Bio / CV

I hold a B.A. degree in English literature and an M.A. degree in Comparative Literature, both from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. I received my Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from the University of California, Berkeley (2009).

During my graduate studies, I was a DAAD fellow at the Free University, Berlin, and a fellow in The Berlin Program for Advanced German and European Studies, at the Free University.

My research has been supported by grants and awards from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Frankel Center for Judaic Studies, and the Association of Jewish Studies.

Maya Barzilai

Curriculum Vitae


University of Michigan, Department of Middle East Studies and Frankel Center for Judaic Studies (appointed), Germanic Languages and Literatures (affiliated), Comparative Literature (affiliated)

2019—  Associate Director, Frankel Center for Judaic Studies

2017— Associate Professor of Modern Hebrew and Jewish Culture

2009-2017 Assistant Professor of Modern Hebrew and Jewish Culture


2009 Ph.D.    University of California, Berkeley, Comparative Literature

2002, M.A.    Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Comparative Literature, Magna cum Laude

1999, B.A.      Hebrew University of Jerusalem, English and Honors Program, Magna cum Laude


Book Manuscript:

Golem: Modern Wars and Their Monsters. NYU Press, October 2016.

—Winner: Jordan Schnitzer Book Prize in Literature and Linguistics, 2017.

—Honorable mention: Salo Baron First Book Prize, 2016.

 Peer-Reviewed Essays:

“The Lost German City: Leah Goldberg’s Berlin,” Jerusalem Studies in Hebrew Literature (forthcoming in 2019).

“‘One Should Finally Learn How to Read This Breath’: Paul Celan and the Buber-Rosenzweig Bible,” Comparative Literature (forthcoming, December 2019).

“Translation on the Margins: Avraham Ben Yitzhak and Yoel Hoffmann.” The Journal of Jewish Identities. Volume 7:1, 2014. 109-128.

“Witnessing Dying in the Tongue of Revival: Shaul Tchernikhovsky’s World War I Poetry.” Yearbook of the Simon Dubnow Institute. Volume 13, 2014. 177-192.

“S. Y. Agnon’s German Consecration and the ‘Miracle’ of Hebrew Letters.” Prooftexts. Volume 33:1, 48-75.

“A Poetics of Statelessness: Avraham Ben Yitzhak after World War I.” Naharaim: Journal of German Jewish Literature and Cultural History. Volume 7:1-2, 2013. 111-130.

“Reading Camera Lucida in Gaza: Ronit Matalon’s Photographic Travels.” Comparative Literature. Volume 65:2, 2013. 200-219.

“The Challenge of Lyric Address in War Poems by Yitzhak Laor and Ingeborg Bachmann,” co-authored with Katra Byram. The Yearbook of Comparative and General Literature. Volume 53, 2007. 155-168.

Book Chapters:

“The Flowers of Shame: Avraham Ben Yitzhak’s Hebrew-German ‘Revival’.” The German-Hebrew Dialogue: Studies of Encounter and Exchange, edited by Amir Eshel and Rachel Seelig. Berlin: de Gruyter, 2018. 41-60.

“Melancholia as World History: W. G. Sebald’s Rewriting of Hegel in Die Ringe des Saturn.” W. G. Sebald and the Writing of History. Eds. Anne Fuchs and J. J. Long. Würzburg: Königshausen & Neumann, 2007. 73-90.

“Facing the Past and the Female Specter in W. G. Sebald’s The Emigrants.” In W. G. Sebald – A Critical Companion. Eds. J. J. Long and Anne Whitehead. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2004. 203-216.

Book Reviews:

“How Come Boys Get to Keep Their Noses?” Women and Jewish American Identity in Contemporary Graphic Memoirs, by Tahneer Oksman. MELUS. Volume 43, 2018. 241-243.   

 The Golem Returns: From German Romantic Literature to Global Jewish Culture, 1808-2008, by Cathy S. Gelbin. Journal of Modern Jewish Studies. 2013. 526-527.

Language, Absence, Play: Structuralism and Superstructuralism in the Poetics of S. Y. Agnon, by Yaniv Hagbi. Hebrew Studies. Volume 5, 2010. 427-429.


2017                          The Jordan Schnitzer Book Award, AJS

2012-2013               Year-Long Fellowship, Frankel Institute for Advanced Judaic Studies, University of Michigan

2012                          National Endowment for the Humanities, Summer Stipend

2007                         Horst Frenz Prize for the best graduate student presentation at the annual American Comparative Literature Association convention

2003-2008             Berkeley Fellowship for Graduate Study

2007-2008             Berlin Program for Advanced German and European Studies, Free University of Berlin and German Studies Association, Doctoral Research Fellowship


“Wartime Golems,” The Singer Family Lecture, The Harold Schnitzer Family Program in Judaic Studies, University of Oregon, March 2019.

“The Sorrows of Translation: German-Hebrew Negotiations in the Yishuv,” Linguistic Homelands: Modern Hebrew, Yiddish, and German, University of Chicago, November 2018.

“The Mythic Dimensions of War: German and Hebrew Golems,” Out of This World: The Supernatural in Jewish History and Culture,” Advanced Summer School for Graduate Students in Jewish Studies, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, June 2018.

“Golem: Modern Wars and Their Monster,” in Conversation with Kathryn Babayan, Author’s Forum, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, March 2018.

“Golem: A Modern War Metaphor,” Forum for Scholars and Publics, Duke University, February 2017.

“Prophetic Decomposition: Mizraḥi Poetry and Eziekel’s Visions,” Prophetic Imaginings: Aesthetics, Ethics, Hermeneutics, Stanford University, California, May 2016.


“Kafka’s Hebrew Castle,” (with Na’ama Rokem), Modern Language Association Annual Convention, Chicago, January 2019.

“Last Translations: Gershom Scholem’s Renditions of S. Y. Agnon’s Polish Tales,” Association of Jewish Studies Conference, Boston, December 2018.

“The Quarries of Transmission: Gershom Scholem’s Translation of S. Y. Agnon’s Polish Tales,” Crosscurrents of Translation between German and Hebrew, DLA Marbach, June 2018.

“Denk dir: Paul Celan’s German-Hebrew Negotiations and the 67’ War,” 11th Annual Midwest Symposium in German Studies, Columbus, April 2018.

“‘A Shylock or a Judas’: Jewish Typecasting in Weimar Film,” German Studies Association Conference, Atlanta, October 2017.

“‘Her Face Was Not Quotable’: Approaching Ronit Matalon’s Surrealism,” Association of Jewish Studies Conference, San Diego, December 2016.

“Hebrew-German Monolingualism: Lingual Contradictions in Novels by S. Y. Agnon and Leah Goldberg,” American Comparative Literature Association Convention, Harvard University, March 2016.

“The Golem of New York: Popular Culture for Jewish Immigrants,” Modern Language Association Annual Convention, Austin, TX, January 2016.

“The Hebrew Metropolis: Leah Goldberg and David Fogel,” Diaspora in Modern Hebrew Literature, University of Cambridge, May 2015.

“Weinreich and Agnon Go to the Movies: German Cinema in Hebrew and Yiddish Writings,” Seminar on Jews and the Study of Popular Culture, German Studies Association Conference, October 2015.

“Banished from the Socialist Garden: H. Leivick’s Distopic Yiddish Drama,” Jewish Secular Utopias and Distopias in Central and Eastern Europe, Tulane University, February 2013.

“Learning to Read the “Breath-Unit”: Paul Celan’s Dialogue with the Buber-Rosenzweig Bible Translation,” Modern Language Association Convention, Boston, January 2013.