About the department


Founded in the 1930s, the Department of Sociology and Anthropology in the Hebrew University of Jerusalem is the first department for the study and research of sociology in Israel. Originally, the department was based under the faculty for the humanities under the name of cultural studies. At the time the department included Arthur Ruppin, Ariyeh Tartakower, Martin Buber and methodologist Roberto Baki.

Martin Buber, the elder of the researchers, had the biggest impact on the development of sociological research in Jerusalem, let alone Israel as a whole. It was to this intellectual context that Shmuel N. Eisenstadt joined in 1940.

Within a year of the establishment of the Israeli State, a new generation of researchers began taking over. In 1949 the Hebrew University’s administration appointed Eisenstadt, then a 26-year-old counselor, as Buber’s replacement as department head with the goal in mind to evolve the department into a modern facility for the study of sociology, one that is inexplicably linked to a global dialogue, while simultaneously attempting to establish a separate facility for the social sciences within the University.

The inevitable struggles of the country’s establishment in 1948 provided Eisenstadt with a window of opportunity through which he was able to consolidate a new group of scientists. Until the early 1950s his leadership unified a group of sociologists – nicknamed “the founding generation”, which constituted, besides Eisenstadt, Yonina Gerber-Talmon, Jacob Katz, Yosef Ben-David and their first students.

The rest of the summary can be found in the articles of Yair and Apeloig, published in Israeli Sociology, 2005.