About me...

Uriel Abulof (photo copyright: AFTAU / Tracy Levy)

“Know thyself,” advised the Oracle of Delphi. Easier said than done, not least in the academic realm, where knowledge of oneself so deeply intertwines with expanding one’s knowledge about others (in research), for others (in teaching), and with others (in both). Such has been my academic quest, along a winding path.

Living in Jerusalem is living on the edge. I was born there, spending most of my life among, and between, Jews and Arabs, secular and religious, left and right, doom and deliverance. Jerusalem has seen them all, and more, witnessing the rise and fall of peoples, empires, religions, civilizations, and nations. Existential fears and dreams are so omnipresent as to be near transparent. Studying them thus becomes ever more daunting—yet rewarding. This has been my task.

Archilochus wrote, “the fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing,” and Isaiah Berlin famously suggested this reflects two sorts of writers. I might well be a fox; this, at least, is what my list of publications seems to suggest: Israeli Arab “future vision” documents, resident alien franchise, the democratic peace, diversion theory, small nations, the Iranian nuclear project, corpus linguistics, ethnic conflicts, rentier state theory, bi-nationalism, public political thought, the concept of rationality, securitization theory, religion and nationalism, the Arab Spring, mortality and morality, the puzzle of self-determination—my intellectual curiosity has led me to investigations that often seem to have little in common. Such diversity can be a blessing. It can facilitate cross-fertilization across research fields, encourage new questions, richer answers. Still, when it comes to interdisciplinary research, we often talk the talk but do not walk the walk, and for good reason. It makes professionalization more daunting, publication even harder. It is thus with some relief that I recently came to realize that I might have the mind of a fox, but the heart of hedgehog. This beating heart of my research is Political Existentialism...

“It is perfectly true, as the philosophers say, that life must be understood backwards. But they forget the other proposition, that it must be lived forwards.”
Søren Kierkegaard, Journals