Prof. Avner Wishnitzer

Department of Middle Eastern and African History
חוג להיסטוריה של המזרח התיכון ואפריקה סגל אקדמי בכיר
Prof. Avner Wishnitzer
Office: Gilman-humanities, 453ב

General Information

My work focuses mainly on the social and cultural history of the Ottoman Empire, from the early eighteenth century to its demise following WWI. I am interested in particular in "transparent" aspects of the historical reality, that is, aspects that evade our glance, or appear marginal, trivial or natural. Thus, for example, I worked on the history of time, darkness and silence, boredom, and facial hair, and tried to demonstrate their significance in concrete historical contexts.  These days I am working on a new project focusing on the history of imagination in the long nineteenth century.

My first book, Reading Clocks alla Turca: Time and Society in the Late Ottoman Empire was published by the University of Chicago Press in 2015 and was later translated into Turkish and Hebrew. My second book, As Night Falls: Eighteenth-Century Ottoman Cities after Dark was published by Cambridge University Press in 2021 and is currently being translated in Turkish.

 I was born and raised in Kibbutz Kvutsat Shiller and I live with my family in Jerusalem for almost two decades.  




Cultural history of the late Ottoman Empire

Recent Publication

“Don’t Want to Sleep: Night Life and Drinking in Eighteenth-Century Istanbul,” Ha-Mizrah ha-hadash, 61 (2022): 79-106 [Hebrew].

Usable Past for a Heating World: The Historical Discipline and the Climate Crisis," (with On Barak), Kriʾot Yisraʾeliyot 2 (2022): 65-75 [Hebrew].

As Night Falls: Eighteenth-Century Ottoman Cities after Dark (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2021).

“Timekeeping: Socio-Cultural and Political Aspects,” in Encyclopaedia of Islam, THREE (2021).

“Yawn: Boredom and Powerlessness in the Late Ottoman Empire,” Journal of Social History, 55, 2 (2021): 400–425.

“Kerosene Nights: Light and Enlightenment in Late Ottoman Jerusalem,” Past & Present, 248, 1 (2020): 165-207.

"Beneath the Mustache: A Well-Trimmed History of Facial Hair in the Late Ottoman Empire," Journal of Social and Economic History of the Orient, 61(2018): 289-326.


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