Prof. Milette Shamir

Department of English and American Studies
Office of the Vice President
חוג לספרות אנגלית ולימודים אמריקניים סגל אקדמי בכיר
Prof. Milette Shamir
Phone: 03-6405224
Office: Administration Building, 306



Milette Shamir is currently serving as Vice President of Tel Aviv University, in charge of international academic collaboration. As faculty member in the Department of English and American Studies, her research focuses on U.S. literature and culture in the nineteenth century.  She is the author of Inexpressible Privacy: The Interior Life of Antebellum American Literature (Penn University Press, 2005) and the editor of Boys Don't Cry? Rethinking Narratives of Masculinity and Emotion in the US (with Jennifer Travis, Columbia University Press, 2002). Her most recent edited collection, Bigger than Ben-Hur: The Novel, Its Adaptations, and their Audiences (with Barbara Ryan, Syracuse University Press, 2015), is an offshoot of her monograph on American Holy-Land Narratives and the modernization of U.S. cultural forms during the long nineteenth century.  Her work appears regularly in journals and essay collections devoted to the study of American literature and cultural history.


Shamir earned her PhD from Brandeis University, where she worked with Michael T. Gilmore and Wai-Chee Dimock.  She was a visiting scholar at Duke University, at the University of Texas, Austin, and at NYU. She served or is serving on several boards, including, from 2012 to 2015, on the editorial board of American Literature. Among the grants and scholarships she received are an ISF research grant and an Alon scholarship.


Shamir is the editor-in-chief of the journal Poetics Today (with Irene Tucker of UC Irvine).  From 2015 to 2019 she served as Vice Dean of the Humanities for Academic Affairs.  She co-founded TAU's American Studies program in 2006, and served as its head for thirteen years. She served as chair of the Department of English and American Studies from 2006 to 2009.  In 2012 she founded TAU’s pioneering undergraduate program for international students--the BA in Liberal Arts—and served as its academic director until 2016.


She regularly teaches undergraduate and graduate courses on Antebellum American literature, American Realism and Naturalism, gender and sexuality, orientalism, transnationalism, and travel narratives.  She was awarded prizes for teaching excellence by TAU’s rector and by the Dean of Humanities.

Research Students

PhD dissertations:

  • Maya Merlob, “Meaninglessness and the Rhetoric of the Blank in Early American Fiction, 1785-1865”
  • Dan Cordova, “Violence, Science, and Determinism in Cormac McCarthy’s Fiction”
  • Shalhav Gadi, “Autobiographies of the In-Between: Eugene O’Neill and Lillian Helman" (co-supervisor)
  • Naama Cohen, “Anarchism in 20th-century American Literature”
  • Dana Omer, "Contemporary American Women Writers and the Midlife Crisis"

MA Theses:​ 

  • Shira Avni, “The Child-Commodity in 19th-Century Literature”
  • Maya Merlob, “American Romanticism, the Blank, and the Female Body”
  • Ilona Opengiemer, “In the Grip of the European Specter: Postcolonial Disorders in the Fantastic Fiction of Charles Brockden Brown and Washington Irving”
  • Dara Barnat, “The Poetics of Masculinity” (co-supervisor)
  • Ruth Lev Ari, “Quest/ion of Manhood”
  • Idan Liberman, “Killing Half the Dog or the Corporeal and Aural Dependence of Whiteness on Blackness in the Works of Herman Melville, Mark Twain and Elvis Presley”
  • Shalhav Baumel, “Eugene O'Neill's Theatrical Confessions”
  • Hila Baruch, "’She, in Fact, Could Do Better’: the ‘High Trash’ of Patricia Highsmith”
  • Naama Cohen, “The Black Flag of Tom Joad – Anarchist Ideology in John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men, The Grapes of Wrath, and Cannery Row”
  • Maya Fidelman, “American Consuls in 19th Century Ottoman Palestine: Rhetoric and Influence on U.S Foreign Policy”
  • Ya’ara Notea, “From Margaret to Rachel: Judy Blume's Fictions of Female Development”
  • Nitzan Lapidot, “Mother Tongue: The Language of Childbirth Pain”
  • Leetal Weinbaum, “Non-binary gender in the television show Supernatural, and in its fan fiction”
  • Omri Cohen, "On the Universalist and Universalizing in Zadie Smith's White Teeth and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's Americanah"
  • Vanessa Mishkit, "Hansels and Gretels, and the Metaphor(s) of Home"
  • Louise Hyatt, "Men, Masculinity, and Law in Nineteenth-Century American Literature"
  • Shahdan Anabousi, "Arab Women Anglicizing War: Relations of Power in War Diaries and Memoirs of Bilad al-Sham"



Books and Edited Collections

  • Sacred Modernity: Protestant-Americans and the Holy Land, 1865-1910 (in progress).
  • Bigger than Ben-Hur: The Novel, Its Adaptations, and Their Audiences, co-edited with Barbara Ryan, Syracuse University Press, 2015.
  • Privacy: The History of a Modern Idea, Special Issue of Zmanim, co-edited with Michael Zakim, Open University Press, 2008 (in Hebrew).
  • Inexpressible Privacy: The Interior Life of Antebellum American Literature, University of Pennsylvania Press, 2005 (Selected an Outstanding Academic Title by Choice Magazine, 2006).
  • Boys Don't Cry? Rethinking Narratives of Masculinity and Emotion in the U.S., co-edited with Jennifer Travis, Columbia University Press, 2002.

 Essays and Book Chapters  

  • "How to Make the East Interesting: Poe and the Holy-Land Vogue." Poe Studies: History, Theory, Interpretation 53 (2020).
  • "On the Uselessness of Knowledge: William F. Lynch's 'interesting' Expedition to the Dead Sea." Journal of the Early Republic 38 (2018): 475-499.
  • "The Emergence of a Right to Privacy."The Routledge Research Companion to Law and the Humanities in 19th-century America, eds. Nan Goodman and Simon Stern.  Routledge, 2017.  211-24.
  • "Ben-Hur’s Mother: Narrative Time, Nostalgia, and Progress in the Protestant Historical Romance." In Bigger than Ben-Hur.  Syracuse University Press, 2016. 33-51.
  • "Wallace and the Ben-Hur Tradition”"(with Barbara Ryan). In Bigger than Ben-Hur. 1-17.
  • "Herman Melville and the Civilian Author." The Cambridge Companion to American Civil War Literature, ed. Coleman Hutchison. Cambridge University Press, 2015. 211-26.
  • "Encounters of a Third Kind: Rethinking 19th-Century American Holy-Land Travel Narratives," Quest no. 6: special issue on Holy Land Travel (2013): 116-37.
  • "The Jerusalem Exhibit at the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair." Journal of Levantine Studies 2.1 (2012): 93-113.
  • "The Price of Success," afterword to Martin Eden, Carmel Publishers, 2012, 309-20. (In Hebrew)
  • "Manhood and the Early American Novel," In The Cambridge History of the American Novel, eds. Leonard Cassuto, Clare Eby, and Benjamin Reiss. Cambridge University Press, 2011. 192-209.
  • Afterword to The Postman Always Rings Twice (Maariv, 2011), 127-133. (in Hebrew).
  • "Privacy and Intimacy in the 19th-century American Home." Zmanim 104 (2008): 26-33. (In Hebrew)
  • "Introduction: The Private Self as Self-Sovereign" (with Michael Zakim). Zmanim 104 (2008). (In Hebrew)
  • "Domestic(acted) Partners: Rereading the Myth of Interracial Fraternity From The Deerslayer to Lethal Weapon." In Masculinities, Femininities and the Power of the Hybrid in U.S. Narratives: Essays on Gender Borders, eds. Nieves Pascual, Laura Alonso-Gallo, and Francisco Collado-Rodriguez. Heidleberg, 2007. 157-72.
  • "Jewish America: The Visible Domain." Review Essay. American Literary History 19.1 (2007): 56-64.
  • "Foreigners Within and Innocents Abroad: Discourse of the Self in the Internationalization of American Studies." Journal of American Studies (December 2003): 375-388.
  • "'Our Jerusalem': Americans in the Holy Land and Postbellum Narratives of National Entitlement." American Quarterly (March 2003): 29-60.
  • "’The Manliest Relations to Men’: Manhood and Intimacy in the American Renaissance." In Boys don't Cry? New York: Columbia University Press.  64-87.
  • "Boys don’t Cry? An Introduction" (with Jennifer Travis). In Boys don't Cry?, 1-22.
  •  Introduction to E.A. Poe’s "Man of the Crowd," Zmanim 78 (2002). (In Hebrew).
  • "Romance and the Right to Privacy." American Quarterly 49.4 (December 1997): 746-79. ​
  • "Historical Contentions, Critical Assent." Review Essay. Poetics Today 18.3 (Winter 1997): 429-38.
  • "Divided Plots: Space and Gender Difference in Domestic Fiction." Genre: Forms of Discourse and Culture 29.4 (Winter 1996): 429-72. Reprinted in Nineteenth Century Literature Criticism, Vol. 164, Detroit: Gale Group 2006

​Book Reviews and Reports 

  • Review of Abolitionist Geographies by Martha Schoolman and Territories of Empire by Andy Doolen, American Literature (March 2016): 188-90.
  • "Traveling Melville" (report of MLA panel), Leviathan 14.2 (2012): 97-100.
  • Review of Reading Fiction in Antebellum America by James L. Machor. American Literature 98.3 (2011): 823-4.
  • "Crossing Borders in Jerusalem" (essay on Melville Society conference), Leviathan 12.1 (2010): 72-6.
  • Review of Millennial Literatures of the Americas, 1492-2002 by Thomas O. Beebee and Apocalyptic Patterns in Twentieth-Century Fiction by David J. Leigh. American Literature 82.2 (2010): 441-2.
  • "Recovering Early American Orientalism." Review of The Cultural Roots of American Islamicism by Timothy Marr. H-Amstdy, September 2007.
  • Review of All Poets Welcome by Daniel Kane and of Diaspora and Zionism in Jewish American Literature by Ranen Omer-Sherman. American Literature (June 2004).
  • Review of White Diaspora by Katherine Jurca. Modernism/Modernity (April 2002).



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