Amir Eshel


Amir Eshel, MA, PhD

  • Edward Clark Crossett Professor of Humanistic Studies
  • Professor of Comparative Literature
  • Professor of German Studies
  • Affiliated faculty of The Europe Center
  • Affiliated faculty of The Taube Center for Jewish Studies
  • Faculty Director of The Contemporary Research Group
  • Faculty Director of the Poetic Media Lab
Dept of German Studies Building 260, Room 204 Stanford University Stanford, CA 94305-2030
(650) 723-0413 (voice)
(650) 725-8421 (fax)


Amir Eshel is Edward Clark Crossett Professor of Humanistic Studies. He is Professor of German Studies and Comparative Literature and as of 2019 Director of Comparative Literature and its graduate program. His Stanford affiliations include The Taube Center for Jewish Studies, Modern Thought & Literature, and The Europe Center at Stanford University’s Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies. He is also the faculty director of Stanford’s research group on The Contemporary and of the Poetic Media Lab at Stanford’s Center for Spatial and Textual Analysis (CESTA). His research focuses on contemporary literature and the arts as they touch on philosophy, specifically on memory, history, political thought, and ethics.

Amir Eshel is the author of Poetic Thinking Today (Stanford University Press, 2019); German translation at Suhrkamp Verlag, 2020). Previous books include Futurity: Contemporary Literature and the Quest for the Past (The University of Chicago Press in 2013). The German version of the book, Zukünftigkeit: Die zeitgenössische Literatur und die Vergangenheit, appeared in 2012 with Suhrkamp Verlag. Together with Rachel Seelig, he co-edited The German-Hebrew Dialogue: Studies of Encounter and Exchange (2018). In 2014, he co-edited with Ulrich Baer a book of essays on Hannah Arendt, Hannah Arendt: zwischen den Disziplinen; and also co-edited a book of essays on Barbara Honigmann with Yfaat Weiss, Kurz hinter der Wahrheit und dicht neben der Lüge (2013).

Earlier scholarship includes the books Zeit der Zäsur: Jüdische Lyriker im Angesicht der Shoah (1999), and Das Ungesagte Schreiben: Israelische Prosa und das Problem der Palästinensischen Flucht und Vertreibung (2006). Amir Eshel has also published essays on Franz Kafka, Hannah Arendt, Paul Celan, Dani Karavan, Gerhard Richter, W.G. Sebald, Günter Grass, Alexander Kluge, Barbara Honigmann, Durs Grünbein, Dan Pagis, S. Yizhar, and Yoram Kaniyuk.

Amir Eshel’s poetry includes a 2018 book with the artist Gerhard Richter, Zeichnungen/רישומים, a work which brings together 25 drawings by Richter from the clycle 40 Tage and Eshel’s bi-lingual poetry in Hebrew and German. In 2020, Mossad Bialik brings his Hebrew poetry collection בין מדבר למדבר, Between Deserts.

Amir Eshel is a recipient of fellowships from the Alexander von Humboldt and the Friedrich Ebert foundations and received the Award for Distinguished Teaching from the School of Humanities and Sciences.

In The News

Eshel Futurity

Amir Eshel’s new book on the concept of "Futurity"

Amir Eshel's new book, "Futurity: Contemporary Literature and the Quest for the Past" challenges the traditional view of literature written about traumatic events.

Europe, beyond bashing

With Europe's financial crisis front and center in the news for months, and in light of prognosticators' dire warnings of imminent collapse, TEC Director Amir Eshel talks about the strength and ability of Europe to overcome its economic troubles.

The fall of the Berlin Wall 20 years later

November 9, 2009 marks the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. The historic event symbolizes the end of the Cold War, and for the Germans living there, 1989 marks a turning point that continues to shape their culture. Amir Eshel, professor of comparative literature and director of FSI's Forum on Contemporary Europe and history professor James Sheehan reflect on the legacy of this important anniversary.