This semester, Dr. Yaron Shemer is on research leave. Dr. Shemer is an associate professor of Israel Cultural Studies and Jewish Studies in the department of Asian and Middle Eastern studies at UNC, with a research focus on Israeli ethnic cinema. This semester, he received a senior faculty research and scholarly leave award in order to work on his latest project: writing a new book on national cartoon figures. The book, entitled “Witnessing, Steadfastness, and Agency: The National Cartoon Figures of the Israeli Srulik and the Palestinian Handhala” explores the iconic cartoon characters to shed light on the broader dilemmas, conflicts, and anxieties involving in the formation of the respective national identities. In the spring, Dr. Shemer will be teaching the classes ASIA/JWST 60: Israeli Culture and Society: Collective Memories and Fragmented Identities, and ASIA/JWST/PWAD 235: Israeli Cinema: Gender, Nation, and Ethnicity.