Dr. Yochi Fischer is a senior research fellow and the director of the Advanced Studies unit at the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute. She teaches history at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and was a visiting scholar at the Ruhr-Universität Bochum (2008).
Her PhD dissertation addressed issues of social and cultural history in the early modern period. In the course of her academic career, she has been awarded numerous prizes and scholarships, including the Yaacov Talmon Prize for Outstanding Doctoral Students and the Higher Education Council’s Planning and Budgeting Committee Scholarship for Doctoral Students. Her research interests include religion and secularization in historical and comparative perspectives, history of concepts and Mediterranean formation of identities. Fischer's current research proposes novel, culturally-sensitive methods and models for comparative contemplation of the processes that religion and secularism are undergoing in a range of societies.
Fischer is the co-academic director on behalf of the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute, of a research project on "Religious and Political Identities: The Mediterranean Basin since 1492." This project, in collaboration with the Berkeley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs at Georgetown University, rethinks the relationship between religion, nation, and state throughout the Mediterranean basin from early modernity to the present. It consists of a series of workshops and explores the interaction of Eastern and Latin Christianity, Islam, and Judaism with one another and with states and societies across the region.
Fischer is also the co-academic director of the multi-year collaborative research project with the Europe Center at Stanford University's Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies (FSI) on Debating History, Democracy, Development and Education in Conflicted Societies. She also heads an international research group on "Religion and Secularism in Non-Western Societies: Comparative Aspects." She is the academic director of the national initiative for strengthening the Humanities in Israeli society. This initiative is aimed at transforming the state of the Humanities in Israel into a national academic, political and social concern.
Previously Fischer coordinated the History Studies cluster for the "New Horizons for Religious Educators" program, lectured in this program and headed a research project on Questions and Concepts of Secularization and Identities. Analyses and conclusions drawn by her research group will appear in a book which she will edit. Fischer is on the editorial board of the Journal of Levantine Studies, which was launched by the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute in 2010.