Louise Bethlehem

Associate Professor

Hebrew University of Jerusalem


Louise Bethlehem is a literary scholar and cultural theorist. She holds the position of Associate Professor in the Department of English and in the Program in Cultural Studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Her research specializations include South African cultural studies, apartheid-era and post-apartheid literature and literary history, global modernism and postcolonial theory.

In December 2013, Bethlehem was awarded a prestigious European Research Council Consolidators Grant for the project: "Apartheid—The Global Itinerary: South African Cultural Formations in Transnational Circulation 1948-1990." In recognition of the importance of her research, she was appointed to Academia-Net: an Expert Database of Outstanding Female Scholars and Scientists, with the participation of 47 European science and research organizations.



Louise Bethlehem is the author of Skin Tight: Apartheid Literary Culture and its Aftermath (Unisa Press, Brill 2006), published in Hebrew translation by the Tel Aviv publishing house, Resling, in 2011. She has co-edited six volumes in the fields of South African literature, postcolonial theory, African studies and cultural studies, including the award-winning volume South Africa in the Global Imaginary co-edited with Leon de Kock and Sonja Narunsky-Laden (Unisa 2004). Originally a themed issue of the journal, Poetics Today, it won the coveted Council of Editors of Learned Journals (CELJ) award for the best special issue of the year 2001. 

Bethlehem’s 2013 article "Lauren Beukes's Post-Apartheid Dystopia: Inhabiting Moxyland" was selected among the 20 best articles published in the Journal of Postcolonial Writing during a five-year period. She sits on the international advisory boards of ten peer-reviewed scholarly journals.


Louise Bethlehem is deeply committed to creating interdisciplinary communities of knowledge. She currently supervises graduate students in the fields of cultural studies, memory studies, postcolonial theory, global modernism, apartheid-era and post-apartheid literature and culture.


Selected Recent


Louise Bethlehem (2019) 

Stenographic fictions: Mary Benson’s At the Still Point and the South African political trial, Safundi, 20:2, 193-212.


Louise Bethlehem, Lindelwa Dalamba & Uhuru Phalafala (2019) Cultural solidarities: itineraries of anti-apartheid expressive culture—introduction to the special issue, Safundi, 20:2, 143-152.


Louise Bethlehem (2018). "Restless Itineraries: Antiapartheid Expressive Culture and Transnational Historiography," Social Text 36 (3)


Louise Bethlehem, Stefan Helgesson & Gül Bilge Han (2018). "Cultural Solidarities: Apartheid and the Anticolonial Commons of World Literature", Safundi 19(3), 260-268.

Louise Bethlehem, Lindelwa Dalamba, Gül Bilge Han, Stefan Helgesson & Uhuru Phalafala (2018). "Cultural Solidarities: Preamble", Safundi 19(3), 257-259.


Louise Bethlehem (2018). "Continuity and Change in Postapartheid Literature," Oxford Research Encyclopedia Literature. 


"Apartheid—The Global Itinerary: South African Cultural Formations in Transnational Circulation, 1948-1990" traces the global diffusion of apartheid-era expressive culture, whether textual, musical or visual, in a Cold War setting.  Cultural mediation is integral to these outward itineraries. Through the lens of cultures of resistance to apartheid, Professor Louise Bethlehem and her research team sought to explain how South African political dissidents, writers, musicians, artists and photographers frame questions of social justice and racial equality for—and within—other global constituencies. The project was funded by the European Research Council, 2014-2019.