Full-time lecturers


Prof. Ronit Ricci

On sabbatical until October 2022

Prof. Ronit Ricci's research interests include Indonesian history and culture, Javanese and Malay manuscript literatures, Translation Studies, Islamic literary traditions in South and Southeast Asia, and exile and diaspora in colonial Asia.

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She has published articles and essays on these topics. Her book, Islam Translated: Literature, Conversion, and the Arabic Cosmopolis of South and Southeast Asia, won the 2012 Harry Benda Prize in Southeast Asian Studies and the 2013 American Academy of Religion's Best First Book in the History of Religions Award. Her current project is a study of the literary history of the Sri Lankan Malays

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Prof. Yigal Bronner

Associate Professor - Department of Asian Studies

Yigal Bronner is an Associate Professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, specializing in Sanskrit poetry and poetics.


Dr. Rotem Geva

Head of India & Indonesia Section
Graduate Program Advisor - India & Indonesia Section
Office hours: By Appointment Room 6120



Dr. Orna Naftali

Senior Lecturer, China Section
Director, The Louis Frieberg Center for East Asian Studies
Office Hours (2021-22): First semester: Wed., 12:15-13:15; Second semester: Wed., 11:00-12:00. Room 6338 Humanities

Research interests: Anthropology of modern and contemporary China, with a focus on children, youth, and education; women, gender, and the family; science and subjectivity; national identity, militarism, and the nation-state; rights and legal consciousness of children and youth in China. 

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I completed a BA in East Asian Studies with a China emphasis (The Hebrew University); an MA in Culture Research (Tel Aviv University); and an MA and a PhD in Anthropology (University of California, Santa Barbara). Straddling the disciplines of China Studies, Cultural Studies, and Anthropology, my work covers a range of topics relating to children, youth and education in China, including: the globalization of Chinese education; the interplay between changes in notions and practices of childrearing and education and the emergence of new conceptualizations of play, privacy and subjectivity in China; the rise of child psychology in contemporary urban China; and the development of a new Chinese discourse on children's rights and children's citizenship, a topic which was the focus of my first book, Children, Rights, and Modernity in China: Raising Self-Governing Citizens (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014). 

My second book, Children in China (2016, China Today series, Polity Press), provides an overview of the dramatic changes that have taken place in the lives of rural and urban Chinese children since the launch of economic reforms in 1978. Covering schooling, consumption, identity formation processes, family and peer relations among other aspects of children’s lives, the book explores the rise of new ideas of child-care, child-vulnerability and child-agency; the impact of the One-Child Policy; and the emergence of children as independent consumers in the new market economy.  It also demonstrates how economic restructuring and the recent waves of rural–urban migration have produced starkly unequal conditions for children’s education and welfare both in the countryside and in the cities.

I am currently working on a new book project on education, nationalism, and youth Militarization in the PRC. Drawing on government, media, and educational sources and on data from two ethnographic field projects conducted in China in 2012-2019, the book explores the promotion of military values and techniques in Chinese education of the 2010s, highlights the intersection between this trend and the construction of national collectivity, masculinities and femininities in contemporary China, and discusses Chinese youth current notions of war and the military.


Selected publications:

Naftali, Orna. 2021. "Celebrating Violence? Children, Youth, and War Education in Maoist China (1949-76)". Journal of the History of Childhood and Youth 14 (2): 254-273

Naftali, Orna. 2021."'Being Chinese Means Becoming Cheap Labour': Education, National Belonging, and Social Positionality among Youth in Contemporary China". The China Quarterly 245: 51–71

Naftali, Orna. 2020. "Youth Military Training in China: Learning to 'Love the Army'". Journal of Youth Studies. Published Online first, pp. 1-19. 10.1080/13676261.2020.1828847

Naftali, Orna. 2020. "'Life is Wonderful because of the Military': PLA Recruitment Campaigns in Contemporary China". In Brendan Maartens and Tom Bivins (eds.). Propaganda and Public Relations in Military Recruitment: Promoting Military Service in the Twentieth and Twenty-First Centuries. Pp. 178-191. London: Routledge

Naftali, Orna. 2019. "Rights of Children and Youth in China: Protection, Provision, and Participation". In Sarah Biddulph and Joshua Rosenzweig (eds.). Handbook on Human Rights in China. Pp. 273-99. Cheltenham, UK and Northampton, MA, USA: Edward Elgar 

Naftali, Orna. 2018. "'These War Dramas are like Cartoons': Education, Media Consumption, and Chinese Youth Attitudes towards Japan". Journal of Contemporary China 27 (113): 703-718

Naftali, Orna. 2016. Children in China (China Today Series). Cambridge, UK: Polity Press

Naftali, Orna. 2014. Children, Rights, and Modernity in China: Raising Self-Governing Citizens (Studies in Childhood and Youth). Basingstoke, Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan

Naftali, Orna. 2014. "Chinese Childhood in Conflict: Children, Gender, and Violence in China of the 'Cultural Revolution' Period (1966-76)." Oriens Extremus 53: 85-110

Naftali, Orna. 2014. "Marketing War and the Military to Children and Youth in China: Little Red Soldiers in the Digital Age." China Information: A Journal on Contemporary China Studies 28 (1): 3-25

Teaching & Mentoring:

  • Teaching: At the Department of Asian Studies, I teach BA and MA courses on a range of issues related to Chinese culture and society, including: "Gender and Sexuality in the PRC"; "The State and the Family in Modern China"; "Class and Consumption in China; "The Anthropology of Contemporary Chinese Society"; “Internet and the Media in Contemporary China”; "Resistance and Protest in Contemporary China"; and "Research Methods of Modern Chinese Society and Politics".


