Associate Professor of Modern Hebrew Language & Literature
Phone: 573-5312 Office: 707 Williams Hall E-mail:
Dr. Nili Gold is an Associate Professor of Modern Hebrew Literature in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations (NELC, formerly AMES), where she has been teaching since 2000.
Born in Haifa, Israel, Dr. Gold graduated from the French Alliance School and received her B.A. in Hebrew Literature and Education-research as well as her High School Teachers diploma at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She got her M.A. from the Jewish Theological Seminary of America (JTSA, thesis: "Poetic Closure: A Case Study, Natan Zach.") and later, when she studied for her doctorate at the same institution, she received the Charles S. Revson Fellowship in Hebrew Literature. In the final stages of writing her dissertation, she received a Doctoral Scholarship Grant from the Memorial Foundation of Jewish Culture (thesis: "The Transformation of Images and Structures in the Poetry of Yehuda Amichai"). While studying at JTSA, she taught at the neighboring Columbia University as an instructor of Hebrew Language at the Department of Middle East and Asian Languages and Cultures (MEALAC). Before completing her doctorate, she was appointed Assistant Professor of Hebrew Literature and Language in that department, and later promoted to Associate Professor.
In 2000, she joined the faculty of the University of Pennsylvania in the Asian and Middle Eastern Studies Department (AMES), first as lecturer and then as standing faculty. She was awarded the Faculty Research Fellowship of the Penn Humanities Forum and in the following year, she was a Fellow at the Center for Advanced Judaic Studies at Penn.
Dr. Gold combines psychoanalytic, biographical and cultural-historical approaches in the study of Hebrew and Israeli literature. The roots and implications of the phenomena she investigates go beyond both the geographic and temporal borders of Israel. Diasporic Studies, questions of immigration, and multilingualism inform her later works.
Dr. Gold has published many articles in both English and Hebrew academic journals and collections. In 1994, she published Lo Kabrosh: Gilgule Imagim Ve-tavniyot Be-shirat Yehuda Amichai (Not Like a Cypress: Transformations of Images and Structures in the Poetry of Yehuda Amichai), which won the Award for the Best First Book in Hebrew Literature from the Ministry of Science and Culture of the State of Israel. In addition to the aforementioned book, she has published numerous articles on Amichai's work as well as on other Modern and Post-Modern Hebrew and Israeli authors. Much of her scholarly effort has been devoted to her psychoanalytically-motivated 'Mother Tongue' project on authors who write in their second language. She argues that there is a phantom presence of other languages concealed within the central, Israeli narrative.After Amichai's death in 2000, she began writing a critical biography of the great poet in English, entitled Yehuda Amichai: The Making of Israel's National Poet. It is scheduled for publication by University Press of New England/ Brandeis University Press in September 2008.
Among her recent articles are "And the Migration of My Parents Has Not Subsided in Me: Yehuda Amichai" in Middle Eastern Literatures: Incorporating Edebi Yat 8 # 2 (July 2005), And "Mysticism and Messiahs in the Poetry of Binyamin Shvili," in Religion and Religiosity in Modern Jewish and Islamic Literatures, G. Abramson and H. Kilpatrick eds. Rutledge, 2005
Dr. Gold is a great believer in the Socratic Method (e.g. learning through discussion rather than through lectures) and this is reflected in her teaching style. She offers two courses each semester: one in original Modern Hebrew and the other in English translation. While focused on the multiple voices of Israeli culture, her English-taught literature and film courses also include a strong comparative component and have been cross-listed with Comparative Literature, English Literature and Film Studies. Her literature courses taught in the original Hebrew apply contemporary critical reading methods and approaches to the text and each focuses on different genres and periods of pre-Israeli and Israeli writing.
Over the past few years, along with the help of various entities at Penn, Dr. Gold has planned cultural events and performances at the university and hosted important Israeli writers, translators and filmmakers. Last year, she hosted the universally renowned author Amos Oz, who was in residence at Penn, for three days as part of the International Scholars Conference that she organized.