The Department of English Language & Literature, University of Haifa
Spring 2023 Newsletter
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Greetings from the Department Chair
Our department's main activities are writing and reading. We engage with novels, student papers, poems, emails, plays, letters, assignments, and comments on assignments. We write and rewrite our research, which is read in turn by other scholars and students. In this reading and writing we have always been assisted by technology: from stone tablets and papyri to pens, reading glasses, paperbacks, zines, audiobooks, e-readers, laptops, PDFs, word processors, and the internet. Each technology modifies how, what, and how much we write and read and changes both the ways we communicate with each other and who we are.
Last November, Chat GPT became the latest technology to join our desktop. One wonders, how will we write and read during the age of artificial intelligence? While some have denounced this technology and are fearful of its consequences, others see in it a great leap forward. I am neither  elated nor worried but think of AI as yet another opportunity to reflect on how we make meaning, and how that makes us into who we are. Critical thinking meets artificial intelligence – let's see what happens.
[However, this is not an opportunity to plagiarize – see our new AI policy below!]
Department's Policy regarding AI
As some of you already know, and others will know soon, Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology is developing the ability to write texts that, to an untrained eye, can pass as literary analysis and other forms of academic writing. While AI and other forms of technology can be very useful for various purposes, they are counterproductive to the development of the academic, critical, and analytical skills that are our teaching goals and the core values we aim to uphold.
For this reason, we would like to make absolutely clear that the use of AI technologies in assignments is strictly prohibited and constitutes plagiarism as defined on the Department website and your class syllabi. This policy is effective immediately, and infractions will be dealt with according to departmental and university disciplinary regulations.
The English Department takes great pride in our students’ abilities and independent thinking, doing our best to foster a departmental culture of respect and intellectual honesty. Remember, the only AI that we need is Academic Integrity!
Nice to meet... Our Postdocs
Dr. Avinoam Naeh

I am a historian of early modern England, with a focus on economic culture and inter-religious relations. I am especially intrigued by the profound shifts this society underwent during the long eighteenth century – political, economic, social, and cultural – which eventually created modern financial economy. At the department of English Language and Literature, I am a fellow affiliated with Dr. Zoe Beenstock’s ISF project “A New Sacred Geography: Imagining Biblical Antiquarian History in British Romantic Literature.” My project focuses on the interfaces of antiquarianism of the Jews and the temple with contemporary socioeconomic concerns. I am also finishing my book, An Economy of Strangers: Jews and Finance in 
England, 1650-1830, which is forthcoming from Penn Press at the end of 2023. I live in Jerusalem with my family, and in my spare time, when such a thing occurs, I enjoy hiking and watching movies, and confess having a weakness for historical documentaries on twentieth-century wars. 
Dr. Tamar Rozett
I am a postdoctoral fellow in the English Department, working with Dr. Zoe Beenstock. A historian by training, I research the intersections between technology and emotions in the modern British empire. My overall aim is to unravel and understand mundane, everyday experiences through the eyes of men and women of the past.
My dissertation, completed at the Hebrew University and now being reworked into a book, charts the changes in the communication infrastructure of the nineteenth century British Empire Mail and their effects on family feelings.
 A separate postdoctoral project of mine, formulated during my time at Duke University and as a Dan David Fellow at Tel Aviv University, focuses on another everyday experience: cleanliness. It examines the modern transformation in European cleanliness technologies within imperial encounters. My present work at the English Department derives from this project. I am analyzing the as-yet unresearched letters of Hester Lucy Stanhope, paving the way towards an understanding of cross-cultural exchanges in British and Ottoman imperial contexts.
You might find me in the playground running after my children, or at home cooking and listening to bizarre stories on podcasts, or reading novels whenever I can spare the time.
Congratulations to Keren Omry for being elected as the next Department Chair starting October 2023. 

