Hi, I'm Gili Hammer, a cultural anthropologist working in the fields of disability studies, gender studies, anthropology of the body, sensory studies, and performance studies. I grew up in a Moshav (cooperative village) in the north of Israel, and spent most of my adult life in Jerusalem. Currently, I live with my family in Tel Aviv, and as an assistant professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology and the Program in Cultural Studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, I teach courses on sociology of disability, anthropology of the senses, and ethnographic research methods.
My doctoral research (PhD 2014, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem) focused on the social constructions of gender and femininity among blind women, and on the cultural construction of blindness and sight in the Israeli public sphere. This project was published in journal articles, book chapters, and in my recent book: Blindness through the Looking Glass: The Performance of Blindness, Gender, and the Sensory Body (2019, University of Michigan Press).
During my PhD studies, I had the great good fortune to study and conduct research also in the United States, first at UC Berkeley in 2010 - 2011 as a Fulbright visiting research student, and in 2014-2015 as a postdoctoral scholar in the program for disability studies, while also serving as a scholar-in-residence with Axis Dance Company. In the 2013-2014 school year, I was a postdoctoral scholar at the University of Michigan, at the Institute for Research on Women and Gender.
My study of blind women led to a deep interest in Disability Culture, and between 2014 and 2019, I conducted an ethnography in Israel and the US with integrated dance companies bringing together dancers with and without disabilities, examining the ways new knowledge of the body, ability, and disability is expanded, translated and transformed among practitioners of integrated dance, offering the analytical framework of kinesthetic diversity (see, for example, my 2020 JRAI article). My current project, initiated in August 2019, examines the sensory practices and cross-sensory translation techniques of deaf, blind, and deaf-blind performers in integrated theater.
An anthropologist at heart, I love traveling. In addition to my travels in the US, I visited India twice for extended periods, and have also been to Nepal and across Europe. I find humans and human culture the most interesting of all possible subjects of study, and ethnography the most intimate means of documenting the human experience, allowing me to listen, learn, and imagine new realities and ways of life.