Shaul Mitelpunkt
Lecturer in Modern History

Profile

Biography

BA (Tel Aviv), MA (Chicago), PhD (Chicago)

Shaul Mitelpunkt is a lecturer in U.S. History. He specializes in cultural history, and his research interests include U.S. and the World, war and society, as well as gender and masculinity. His forthcoming book (under contract with Cambridge University Press), is titled Israel in the American Mind: the Cultural Politics of U.S.-Israeli Relations, 1958-1988. His recent article 'The Tank Driver who Ran with Poodles' has appeared in a Special Issue of Gender and History entitled Gender, Imperialism, and Global Exchange.

Shaul has joined the department at York in 2015 having taught at Northwestern University and at the University of Chicago in the USA.

Contact details

Dr Shaul Mitelpunkt
Vanbrugh College V/A/225
Department of History
University of York
Heslington
York
YO10 5DD

Tel: Internal 4889, External (01904) 324889

Research

Overview

Shaul has written and presented on the history of cultural politics and foreign relations in later 20th century U.S. His work is interested in the ways Americans’ defined their country’s place and mission in the world through popular media, personal encounters, and diplomacy. He also examines the ways Americans remade the place of military affairs in their lives. His forthcoming book, Israel in the American Mind: The Cultural Politics of U.S.-Israeli Relations, 1958-1988 examines the popular foundations of the U.S.-Israeli relationship from its formative period in the late 1950s to its solidification as a military alliance in the mid 1980s.

Bringing to light new sources from state and media archives, this study is the first to investigate in both English and Hebrew the intricate mechanisms that informed the changing terms of endearment and alienation between American and Israeli publics. Departing from traditional diplomatic histories that remain focused on the political elites, Shaul’s work places the relationship in the cultural, social, and ideological landscapes of both countries during the war-intensive 1960s and 1970s. Going beyond the designs of elite circles, it also reveals the conflicting emotions some Israelis felt towards their country’s eager courting of American patronage.

Shaul’s second book-length project, Civilian Empire: Military Conscription in American Imagination, 1939-2015, examines how did Americans came to see the separation between military service and citizenship as reasonable, and even virtuous. Whereas in the 1950s the citizen-soldier model captivated many Americans who saw military service as a symbol of their national dedication and social solidarity, developments surrounding the Vietnam War brought many Americans to consider military service as jeopardizing their freedoms as citizens.

The transformation in the experience and imagination of conscription has remade citizenship, gender norms, and ideas of a global mission in contemporary U.S. Utilizing a cultural lens, this project examines the ways a variety of voices (reporters, entertainers, politicians, artists, and scholars, among others) shaped attitudes towards civil-military relations both in accordance to and in rejection of official dictates. Other research interests include the politics of sports, tourism, and film.

Shaul will welcome enquiries from prospective postgraduates interested in all these areas.