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Zellig Harris: From American Linguistics to Socialist Zionism

Posted by on Monday, April 4, 2011 in Research.

Zellig Harris: From American Linguistics to Socialist Zionism
By Robert F. Barsky
The MIT Press, 2011

In this meticulously-researched biography, Robert Barsky casts a great deal more light upon Harris’s story.  Exploring his involvement in the Avukah student group in the 1930s and 40s, Barsky shows how Harris not only strove to advance the cause of socialist Zionism, but also shaped the destinies of several influential thinkers.  He also traces the course of the revolutionary programme of linguistic enquiry that Harris laid out, inspired by the example of theoretical physics, and how this ongoing work came to be regarded as eccentric by practitioners of the dominant contemporary research trends.