Dr. Yael Berda is an Israeli Lawyer and holds a PhD from the Department of Sociology at Princeton University. Born in New York City and raised in West Jerusalem, Yael has been highly engaged in social justice activism and politics in Israel.
In 2014-2015, and 2016-17 she has been an Academy Scholar at the Harvard Academy for International and Area Studies, the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs in Cambridge, MA and holds a position as Assistant Professor of Sociology and Anthropology at Hebrew University.
During the 2018 Winter Session term Dr. Yael will be teaching an intensive graduate seminar on "Doing" Transnational Historical Sociology (Sociology 219) from January 10-18, 2018 which is being funded by the Gerard Weinstock Visiting Professorship through Harvard's Center for Jewish Studies. See course description.
Her first book, The Bureaucracy of Occupation in the West Bank, was published in July 2012, by the Van Leer Institute in Jerusalem and Hakibutz Hameuhad Publishing (Hebrew). Her latest book is Living Emergency: Israel's Permit Regime in the Occupied West Bank (Stanford University Press, 2017).
Yael graduated from the faculty of Law at Hebrew university, and received her MA (Magna cum laude) from the department of Sociology and Anthropology at Tel Aviv University. Her masters thesis looked at the bureaucracy of the occupation in the Palestinian territory. The first institutional ethnography of the permit regime in the West bank, it explores the influence of Colonial administrative legacies on the contemporary military civil administration in the occupied territories.
Yael's current book project examines the persistence of bureaucratic legacies following independence in former colonies, focusing on population management practices and the construction of political membership in states afflicted by partition plans: Israel, Cyprus and India. Her work has been recognized and supported by grants from SSRC, The National Science Foundation, The ACLS, The Ford Foundation and others. She is currently working on the manuscript of Administrative Memory and Colonial Legacies in India, Israel & Cyprus.
Before Princeton, Yael was a practicing Human rights lawyer in Israel, first in the law offices of Avidgor Feldman, and than pursued her own practice in Jerusalem focusing on Administrative and constitutional Law, specifically cases of freedom of speech, freedom of association, and freedom of movement. She has argued cases in the Israeli Supreme court, administrative courts and the military criminal courts.