Saposnik is Associate Professor at the Ben-Gurion Institute for the Study of Israel and Zionism at Ben-Gurion University in the Negev. During academic year 2013-14, he is also on leave from the University of California, Los Angeles, where he is Chair in Israel Studies and is Associate Professor in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures. Saposnik is a historian of Zionism and Jewish nationalism, interested, in the broader context, in the construction of national cultures and identities in the modern world. In his current research, Saposnik is working on imagery and symbolism of the sacred in the making of Jewish nationalism, and in Zionism and Israeli culture in particular. He is also studying competing notions of the link between Jews and territory in the modern world.
Saposnik’s book, Becoming Hebrew: The Creation of a Jewish National Culture in Ottoman Palestine, is a study of the ways in which a Zionist national culture was generated in the Jewish Yishuv (pre-state community) of Palestine between 1900 and 1914. Much of the literature to date has assumed that a distinctive Zionist national culture began to appear in Palestine during the interwar period, whereas Becoming Hebrew argues that its formative period in fact predates the war.
Saposnik’s publications include: “Contested Ignominies and Conflicting Sacralities: The Changing Faces of Zionism’s Jerusalem”, Miriam Elman and Madelaine Adelman eds., Jerusalem: Conflict and Cooperation in a Contested City, Syracuse University Press (forthcoming), “Succor for the Ailing Jewish Body: Images of Jewish Racial Degeneracy and Zionist Cultural Work in Palestine”, Jana Evans Braziel and Joseph Young, eds., Erasing Public Memory: Race, Aesthetics, and Cultural Memory, Mercer University Press; 187-208.