Professor Avi Lifschitz

Subject: History

Department: History

College appointment: Tutorial Fellow

Academic position: Professor of Intellectual History and Enlightenment Studies


In 2017 I joined Magdalen after a decade of teaching European History at UCL (University College London). Earlier I earned an MA in European History summa cum laude from Tel Aviv University and completed a DPhil here at Oxford. Research fellowships included the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin, the Clark Library at UCLA, the Lichtenberg-Kolleg at the University of Göttingen, and the Enlightenment Research Centre (IZEA) at the University of Halle-Wittenberg.


To Magdalen undergraduates I offer papers on early modern European and British History, as well as further undergraduate modules in historiography and intellectual history. At the History Faculty I teach on the MSt strands in British and European History 1700-1850 and in Intellectual History, and offer research supervision. I am one of the convenors of the Enlightenment Workshop, Oxford’s interdisciplinary research seminar on eighteenth-century European culture.


The intellectual and cultural history of Europe in the long eighteenth century (c. 1680-1815) is my main area of research; I am particularly interested in the links between Enlightenment anthropology, theology, and political theory. Other significant aspects of my work include translation and cross-cultural transfer as well as the history of royal academies and exiled intellectuals in the eighteenth century. Having edited the first modern English edition of a wide range of writings by Frederick the Great (Princeton University Press, 2020), I am now working on a monograph exploring the Prussian monarch’s activities as philosopher and public author. Another project concerns the ‘science of man and animal’ in the European Enlightenment.

Selected Publications