Maya Barzilai is Associate Professor of Hebrew literature and Jewish culture in the Frankel Center for Judaic Studies and the department of Near Eastern Studies at the University of Michigan. She is also affiliated with the Department of Comparative Literature and Germanic languages and Literatures.
She researches modern Hebrew literature in comparative and multilingual contexts, focusing on Hebrew-German literary exchanges and translations in the early to mid-twentieth century. Her broader interests also include Weimar cinema, Israeli visual culture, and post-war poetics.
Her first book, Golem: Modern Wars and Their Monsters, appeared in 2016 with NYU Press. It received the Jordan Schnitzer Book Prize (2017) in the category of Jewish Literature and Linguistics.
From Golem: Modern Wars and Their Monsters: “The golem forces us to recognize that the fantasies of expanding our capacities and and transgressing our natural boundaries are always curbed by the inborn limitations of human existence. Hence, in most golem works created during or after a period of conflict, the strong protector turns into a violent destroyer, a rebellious monster that exposes its fallibility and the vulnerability of those who created it.”