Amalia Ziv

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Amalia Ziv
עמליה זיו
Head shot of Amalia Ziv. Very short graying hair. Looking to the side of the camera.
ResidenceTel Aviv
OccupationAcademic, researcher, LGBT activist

Amalia Ziv (in Hebrew: עמליה זיו; born December 14, 1964) is an Israeli academic and researcher. Her research areas are pornography and sexual representations, queer culture, queer activism, and queer kinship. Because of her activism and research, Ziv is considered a prominent member of the LGBTQ and feminist communities in Israel.

Academic career and activism[edit]

Ziv is one of the most noted figures in feminist and queer history in Israel.[1] She was one of the founders of Hazman Havarod (Pink Times), the pioneering LGBT newspaper. In the 1990s, Ziv wrote about LGBT and feminist topics in mainstream newspapers and journals.[2] She also wrote and published her poetry. Some of her poems were set to music and recorded.[3]

In 1992, Ziv completed her MA in comparative literature at Brown University. When she returned to Israel in 1993, she established a gay-and-lesbian and queer theory study group at the Agudah (Israel's first LGBT center) in Tel Aviv. In 1996, together with Aeyal Gross and Miki Gluzman, she started the Queer Reading Group at Tel Aviv University.[2] In 2001, while doing her PhD at Tel Aviv University, together with Gross and Daphna Hirsch, she founded the Sex Acher ("An Other Sex") LGBT Studies & Queer Theory annual conference,[4] which held its 18th edition in 2018.[5] In 2003, she edited the first book of queer essays in Hebrew, with Yair Kedar and Oren Kanar, Beyond Sexuality (Me'ever LeMiniyut מעבר למיניות).

In 2005, she completed her PhD. Her dissertation was titled "The Construction of the Female Subject in Pornographic Fiction". She then went on to do post-doctoral research at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, on queer activism in Israel. Included in this research was the topic of lesbian parenting. Ziv lectures in the department of literature at Tel Aviv University, and has been a faculty member of the Gender Studies Program at Ben Gurion University since 2008. As of 2016, she is the head of the program. In addition, Ziv is a member of the editorial committee and editorial board of the academic journal "Theory and Criticism" (תיאוריה וביקורת), published by the Van Lir Institute.[6]

In 2015, on the 40th anniversary of the Agudah, Ziv was included on the list of the 40 most influential people in LGBT history in Israel.[4]


Ziv's positions regarding queer theory have generated opposition to her by supporters of the theory in academe. One such position is Ziv's distinction between queer theory and adoption of a queer (as opposed to gay) identity. She objects to the idea that "queer theory tells each of us personally is that everyone can be gender- and sexually fluid, and not only can be, but must be. Queer theory truly does not ask everyone to be queer, it just offers a way of looking at and subverting the entire field of sexuality and gender. But to point out the options does not mean that these options are readily available and obligatory."[2]

Ziv's views on pornography are also divisive.[7] Although she has made clear that she is stringently opposed to the exploitation of women in prostitution and pornography, she supports the existence of these occupations from a feminist perspective, in which she examines women's sexual subjectivity, right to choose, and other elements affecting them.[8]

Personal life[edit]

Ziv resides in Tel Aviv with her life-partner, the poet Sharon Haas, and their son.[9]



  • Sexual Thoughts: Queer Theory, Pornography, and the Politics of Sexuality (Resling Press, 2013, in Hebrew)
  • Explicit Utopias: Rewriting the Sexual in Women’s Pornography (SUNY Press, 2015)
  • Beyond Sexuality: Selected Papers in Lesbian & Gay Studies and Queer Theory - co-editor (Hakibbutz Hameuchad Press, 2003, in Hebrew).

Chapters in books[edit]

  • “Toward a History of Bars in Israel.” Sappho in the Holy Land: Lesbian Existence and Dilemmas in Contemporary Israel. Eds. Chava Frankfort-Nachmias and Erella Shadmi. New York: SUNY Press. 2005
  • “Diva Interventions: Dana International and Israeli Gender Culture.” Queer Popular Culture. Ed. Thomas Peele. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007
  • "Refiguring Penetration in Women's Erotic Fiction". Kristen Phillips (ed.), Women and Erotic Fiction, 2015


  • "The Pervert's Progress: An Analysis of Story of O and the Beauty Trilogy." Feminist Review 46 (Spring 1994): 61-75.
  • "Questioning Safe Space in the Classroom: Reflections on Pedagogy, Vulnerability, and Sexual Explicitness". Borderlands, 2018
  • "Girl Meets Boy: Cross-gender Queer Sex and the Promise of Pornography". Sexualities, Oct 2014
  • "Performative Politics in Israeli Queer Anti-Occupation Activism". Glq-a Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies, 2010


  1. ^ תהל פרוש. "משהו כאן שבור לרסיסים". Ha'aretz. Retrieved March 16, 2019.
  2. ^ a b c יותם יוענה גונן (October 14, 2003). "הו, עמליה, הזמן הוורוד". נענע 10. Retrieved March 16, 2019.
  3. ^ "שירי עמליה זיו". שירונט. Retrieved March 16, 2019.
  4. ^ a b "היכל הקהילה 2015: 40 המשפיעים בתולדות הקהילה". mako Pride. Retrieved March 16, 2019.
  5. ^ "כנס סקס אחר ללימודי להט"ב ותיאוריה קווי". Ha'aretz. Retrieved March 16, 2019.
  6. ^ "Theory and Criticism" (PDF). Retrieved March 16, 2019.
  7. ^ "בין סחורות מיניות לסובייקטים מיניים: המחלוקת הפמיניסטית על פורנוגרפיה". תיאוריה וביקורת. 25. Fall 2004.
  8. ^ "מחשבות מיניות". הוצאת ריסלינג. Retrieved March 16, 2019.
  9. ^ "Fifty shades of gay: Amalia Ziv explains why her son calls her 'Dad'". Ha'aretz. February 21, 2013. Retrieved March 15, 2019.