And congratulations to Ayelet Ben-Yishai for being promoted to Associate Professor and for publishing her book Genres of Emergency: Forms of Crisis and Continuity in Indian Writing in English (Oxford University Press, 2023).
Department Events

Joint Poetry Reading with Bar Ilan University Featuring Marcela Sulak

On March 12, we were honored to host our second poetry reading of the year organized by Yosefa Raz and Jenn Lewin. This series, now in its third year, this time garnered a crowd of over 110 literature enthusiasts. It brought together student poets from Bar Ilan University and the Department of English Language and Literature, who got to meet each other and share their poems with the community. The second half of the event featured Marcela Sulak, director of BIU’s Shaindy Rudoff Graduate Program in Creative Writing and managing editor of the Ilanot Review, who read from her poetry and answered questions from the audience afterward. The event was a great success and we look forward to more such occasions! 
Haifa Reads… Allen Ginsberg’s "Howl"
After a sequence of four novels, the 5th Annual Haifa Reads event, held on 14th of November 2022, was dedicated to a poem, Allen Ginsberg’s "Howl."  
Dr. Raz introduced us to “The Beats, 'Howl,' and Prophetic Poetry” in a talk that focused mainly on the first part of the poem. We then read its second part in groups, discussing the meanings and implications of “Moloch,” and, after a break for pizza, Dr. Feldman surveyed the obscenity trial that followed "Howl"’s publication. In the last panel, students and faculty recited the third part of the poem, alternating between Arabic (Hadeel Majdoub and Nour Ibrahim), Danish (Dr. Ebileeni), Hebrew (Dr. Barzilai), Hindi (Prof. Ben-Yishai), and Russian (Yael Atlas).
Interspersed between the talks, the readings, and the discussion, were recordings of Ginsberg readings of the poem, and clips from the 2010 film Howl, which interweaves the text, its animated version (created by Ginsberg and Eric Drooker), transcripts of the obscenity trial, and interviews given by Ginsberg. We ended with the fourth and last part of "Howl" and its inspiring affirmation of human nature: “Holy the supernatural extra brilliant intelligent kindness of the soul!”
Preparations for our 6th Annual Haifa Reads event are already underway. We look forward to seeing you there. 

SELI Conference
On February 1, the annual conference for the Study of English Literature in Israel (SELI) came full circle as we returned to the Haifa Port Campus for our seventh (!) meeting. Back in 2017, when we held our first conference in Haifa, we wondered whether we could sustain a yearly conference, whether we could make a tradition. Having proven ourselves sustainable, we thought it might be time to think about the many ways in which we sustain the world around us and the way it sustains us: our environment, our communities, our cultures, our forms, and our languages. Scholars from around the country presented a rich program which addressed "Sustainability" broadly and creatively, thinking about the ways in which literature and literary criticism engage with the pressing concerns of the world around us. The keynote address featured our very own Daphna Erdinast-Vulcan who gave a fascinating "Ecological Perspective on What We Do." It was also a chance to meet old friends, to make new ones, to share our ideas, to do what we do every day – but together. We look forward to meeting again, next year, at Bar-Ilan University for SELI 2024.
Dr. Maurice Ebileeni's Book Panel
On January 17th, the English Department convened a panel discussion to celebrate the publication of Maurice Ebileeni’s Being There, Being Here: Palestinian Writings in the World, published by Syracuse University Press in 2022. Dr. Ebileeni’s book is a ground-breaking study of Palestinian diasporic literatures, addressing the proliferation of Palestinian fiction outside the Middle East and in multiple languages other than Palestinian Arabic, including Spanish, English, Italian, Danish and Hebrew. Alongside our own Department Chair, Professor Ayelet Ben-Yishai, who 
brought her expertise in postcolonial literatures to bear upon the discussion, the panel of respondents included Ella Elbaz of the University of Haifa’s Arabic Language and Literature Department and Manar Makhoul of the Arabic and Islamic Studies Department at Tel Aviv University. Indeed, Drs. Ebileeni, Elbaz, and Makhoul have become in recent years a rising force in Palestinian literary criticism and history, and we were delighted to provide a forum for debate among this dynamic group of scholars, who between them established the multiple resonances and the profound critical significance of Dr. Ebileeni’s work.
Future Events in the Department
Mount Carmel, Haifa 31905 Israel, Tel. 972-4-8249803, Fax. 972-4-8249711 
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