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Nitzan Lebovic portrait

Nitzan Lebovic


Apter Chair of Holocaust Studies and Ethical Values

Director of Graduate Studies

Room 328 - Maginnes Hall

Ph.D., History, UCLA , 2005

B. A. (S.C.L.), General History and Theory of Literature, Tel Aviv University, 1997

Graduate year studies at Ludwig-Maximillian Universität, Munich, 1996–97

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Additional Interests

  • Modern Jewish History
  • Modern European History
  • Intellectual History
  • Critical Thought

Research Statement

Nitzan Lebovic’s work is focused on the history of political concepts. His first book traced the history of life (Lebensphilosophie) in German and German-Jewish culture. His second book presented an alternative to national histories of Zionism by examining the melancholy of early Zionist writing. Nitzan is awaiting the publication of his third monograph, dedicated to the history of temporal concepts in the twentieth century, and is currently researching the history of complicity in a transnational context, between 1945- present. Nitzan is also the editor of collections of essays, and special issues, dedicated to concepts such as catastrophe, nihilism, political theology, and biopolitics. 


Nitzan Lebovic grew up in a Tel-Aviv suburb and considered himself a musician until he was  eighteen. He studied in Tel-Aviv and in Munich, Germany, before continuing his studies for a  PhD in intellectual history, at UCLA. Nitzan won a series of prestigious post-doctoral fellowships before accepting an offer from Lehigh University. He considers himself a political activist, next to his academic work, and is among the founders of a number of political forums, among them Academy4Equality, the largest academic organization for Progressive academics in Israel-Palestine.

The Philosophy  of Life and Death: Ludwig Klages and the Rise of a Nazi Biopolitics (2013) focuses on the circle around the Lebensphilosophie and anti-Semitic thinker Ludwig Klages. 

Zionism and Melancholy: The Short Life of Israel Zarchi, came out in Hebrew in 2015 and was published in English in June 2019 in the New Jewish Philosophy and Thought series at Indiana University Press. 

Homo Temporalis: Martin Buber, Walter Benjamin, Hannah Arendt, and Paul Celan is forthcoming (Dec. 2024) with "Signale" at Cornell University Press.

Professor Lebovic is also co-editor of The Politics of Nihilism (2014), and of Catastrophes: A History and Theory of an Operative Concept (2014), and has authored special issues of the journals Rethinking History ("Nihilism"), Zmanim ("Religion and Power"), the New German Critique("Political Theology"), Comparative Literature and Culture ("On Complicity and Dissent"), and Political Theology ("Prophetic Politics").


Professor Lebovic regularly teaches classes about the history of the Holocaust; History of Racism, anti-Semitism and Islamophobia; history of time; history of total war; Modern Jewish Culture; the history of global fascism.