Avi Lifschitz (University of Oxford)
Fellow in Research Area 1: "Competing Communities"
September - December 2020
Project "Enlightened Medialities", Research Area 1: "Competing Communities"
Avi Lifschitz is an intellectual historian working on diverse aspects of the European Enlightenment. He is Associate Professor of European History at the University of Oxford, where he is Fellow of Magdalen College and Academic Programme Director of the Voltaire Foundation.
Having edited the first modern English edition of a broad range of philosophical works by Frederick II of Prussia, Avi now works on two projects: a monograph on the Prussian monarch as philosopher and public author, and a study of the 'science of man and animal' in 18th-century Europe. An article on the second topic, 'The Book of Job and the Sex Life of Elephants', won the 2020 James L. Clifford Prize of the American Society for 18th-Century Studies. Avi's first monograph examined Enlightenment debates on language and mind; he has also edited or co-edited books on collaboration between Jewish and Christian intellectuals in Berlin, the reception of Jean-Jacques Rousseau's ideas, the impact of Lessing's Laocoon, and 18th-century Epicureanism.
Previous research fellowships included the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin, the Clark Library and the Center for 17th- and 18th-Century Studies at UCLA, the Lichtenberg-Kolleg at Göttingen, and the Enlightenment Research Centre (IZEA) at Halle. Avi has also recently been awarded a Leverhulme Research Fellowship and delivered the annual Quentin Skinner Lecture in Modern Intellectual History at the University of Cambridge.