Ori Mautner is a social anthropologist with a focus on ethics, religion, and politics—and especially on diverse, including broadly non-liberal, approaches to living with difference in Israel-Palestine. Ori Holds an MA from Tel Aviv University and a PhD from the University of Cambridge. He was also a student in the Lautman Interdisciplinary Programme for Outstanding Students, Tel Aviv University.
Ori’s PhD analysed the ways orthodox Jews on the one hand, and secular Jewish left-wing activists for solidarity with Palestinians on the other, employ meditative practices drawn from Buddhism for pursuing their respective religious and political goals. In Israel, the demand for Buddhist-derived meditation techniques appears to be among the highest in the world, and they are currently being practised by a striking variety of Israelis. His thesis examined this remarkably recurrent yet underexplored facet of contemporary Israeli culture, contributing primarily to the burgeoning anthropology of ethics. Essays based on the thesis won the 2021 Curl Essay Prize of the Royal Anthropological Institute and the 2020 student essay prize of the American Anthropological Association’s Society for the Anthropology of Religion.
At Christ’s, Ori will analyse everyday neighbourly relations between working-class Mizrahim (Jews of Middle-Eastern and North-African descent) and Palestinian citizens of Israel—in the face of precarity, structural inequality, tension, and recently, overt violence. Focusing on lessons that can be drawn from these relations for thinking about tolerance, its limits, and its absence, he will conduct in-depth ethnographic fieldwork in an urban area in central Israel.