Yair Mintzker is Assistant Professor of History, specializing in German-speaking Central Europe from the seventeenth to the nineteenth centuries. Born and raised in Jerusalem, Professor Mintzker received his M.A. in history cum laude magna from Tel-Aviv University (2003) and his Ph.D. from Stanford University (2009). He joined the Princeton faculty in 2009. His broad interests include urban history as well as intellectual, cultural, and political history of Early Modern and Modern Europe. He is the recipient of the Elizabeth Spielman Dissertation Prize (2009) and the Fritz Stern Dissertation Prize (2010), as well as fellowships from the DAAD, the Whiting Foundation, the Stanford Humanities Center, and the Institute of Advanced Study in Princeton.
Prof. Mintzker’s first book, The Defortification of the German City, 1689-1866 (New York: Cambridge University Pres, 2012), tells the story of the metamorphosis of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century German cities from walled to defortified places. By using a wealth of original sources, the book discusses one of the most significant moments in the emergence of the modern city: the dramatic—and often traumatic—demolition of the city’s centuries-old physical boundaries and the creation of the open city.
Prof. Mintzker currently works on a new book on one of the most notorious events in eighteenth-century Germany: the trial and execution of Joseph Süss Oppenheimer (“Jud Süss”), in 1730s Stuttgart.
1. “What is Defortification? Military Functions, Police Roles, and Symbolism in the Demolition of German City Walls in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries,” Bulletin of the German Historical Institute 48 (Spring 2011), 33-58.
2. “Between the Linguistic and the Spatial Turns: A Reconsideration of the Concept of Space and its Role in the Early Modern Period,” Historical Reflections/Reflexions Historiques 35 (Winter 2009), 37-51.
3. “‘A Word Newly Introduced into Language’: The Appearance and Spread of “Social” in French Enlightened Thought, 1745-1765.” History of European Ideas 34 (2008), pp. 500-514.
1. The Defortification of the German City, 1689-1866