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January 13, 2016

Wacks wins National Jewish Book Award

Professor of Spanish David Wacks has been selected to receive the National Jewish Book Award in the category of Sephardic Culture for his 2015 book publication, Double Diaspora in Sephardic Literature: Jewish Cultural Production Before and After 1492 (Indiana University Press).

From the publisher’s website:

The year 1492 has long divided the study of Sephardic culture into two distinct periods, before and after the expulsion of Jews from Spain. David A. Wacks examines the works of Sephardic writers from the 13th to the 16th centuries and shows that this literature was shaped by two interwoven experiences of diaspora: first from the Biblical homeland Zion and later from the ancestral hostland, Sefarad. Jewish in Spain and Spanish abroad, these writers negotiated Jewish, Spanish, and diasporic idioms to produce a uniquely Sephardic perspective. Wacks brings Diaspora Studies into dialogue with medieval and early modern Sephardic literature for the first time.

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January 11, 2016

Herrmann Awarded NEH Fellowship for book project on Spanish Civil War

Associate Professor of Spanish Gina Herrmann has been awarded a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship for her book project, Voices of the Vanquished: Spanish Women on the Left between Franco and Hitler.

Voices of the Vanquished is a book about Spanish and Catalan women’s oral histories that recount and grapple with their participation in anti-fascist movements in Spain during the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939), their fight against the dictatorship of Francisco Franco (1939-1975), their involvement in the French Resistance during World War II (1940-45), and for some, their survival of Nazism.

 

Tití (L) y Neus Catalá (R) After their Liberation from the Nazi Camp at Ravensbruck

Tití (L) y Neus Catalá (R) After their Liberation from the Nazi Camp at Ravensbruck

 

Herrmann will take her fellowship in the 2017-18 academic year.

January 6, 2016

Wacks writes on Spanish romance of conversion

Professor of Spanish David Wacks has published “Romance, Conversion, and Internal Orientalism in Crónica de Flores y Blancaflor (ca. 1290)” in Narrative Culture 2.2 (270-288). A Self-archived postprint is available at http://hdl.handle.net/1794/19479

Crónica de Flores y Blancaflor is a medieval romance interpolated into a thirteenth-century account of the struggles of the kings of Asturias (eighth–ninth centuries) with the Umayyad Caliphate in Cordova. In this essay Wacks demonstrates how the chronicler mapped political concerns onto courtly adventure narrative in order to promote ideologies of conquest and conversion. Flores’s conversion to Christianity in the context of his lifelong love relationship with Blancaflor is a metaphor for the Christian dream of the conquest of al-Andalus and the conversion of Iberian Muslims and Jews.

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June 1, 2015

Wacks publishes book on Sephardic literature

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from publisher website: 

Double Diaspora in Sephardic Literature: Jewish Cultural Production Before and After 1492. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2015.

The year 1492 has long divided the study of Sephardic culture into two distinct periods, before and after the expulsion of Jews from Spain. David A. Wacks examines the works of Sephardic writers from the 13th to the 16th centuries and shows that this literature was shaped by two interwoven experiences of diaspora: first from the Biblical homeland Zion and later from the ancestral hostland, Sefarad. Jewish in Spain and Spanish abroad, these writers negotiated Jewish, Spanish, and diasporic idioms to produce a uniquely Sephardic perspective. Wacks brings Diaspora Studies into dialogue with medieval and early modern Sephardic literature for the first time.

David Wacks’s study is groundbreaking for its pioneering scope and poignant analysis. Through the critical lens of a ‘double diaspora’ Wacks sheds new light on the themes of expulsion and redemption in works by some of the most important medieval Spanish Jewish authors in the post-Zion Iberian exile such as Moses Maimonides and Judah Halevi. Wacks also leads the field of Sephardic Studies in a new direction by casting his critical eye on texts by lesser known Jewish writers, including the kabbalist Joseph Karo, living in a second exile from post-1492 Spain. —Gregory B. Kaplan, University of Tennessee

David Wacks’s elegant monograph bridges the divide between Hebraists and Hispanists, medievalists and early modernists, with conceptual sophistication and substantive insights. It makes, indeed, a compelling case for the analytic viability of “double diaspora” in the literary history of Sephardic Jews and the inscription of Hispano-Jewish literature in the Weltliteratur canon. An important contribution and a superb read. —Luis M. Girón Negrón, Harvard University

April 23, 2015

Enjuto Rangel publishes on women poets across Atlantic

Julia de Burgos (1914-1953) Source: Wikipedia

Julia de Burgos (1914-1953) Source: Wikipedia

Associate Professor of Spanish Cecilia Enjuto Rangel has published an article entitled “Weaving National and Gender Politics: A Transatlantic Reading of Rosalía de Castro and Julia de Burgos’s
Poetic Projects” in CENTRO: Journal of the Center of Puerto Rican Studies (26.2): 2014, a special issue on Julia de Burgos, edited by
Lena Burgos.

