Omri Grinberg

Omri Grinberg

Omri Grinberg
Political-legal Anthropology

Socio-Cultural and Linguistic Anthropology
Human Rights
Witnessing and Testimony
Art and Media



Current Projects

I am currently working on additional publications based on my doctoral dissertation, and on an extensive postdoctoral research project.

The current research project is a historical-anthropology study about the political lives of witness testimony-based art (WTBA). Using interdisciplinary methodology, I examine adaptations, references, and other intertextual uses by Israeli artists (whether Jewish, Palestinian citizens of Israel, or others) of Palestinians’ witness-testimony collected by Israeli human rights (HR) non-governmental organizations (NGOs). I rely on Israel/Palestine as a case-study since it is a paradigmatic geopolitical context in the histories of HR about which there is a constant stream of cultural texts. The recognition of WTBA wavers between going unnoticed and such echelons as an Academy Award nomination. The cultural significance of HR NGO materials is thus best understood in relation to promises and crises of liberal politics and their iterations in culture, academia, and media: when witness testimony becomes art, it speaks to how cultural industries and NGOs view the dominant binary of politics and law/culture and, with it, of fact/fiction.

As noted, I am also currently working on publications (two articles and a book) based on my dissertation, titled Writing Rights, Writing Violence: The Bureaucracy of Palestinian Testimonies in Israeli NGOs. Based on nearly two-years of ethnographic research, I theorize testimonies as material and social-interactional bureaucratic processes, that shape what human rights do based on colonial modes of writing and representing the other. And yet, these genres of documentation and archiving also function as anti-colonial historiography, mainly by relating a violent past to a distant future of potential justice, where NGO archives adjudicate the histories of Israel/Palestine. Israeli NGOs and Palestinian witnesses navigate these contradictions through critiques of human rights’ colonial-complicity, though these reflexive voices are rendered mainly implicit in NGOs’ archives.

Curriculum Vitae 

Fellowships and Grants (selection)


  • 2022-2026 – Martin Buber Society of Fellows Postdoctoral Fellowship, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

  • 2020-2022 – Minerva Center for the Rule of Law Under Extreme Conditions, University of Haifa

  • 2019-2021 - The Harry S. Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

  • 2019-2020 - Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Tel Aviv University (The Jonathan Shapiro Fund)

  • 2019-2020 - Department of Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies The Hebrew University of Jerusalem [declined]. Supervisors: Professors Hillel Cohen & Shlomith Rimmon-Kenan


  • 2019 - PhD in Anthropology and Jewish Studies, University of Toronto

  • 2010 – M.A. in Cultural Studies (summa cum laude), The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

  • 2007 – B.A. in Education, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem


Peer-reviewed articles (selection)

Special journal issue edited

Edited book

  • Grinberg, Omri, Hannan Hever, and Yiftach Ashkenazy (editors). A Sort of Solution to Silence: Modern Arab Literature in Hebrew. [In Hebrew.] Tel Aviv: Olam Hadash [New World] Publishing (2018). With contributions by, among others, Shlomith Rimmon-Kenan, Ruth Tsoffar, and Shai Ginsburg.

Chapters in books [peer reviewed] 

  • Akesson, Bree, and Omri Grinberg. “A Present Absence: Representations of Palestinian Children in the Home.” In Sociological Studies of Children and Youth, vol. 27, Bringing Children Back into the Family: Relationality, Connectedness and Home. Bingley, UK: Emerald Group Publishing (2020): 163-179 (Chapter 10).

  • Grinberg, Omri, and Yiftach Ashkenazy. “Who Let the Mad Dogs Out? Trauma and Colonialism in the Hebrew Canon.” In Postcolonial Animality, edited by Suvadip Sinha & Amit Raul Baishya. London, UK: Routledge (2019): 89-108.

