Teaching Fellow and Visiting Lecturer in Political Science and International Studies
DPhil in Politics, University of Oxford, 2012
MA in Near Eastern Studies, New York University (NYU), 2006
MA (Hons), First Class, in History, University of Edinburgh, 2004
Dr Steinfeld joined POLSIS as a Teaching Fellow and Visiting Lecturer in September 2011 having previously been a Departmental Teaching Associate in the Department of Political Science and International Relations at the University of Oxford. She completed her doctoral studies at St Antony’s College, Oxford, in January 2012.
Her primary area of interest is Israel, and particularly debates about Israel as a ‘Jewish and democratic state.’ Her doctoral thesis, War of the Wombs: The History and Politics of Fertility Policies in Israel, 1948-2010, examines the extent to which the archival sources substantiate the claim, made in the existing literature, that Israel has established and maintained discriminatory fertility policies intended to increase Jewish fertility while lowering non-Jewish, specifically Palestinian-Arab, fertility in order to ensure a Jewish majority through internal population growth. Her research thus seeks to determine whether Israel's demographic need, or desire, to maintain a Jewish majority has extended into the formulation of its fertility policies - as well as its immigration and territorial policies. As such, her doctorate contributes further to understanding the ways in which bodies, and the most seemingly intimate decisions connected to them, have become the sites of conflict amongst a number of state and non-state actors.
Rebecca is also interested in gender broadly, and has contributed to debates on a variety of gender-related topics. She regularly presents her ideas and convenes panels at the Association of Israel Studies (AIS), European Association of Israel Studies (EAIS), and Middle East Studies Association (MESA).
Rebecca Steinfeld is the convenor of the following modules:
POLS 339 – Diplomatic History of the Arab-Israeli Conflict
G2H – Politics of the Arab-Israeli Conflict
Research and academic interests
Race and ethnicity
Gender, reproduction and fertility
Nationalism and colonialism
Zionism and Palestinian nationalism
Israeli history and politics
The history of the Arab-Israeli and Israeli-Palestinian conflicts
Current and recent projects
Rebecca Steinfeld is presently writing or planning to write about:
The history and politics of fertility policies in Israel since 1948
Fertility policies in comparative perspective
The relationship between Liberalism and Zionism
Member, Association of Israel Studies
Member, European Association of Israel Studies
Member, Middle East Studies Association
Member, Association of Middle East Women’s Studies
Facilitator, Forum for Discussion of Israel and Palestine
Rebecca Steinfeld, "Liberal Zionism: A Contradiction in Terms?" Jewish Quarterly (27 March 2012)
Rebecca Steinfeld, "We should be free to debate," The Jewish Chronicle (4 July 2011)
Rebecca Steinfeld, "Fruitful," Tablet Magazine (20 June 2011)
Rebecca Steinfeld and Neil Howard, "Time to Ban Male Circumcision?" Guardian Law (14 June 2011)
On 20 June 2011, I was interviewed by Sara Ivry for Tablet Magazine's podcast, Vox Tablet, about my doctoral research on fertility policies in Israel. I discussed the evolution of these policies, from Ben-Gurion's cash “Birth Prizes” awarded to mothers on the birth of their 10th child in the early days of the state to today’s heavily subsidized fertility procedures for women who wish to conceive, and about accusations that these policies have favoured Jewish citizens over others.
To listen, click here "Birth Right"
On Sunday 1 July 2012, I appeared via telephone on the BBC1 programme, Sunday Morning Live, in order to contribute to a debate about circumcision, parents' religious rights and children's rights:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01kkvz3 (Sunday Morning Live, Series 3, Episode 4)