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Summer term 2008


Prof. Dr. José Brunner (Tel Aviv)


José Brunner teaches at the Buchmann Faculty of Law and the Cohn Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Ideas of Tel Aviv University. Previously he taught there political science for over a decade. Since 2005 he is also Director of the Minerva Institute for German History of Tel Aviv University.

Brunner was born in Zürich, Switzerland. He studied political science at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and wrote his doctoral dissertation at St. Antony's College, Oxford, where he was supervised by the Polish philosopher Leszek Kolakowski. Brunner was Postdoctoral Fellow at the Minda de Gunzburg Centre for European Studies at Harvard, Visiting Scholar at the Sigmund Freud Center of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and he spent a year in Montreal as Visiting Hannah Professor at the Department of Social Studies of Medicine, McGill University.

Brunner's main areas of research and teaching include the history and politics of psychoanalysis, modern and contemporary political thought, time and law, psychological explanations of Nazism, practices of compensation for Holocaust survivors, and the political origins and uses of theories of trauma, especially within the context of the Middle East conflict.

Brunner's study of the political contents of Freud's writings, entitled Freud and the Politics of Psychoanalysis, appeared in 1995 in Britain (Blackwell) and in 2001 in the US (Transaction). A German translation was published in the same year (Klett-Cotta). In his capacity as Director of the Minerva Institute Brunner also edits the Tel Aviv Yearbook for German History, whose most recent volume appeared in April 2008 under the title Väterliche Autorität und mütterliche Macht: Elternbilder im deutschen Diskurs.

Brunner served as distinguished visiting professor at the Jena Center 20th Century History in summer 2008. During his stay in Jena, Brunner gave a public lecture and held three evenings of public conversations with prominent intellectuals who survived the Holocaust, addressing the question of how to reflect on history after Freud and Hitler.