After receiving his BA in Middle East studies and political economy in 2006 from Evergreen in Olympia, WA, Eli Sperling pursued an MA in contemporary Middle Eastern history at Tel Aviv University (2010). He has traveled and conducted research extensively throughout the Middle East, spending significant periods of time in Israel, Cairo and the Sinai Peninsula and received his PhD from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in September 2019.
From 2012-2020, Eli served as the Senior Academic Research Coordinator at Emory University’s Institute for the Study of Modern Israel, where he also taught as a guest lecturer at the Tam Institute for Jewish Studies. His research focuses on the proliferation and use of Hebrew music from Palestine in the American Jewish community between 1920-1948. He investigates how this music played a role in a greater process through which varying streams of transnational Zionism became enmeshed in American Jewish institutional, congregational, educational and communal life.
Current Research Interests
Israeli cultural history, before and after 1948
Zionist transnational history
Hebrew/Israeli culture in American Jewish communal life
American Jewish life and culture
Music's role in shaping national culture
Jewish nationalism and national movements
Reflections of Israeli politics and the Arab-Israel conflict in popular music
Current Appointments & Affiliations
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