  • Grinberg, Omri. “Israeli Narratives of the Palestinian ‘Children of the Junction.’” In Children and Borders, edited by Spyros Spyrou and Miranda Christou. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan (2014): 149–163

Articles [non-refereed]



  • 2018-2019 – Researcher in Prof. Sarai’s Aharoni’s (BGU) ISF-funded project: Feminist Archives as a Source of Data about Women and Violence: Records of Sexual Violence and Peace Activism in Israel

  • 2014-2017 – Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship, Government of Canada

  • 2014 – Study Elsewhere of Less Commonly Taught Languages, Faculty of Arts and Sciences, University of Toronto

  • 2012-2016 – Ontario Trillium Scholarship (declined from 2014)

  • 2009 – Media and Culture Institute at the Heinrich Heine University, Düsseldorf, Germany 

  • 2008 – School of Criticism and Theory at Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, USA


  • 2020 – With Dr. Yael Berda: Funding for research on changes due to COVID-19 in Israel’s permit system for Palestinian laborers, Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace, Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

  • 2020 - Fellowship for Research in Duke University’s Human Rights Archive, Duke Libraries and Duke Center for Jewish Studies - Duke University, Durham, NC.

  • 2017 – International Travel Grant: Committee on World Anthropologies, American Anthropological Association

  • 2013 – Pilot Research Funding, Department of Anthropology, University of Toronto


  • 2022 – Honorable mention (second place): Best Paper Award, Israeli Sociological Society’s Annual Competition (for Testimony as Event – see: publications)

  • 2020 - Honorable mention (second place): Best Paper Award, Israeli Sociological Society’s Annual Competition (for Facsimileing the State – see: publications)

  • 2017-2018 – Doctoral Completion Award, Department of Anthropology, University of Toronto

  • 2015 – Lorna Marshall Doctoral Fellowship in Social & Cultural Anthropology

  • 2009 – Yad Ora Award for Innovative Ethnographic Research on Geopolitics in the Middle East


Papers presented in refereed conferences/events

  • With Sarai Aharoni. “Connecting Archival Dots: Learning about Israel’s Gender Violence Against Palestinian Women Through an Archive that Wasn’t Meant to Be.” Archival Kismet: Silence or Screams? Archives of Race, Gender, & Sexuality. December 11, 2021 (online).

  • “Vernacularizing Bureaucracy and Quantifying Violence: The Writing of Palestinians’ Testimonies in Israeli Human Rights NGOs.” Webinar Series in Honour of Sally Engle Merry, co-organized by Allegra Lab and the European Association of Social Anthropologists’ LawNet section. March 26, 2021 (online).

  • “Enunciating the Pain of Colonized Others: Trauma and the Semiotic Ideologies of Human Rights NGOs in Israel/Palestine.” Panel: Writing Ethnography, Writing Trauma: Anthropological Reflections on the Narration and Theorization of Trauma. American Anthropological Association’s Annual Conference. Washington DC, December 2017.

  • “Success and Failure in the Informal Archive: The Case of Israeli Human Rights NGOs.” [In Hebrew.] Conference: Who Owns the Past? Archive and Society in Israel. Van Leer Jerusalem Institute, Israel, May 2016.

Invited talks and presentations

  • Commentator (discussant) for “Citizen Participation in Voter Surveillance: Does Crowdsourcing Democratize Political Participation?” – paper by Prof. Anat Ben David (The Open University of Israel), in the conference Crowdsourcing and the Decline of the Individual. College of Law & Business in Ramat Gan, Israel, January 12, 2022.

  • “Document Odyssey: Doing Human Rights Between the Bureaucratic and the Poetic.” Department of Sociology & Anthropology, Tel Aviv University – departmental seminar (academic year opening event), October 2019.

  • “The Public Intellectual in Contemporary Israel.” [With Omri Herzog.] The Second Workshop on Hebrew Cultures and Theory: Culture and Myth, Duke University, Durham, NC, USA, February 2014.

  • “Abu Shukri’s Ark—The Melancholic Covenant of Exile in Atash.” The Moving Image—Reconfiguring Spaces of Loss and Mourning in the 21st Century, Center for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences, and Humanities, Cambridge University, UK, February 2010.