In this essay, I argue that contemporary Israeli literature possesses a more “advanced” historical imaginary than that of contemporary “post-post-Zionist” Israeli historiography, and I relate this gap to the neoliberalization of the Israeli economy. I begin by arguing that contemporary literature’s historical imaginary marks a departure from its 80s and 90s postmodern predecessors. I show that this departure is evident in contemporary Israeli literature’s explicit recognition of an inability to relate subjective experience to larger history. This recognition constitutes a dialectical overcoming of Israeli postmodernism’s playful dismantling of the national historical narrative. I then argue that Israeli “post-post-Zionist” historiography constitutes an entry into a postmodern phase, in contrast to literature’s departure from postmodernism. Thus, I argue that literature seems to be “ahead” of historiography, in terms of each field’s temporal imagination. I conclude this essay by suggesting that one can explain this gap by taking into account the effects of Israeli neoliberalization on each field. While state–supported and owned print industry and presses were privatized early in Israel, the privatization of higher education started later, and is still taking place. I thus suggest that the reason literature seems “ahead” of academic work is a result of the stronger and more immediate coupling of literary institutions with the capitalist market than the more mediated relation between the capitalist market and the academy.
"Israeli Literature and the Time of "post-post-Zionism"."
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