  • Mentoring: I welcome inquiries from prospective MA and doctoral students interested in the following topics:

    • Children, childhood, and youth in the PRC (1949 to present)
    • Schooling and education in the PRC (1949 to present)
    • Anthropology of gender and the family in the PRC (1949 to present)
    • Popular nationalism in contemporary China
    • Militarization of childhood and youth in the PRC (1949 to present)
    • The rights of children and youth; youth legal consciousness in contemporary China


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Prof. Dan Orbach

Graduate Program Advisor - Japan Section

Dr. Danny Orbach is a military historian.

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A graduate of Harvard University, he specializes in the study of coups d'etat, political assassinations and military disobedience. His last two books are The Plots against Hitler (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), a study of the anti-Nazi resistance in the German army, and Curse on this Country: The Rebellious Army of Imperial Japan (Cornell University Press), on the culture of insubordination in the Japanese Imperial Army and the roots of the Pacific War. Currently, he is studying military adventurism in the East Asian sphere in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He was also writing regularly for the media in Hebrew and in English on issues of military and political significance. His writing can be followed in his academia.edu page, in his blog, The Owl, and in his Amazon author page



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Prof. Nissim Otmazgin

Dean of the Faculty of Humanities
Professor, Department of Asian Studies
By appointment with Leah (Assistant Dean): humdean_office@savion.huji.ac.il

Dr. Nissim Otmazgin is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Asian Studies, and a Research Fellow at the Harry S. Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace.

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His PhD dissertation (Kyoto University, 2007), which examines the export of Japan’s popular culture to Asia, won the Iue Asia Pacific Research Prize in October 2007 for outstanding dissertation on society and culture in Asia. As a part of this research, he conducted extensive fieldwork in Hong Kong, Singapore, Shanghai, Bangkok, and Seoul. His research interests include Japanese popular culture in Asia, popular culture and regionalization in East and Southeast Asia, Japan-Southeast Asian relations, and cultural industry and cultural policy in Japan and South Korea.

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Prof. Yuri Pines

Head of Department of Asian Studies
Traditional and modern Chinese history, early Chinese thought, China's political culture

Prof. Yuri Pines 尤銳 is Michael W. Lipson Professor of Asian Studies, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Guest Professor at Nankai University, Tianjin, China, and visiting professor at Beijing Normal University, China.

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His studies focus on early Chinese political thought, traditional Chinese political culture, origins of Chinese historiography, and sociopolitical history of pre-imperial China, particularly the state and empire of Qin. His major publications include The Everlasting Empire: Traditional Chinese Political Culture and Its Enduring Legacy (Princeton University Press, 2012); Envisioning Eternal Empire: Chinese Political Thought of the Warring States Era (University of Hawaii Press, 2009); Foundations of Confucian Thought: Intellectual Life in the Chunqiu Period, 722-453 B.C.E. (University of Hawaii Press, 2002). He co-authored (with Gideon Shelach and Yitzhak Shichor) 3-volumes All- under-Heaven: Imperial China (in Hebrew, Open University Press, 2011, 2013, forthcoming); co-edited together with Lothar von Falkenhausen, Gideon Shelach and Robin D.S. Yates the Birth of an Empire: The State of Qin revisited (University of California Press, 2014), and co-edited with Paul R. Goldin and Martin Kern the Ideology of Power and Power of Ideology in Early China (Brill, forthcoming 2015). In addition, he has several other edited and co-edited publications, and over 90 articles in scholarly journals and collected volumes.

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Prof. Gideon Shelach

Head of China Sector

Prof. Gideon Shelach is the Louis Freiberg Professor of East Asian Studies and the Chair of the Institute of African and Asian Studies, the Hebrew University.

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He hold a Ph.D. in archaeology from the University of Pittsburgh and since 1995 he is conducting archaeological field works in Northeast China. Currently he is heading the Fuxin Regional Archaeological Project in Liaoning province. Gideon published 8 books and more than 60 papers in leading academic journals (including Science, Antiquity, Journal of Anthropological Archaeology,Journal of Archaeological Science, and more, including academic journals in China). Among his recent books are: The Archaeology of China: From Prehistory to the Han Dynasty (Cambridge University Press, 2015); Prehistoric Societies on the Northern Frontiers of China: Archaeological Perspectives on Identity Formation and Economic Change during the First Millennium BCE (Equinox, 2009); Chifeng International Collaborative Archaeological Project (co-author, Pittsburgh 2011), The Birth of Empire: The State of Qin revisited (co-editor, University of California Press 2013).

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Dan Sherer

Dr. Dan Sherer

Japan Studies

Dan Sherer is a historian of Pre-Modern Japan, with a focus on the Sengoku period (roughly the 15th and 16th century). His research interests are primarily how smaller political entities of the time functioned and how they interacted with the powerful warrior regimes that ruled and fought over Japan at the time. A graduate of the University of Southern California, Dr. Sherer has been a researcher at the Tokyo University Historiographical Institute and a visiting fellow at the Kyoto Institute, Library and Archives (KILA).

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Dr. Sherer current project focuses on how the Kyoto temples of the Nichiren Buddhist sect survived the turbulent 16th century. This project utilizes the documents left behind by the Council of Head Temples, a governing body that allowed them to negotiate with the imperial court and powerful warriors as a unit, rather than temple by temple. This Council allowed them to see their way through one of the most violent periods in Japan’s history without taking up the sword themselves. Dr. Sherer has also published works on banditry and the history of Japanese conjuring.
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