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Yael Attia

Doctoral Fellow


Campus am Neuen Palais
Am Neuen Palais 10
Building 1, Room 0.15
14469 Potsdam


consulting hours
by appointment only

Dissertation Project

The Colonial Other of Jewish Political Thought

This project wishes to partake in the intellectual effort to understand the nuances of the complicated history of Jewish modernity, its aftermath and its relations to colonial history. Moreover, it aims at helping in the formulation of an alternative genealogy and its political implications in order to contribute to a better understanding of the different political dispositions that stem from a story that is being deprived of its centrality to Jewish modern history. More specifically, the project seeks to trace the constitutive role of Jewish colonial experience in North Africa as formative to Jewish political thinking, as it emerged in a series of Francophone intellectuals: Helene Cixous, Albert Memmi and Jacques Derrida. Furthermore, it wishes to ask why this tradition is assigned a minor position vis-à-vis Jewish political thought emerging from the modern European experience, at the center of which is the experience of a minority within the modern nation-state—including thinkers like Hannah Arendt, Walter Benjamin, and others. Why is it that in the latter case, the historical-political experience is regarded as constitutive to the political thought of those thinkers, whereas in the former case it is regarded as anecdotal or “merely” biographical. Thus, the heading “Jewish Political Thought” is often tilted in such a way that causes us to miss an entire, alternative tradition that this project seeks to re-narrate.


After studying Philosophy and Jewish Studies at Tel Aviv University, Yael has completed a Masters degree in Jewish Studies/Theology at Potsdam University with a master thesis titled:“Judaism, Philosophy and the concept of responsibility towards the animal”. Since Fall 2019 Yael is a Doctoral fellow at the DFG-funded Research training group “Minor Cosmopolitanisms”.

Research Interests

  • Modern Jewish Thought
  • Sephardic/Mizrachi Thought
  • Post/Decolonial Studies
  • Animal Studies

Conference Papers and Public Lectures

“The politics of Tradition: Between Fidelity and Truth,” Conference title: “Canon,Transmission, Tradition and Critique”, Tel Aviv University September 21-22, 2016.

“Binational Politics in a conflict zone”, Evangelische Akademie, Stuttgart, July 4-6, 2014.

Conference and Workshop Organization

Academic excursion to Israel/Palestine Organizing Team “Narratives and Borders in Israel/Palestine”, Human Geography department, Radboud University, Niijmegen, 2018. Conference Organizing Team: “Critical Reflections on alternative Paths to Modernity”, Tel Aviv University, Van Leer Jerusalem Institute, 13-14 April 2016. Conference Organizing Team: “Icohtech- Histelcon 2015: History of High-Technologies and their Socio-Cultural Contexts”, Tel Aviv University, 16-21 August 2015.

Workshop Organizing Team: “The Impasses of Critique: Intellectual Praxis at an age of Political Impotence”, Van Leer Jerusalem Institute, 1-3 September 2013.


Ernst Ludwig Ehrlich Studienwerk recipient, 2017-2019.

Minerva short term grant recipient, at the Freie Universität Berlin, 2016.