Prof. Rakefet Sela-Sheffy
Unit of Culture Research
Tel Aviv University
Gilman, Box 50
Tel Aviv 69978, ISRAEL
Short Biographical Description
Rakefet Sela-Sheffy, born 1954 in Israel, Ph.D. (1993) from Tel Aviv University, is Associate Professor at the Unit of Culture Research, Faculty of Humanities, Tel-Aviv University. She was Head of the Leslie and Shirley School of Cultural Studies (2005-2009(, and is currently Chairperson of the Unit of Culture Research.
Her main fields are identity processes (with special accent on professional identity, identity and environmentalism), talk and self-representations, cultural models (with special accent on emotions as cultural models), culture contacts and culture retention, translation, pre-State and contemporary Israeli culture.
She has co-edited Identity and Status in the Translational Professions (with Miriam Shlesinger, 2011) and Culture Contacts and the Making of Cultures: Papers in Homage to Itamar Even-Zohar (with Gideon Toury, 2011). Her publications deal with Israeli identity in everyday talk; Culture retention by high-status immigrants – the case of German immigrants and the formation of bourgeois culture in British-ruled Palestine; Identity processes in semi-professional occupations and belated professionalization – the case of translators; and grassroots environmentalism and regional history – in early Israeli-State period. Her current research projects are:  Cultural models of anger – an interdisciplinary study, Culture and Brain research (Templeton Foundation, Chicago University 2010-2012, together with Talma Hendler and Judd Neeman, TAU);  Status strategies and the construction of occupational identity of semi-professional groups – Israeli translators as a case in point (ISF-The Israel Academy of Sciences 2006-2009, together with Prof. Miriam Shlesinger, Bar-Ilan University).  Grassroots environmentalism and identity – Western Galilee 1948—1964.
She has previously published on the notion of the canon and processes of canon formation; the formation of literary fields and repertoires – the case of late 18th century emergent modern German culture and literature; the concept of the habitus and cultural models; and on popular culture as manipulated by elite culture. Other past contributions deal with specific case studies such as canonizing processes in the fields of the modern popular song in America and Israel around the 1970's; and the role of literary activity and the rise of a new intellectual elite in the making of the modern German national culture during late 18th and early 19th centuries.
Between 1994 and 1999 she was a Lecturer (tenure track) at the Department of Hebrew and Comparative Literature, Haifa University. She has been a Visiting Scholar at the Herzog-August Bibliothek,Wolfenbüttel; the Max-Planck Institut für Geschichte, Göttingen; the Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies, Harvard University; the Literaturwissenschaftliches Seminar, Hamburg University; the Department of Anthropology, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John’s; the Department of Sociology, Harvard University; the Centre for Cross-Cultural Research, Australian National University; the Center for Cultural Studies, University of California, Santa Cruz, the Languages of Emotion Cluster, Freie Universitat, Berlin. She has been awarded international grants and research scholarships such as the DAAD, Minerva, the Wolfson Post-Doctoral Scholarship via The Israel Academy of Sciences, and the Humanities Fellowship of the Rothschild Foundation. In 1996 she was awarded the Koret Fellowship for Young Faculty, Haifa University. Her research project sponsored by The Israel Academy of Sciences are: "The Cultural Disposition of Legal Agents and the Formation of the Legal Field in the Israel Cultural System" (1994/5-1997/8); “Strategies of Image-Making and Status Advancement of a Marginal Occupational Group: Translators and Interpreters in Israel as a Case in Point” (2006-2009).