Anna Lisa Tota, 2017. Editorial, European Journal of Cultural and Political Sociology, 4:3, 243-251

Irit Dekel, 2016. “Subjects of Memory? Holocaust Memory in two German Historical Museums” in Dapim: Studies on the Holocaust Vol. 30

Irit Dekel, 2016. “The Void keeps growing”: Traumatic space in the Transformation of The Peace and Democracy Watch from Elite to an Enclave”. Davidovitch, Alberstein & Zalashik (Eds.) Trauma’s Omen: Israeli studies on Identity, Memory and Representation. Hakibbutz Hameuchad -Sifriat Poalim Publishing Group [Hebrew].

Irit Dekel and Tamar Katriel, 2015. "Krieg dem Kriege": The Berlin Anti-War-Museum as a Multilayered Site of Memory in Anna Reading and Tamar Katriel (Eds.) Cultural Memories of Nonviolent Struggle (Palgrave Macmillan).

I am a contributor to Publicseminar.org.