Tamar Hofnung. Photo by Nati Shohat Flash 90. 

Tamar Hofnung is showing us a new way to look at old social problems

Tamar Hofnung, a 32-year-old Jerusalemite, was completing a two-year fellowship at Kyoto University researching Japan’s organized crime syndicate, the Yakuza, when she witnessed a public display of domestic violence that caused her to reevaluate her course of study. Today, as a doctoral candidate in the Advanced Research-Studies Program (“Telem”) of the Department of Political Science at the Hebrew University, she researches the state response to the phenomena of domestic violence.

 Specifically, she examines how social issues, mainly human rights issues such as domestic violence and affirmative action, come to be understood as problems deserving of state response. “With regards to domestic violence, the state response in the United States, for example, focuses on treating the abuser through the criminal justice system, rather than helping the women who have been abused–hence the state is only treating a fraction of the problem while overlooking many other factors influencing the problem,” she notes, describing the focus of her research.

 Hofnung is a HU Student Ambassador offering those both familiar and unfamiliar with Israel a new perspective on the country and its people. She is also a member of the first cohort of the Human Rights Under Pressure joint interdisciplinary doctoral program with Free University of Berlin.