Enjuto Rangel summarizes the essay in her abstract:

Rosalía de Castro and Julia de Burgos are not usually read together. However, both Castro (1837-1885), a Galician poet from the nineteenth century, and Burgos (1914-1953), a Puerto Rican poet from the twentieth, became icons in their national literary pantheons. In this essay, I intend to read two of their books, Castro’s En las orillas del Sar (1884) and Burgos’s Poema en veinte surcos (1938), to discuss how these poets defy both hegemonic culture and gender roles in their own terms and within their respective historical and national contexts. Their poetic projects, rather than upholding a normative and homogenous vision of the patria, practice diverse forms of discursive resistance. Due to their status as mythical cultural icons, they have often been misunderstood until the last couple of decades, and I argue that a Transatlantic reading of their poetic projects stresses how their representations of gender can serve to both weave and undo the fabric of Galician and Puerto Rican nationalist discourses.

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April 19, 2015

García-Pabón publishes edition and study of 19th-century Bolivian poet

La Creación Tapa-1Professor of Spanish Leonardo García-Pabón recently published an edition of La creación, y otros poemas by Bolivian poet Manuel José Tovar (1831-1869). “La creación” is one of the most important works of Bolivian 19th-century romantic poetry. A rewriting of the biblical Genesis, this long poem is an exalted description of nature at the beginning of time. It also shows the discussion between defenders of ideas of creationism and defenders of materialism in national education during the first decades after Bolivian independence (1825) .
This edition contains a sixty-page introduction by García-Pabón that places the book in its literary and historical context.

 

March 31, 2015

Wacks on Hebrew translation of Amadís de Gaula

medAssociate Professor of Spanish David Wacks has published an essay titled “Reading Amadís in Constantinople: Imperial Spanish Fiction in the Key of Diaspora,” pp. 183-207 in In and Of the Mediterranean: Medieval and Early Modern Iberian Studies, eds. Núria Silleras-Fernández and Michelle Hamilton (Memphis: Vanderbilt University Press, 2015).

In the essay, Wacks studies a little-known sixteenth-century Hebrew translation of the best-selling Spanish Chivalric novel, Amadís de Gaula, which was famously parodied by Cervantes in Don Quijote. Jacob Algaba’s translation, published in Constantinople around 1550, was an example of how Sephardic Jews performed their Spanish-ness in the context of Ottoman Jewish society. Algaba’s de-Christianization of Montalvo’s text rendered it palatable for Eastern Jewish readers who were unfamiliar with Spanish chivalric culture, while at the same time demonstrating Sephardic Jews’ mastery of European culture then very much in vogue in Ottoman Constantinople.

March 18, 2015

Wacks publishes article on fourteenth-century Book of the Knight Zifar

Associate Professor of Spanish David Wacks has published an article titled “Translation of Texts and of Relics As Symbolic Capital In Caballero Zifar” in La corónica 43.1 (2014): 115-140. The article deals with the early fourteenth-century romance known as the Book of the Knight Zifar, in which Zifar and his son Roboán embark on a series of adventures from India to the Middle East. Wacks argues that the author gives the book an Arabic setting in order to showcase the Arabic learning tradition of the Church élite of Toledo, Spain, in the face of domination by Italian and French cultural influences in the thirteenth century.

A miniature from the Paris manuscript of the Book of the Knight Zifar (source: Wikipedia)

A miniature from the Paris manuscript of the Book of the Knight Zifar (source: Wikipedia)

February 25, 2015

Chemris publishes assessment of Góngora studies

Chemris09 (1)Crystal Chemris, Courtesy Assistant Professor of Spanish, has just published an essay, “Highlights and Issues of the New Wave of Góngora Studies,” in the Revista Canadiense de Estudios Hispánicos. The article describes the boom in critical writings on the Spanish Baroque poet, Luis de Góngora, which coincides with a number of quadricentennials associated with the author and his work. This surge in scholarly activity has generated new perspectives on Góngora’s relationship to the political debates of his day, in an exciting climate of discovery and preservation, from the unearthing of Gongora’s musical compositions to the digitization of his manuscripts. Chemris, who was invited to present her research at a conference in the poet’s native city of Córdoba, reports that this boom has provoked an unprecedented international dialogue between traditional philology and theory-based literary studies, which bodes well for future endeavors in the field.

The full text of the article is available in RCEH 38.3 (Primavera 2014): 419-41.

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November 17, 2014

García-Caro publishes book on postnational satire in Fuentes and Pynchon

Associate Professor of Spanish Pedro García-Caro has published a book titled After the Nation: Postnational Satire in the Works of Carlos Fuentes and Thomas Pynchon (Northwestern University Press).

From the Northwestern University Press website:

After the Nation proposes a series of groundbreaking new approaches to novels, essays, and short stories by Carlos Fuentes and Thomas Pynchon within the framework of a hemispheric American studies. García-Caro offers a pioneering comparativist approach to the contemporary American and Mexican literary canons and their underlying nationalist encodement through the study of a wide range of texts by Pynchon and Fuentes which question and historicize in different ways the processes of national definition and myth-making deployed in the drawing of literary borders. After the Nation looks at these literary narratives as postnational satires that aim to unravel and denounce the combined hegemonic processes of modernity and nationalism while they start to contemplate the ensuing postnational constellations. These are texts that playfully challenge the temporal and spatial designs of national themes while they point to and debase “holy” borders, international borders as well as the internal lines where narratives of nation are embodied and consecrated.

You can download a pdf of the preface by clicking here.

Congratulations, