Biography

Yael Berda is an Associate Professor of Sociology & Anthropology at Hebrew University and a Visiting Scholar with the Middle East Initiative. Previously, Berda was the Gerard Weinstock Visiting Lecturer in the Department of Sociology at Harvard University and an Academy Scholar at the Harvard Academy for International & Regional Studies, WCFIA from 2014-2017. Berda has taught at Princeton, NYU, Tel Aviv University and Jindal Global University. 


Berda’s research, teaching and public speaking in the tradition of law and society scholarship, is deeply engaged with historical legacies and contemporary politics. Her research focuses on the way bureaucracy shapes politics, and how mundane and routine practices of the state determine citizenship, sovereignty and social power. She is the author of three books and articles on bureaucracy and the state, emergency powers, and sociology of empires: The Bureaucracy of the Occupation (Van Leer 2012),  Living Emergency: Israel's Permit Regime in the West Bank (Stanford University Press, 2017), and Colonial Bureaucracy and Contemporary Citizenship: Legacies of race and emergency in the British Empire (Cambridge University Press, 2023). Berda is highly engaged in public debate and civil society on and in Israel/Palestine. Her other research projects are on construction of loyalty of civil servants in Israel and India, the use of emergency laws to shape political economy of colonial states, how colonial legacies of administration shaped contemporary homeland security practices in postcolonial states and legal histories of Jewish migration from the Magreb. Berda was a practicing Human Rights lawyer, representing in military, district, and Supreme courts in Israel. Berda received her PhD from Princeton University; MA from Tel Aviv University and LLB from Hebrew University faculty of Law. For media inquiries please email yberda@g.harvard.edu

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