Na'ama Rokem

Associate Professor of Modern Hebrew Literature, Comparative Literature
On Leave AY 2017-2018

Ph.D. Stanford University, Comparative Literature, 2007.

Teaching at Chicago since 2009.

Special Interests

Modern Hebrew and German-Jewish literature

Na'ama Rokem works on Modern Hebrew and German-Jewish literature. Her first book, Prosaic Conditions: Heinrich Heine and Spaces of Zionist Literature (Northwestern University Press, 2013) argues that prose - as a figure of thought, a mode and a medium - played an instrumental role in the literary foundations of the Zionist revolution. She is now writing a book about the encounter between Paul Celan and Yehuda Amichai, as well as articles on multilingualism and translation in the works of Hannah Arendt and Leah Goldberg, on the politics of translation in Israel. With Amir Eshel, she coedited a special issue of Prooftexts, on German-Hebrew relations.

Rokem is the organizer of two international conferences at the University of Chicago:  "German and Hebrew: Histories of a Conversation,"  and "German-Jewish Echoes in the Middle East".

She  teaches a variety of courses including: Advanced Readings in Hebrew, The Bible in Modern Hebrew Literature, Multilingualism in Modern Jewish Literature, Writing the Jewish State, and Readings in World Literature. Together with Anastasia Giannakidou (Professor of Linguistics) she has co-taught a course for the Center for Disciplinary Innovation, on: Bilingualism: Cognitive, Linguistic, Cultural and Literary Approaches. In the Spring of 2015, this course will be repeated under the auspices of the Gray Center for Arts and Inquiry, in collaboration with Israeli-Palestinian novelist Sayed Kashua.


  • Prosaic Conditions: Heinrich Heine and the Spaces of Zionist Literature (Northwestern UP, 2013) On Amazon
  • "German Hebrew Encounters in the Poetry and Correspondence of Yehuda Amichai and Paul Celan" Prooftexts, 2010, 30, 97-127 PDF
  • "Heinrich Heine, Theodor Herzl and the Poetics of Space" Journal of Modern Jewish Studies, 2009, 8.1, 65-82
  • "Zionism before the Law: The Politics of Representation in Herzl and Kafka" Germanic Review, 2008, 83.4, 321-342 PDF



  • “Orientation and Translation: The Encounter Between Paul Celan and Yehuda Amichai”, International Conference on Paul Celan, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, June 2014
  • “The Utopia of Translation”, International Conference on Utopia in German-Jewish Literature, Basel University, June 2014
  • “Yehuda Amichai’s Bilingual Poetry”, Jewish Studies/ Holocaust, Genocide and Memory Studies Workshop, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, February, 2014
  • “Paul Celan’s Orientation Between the Languages”, Department of Germanic and Slavic Studies, University of Waterloo, April 2013
  • “Gershom Scholem and Hannah Arendt: A Conversation between the Languages”, Faculty Seminar, Miami University in Ohio, March 2013
  • “Who Owns Franz Kafka?” Posen Lecture, Miami University in Ohio, March 2013
  • “Kafka Goes to Palestine” University of Michigan, Roundtable on Kafka in the Middle East organized by the Center for Middle Eastern Studies and the Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures, April 2012
  • "Yehuda Amichai and Paul Celan: Navigating Between German and Hebrew" Annual Arnold Band Lecture in Modern Jewish Literature, Center for Jewish Studies, University of California, Los Angeles, March 2012
  • "The Zionist Legal Imagination: From Herzl to the Declaration of Independence" Internal Conference on the Declaration of Independence, Tel Aviv University, December 2011
  • “With the changing of horizons comes the broadening of the horizon: Multilingual Narrative Modes in M.Y. Berdichevsky’s Miriam” The Association for European-Jewish Literary Studies Conference, Antwerp, September 2011


  • 2014-2015 - Gray Center for Arts and Inquiry Grant for developing and co-teaching a "Bilingualism Laboratory"
  • 2013-2014 - Faculty Fellow at the Franke Institute of Humanities, University of Chicago
  • 2011-12 - Center for Disciplinary Innovation Grant, for co-teaching a course on Bilingualism
  • 2010-2011 - Faculty Fellow at the Frankel Institute for Advanced Judaic Studies, University of Michigan
  • Spring 2008 Kreitman Postdoctoral Fellowship, Ben Gurion University of the Negev
  • May 2008    Stanford Department of Comparative Literature, Bradley Rubidge Memorial Dissertation Prize for the Best Dissertation for the Period 2006-2008
  • 2006-2007  Geballe Dissertation Prize Fellowship, Stanford Humanities Center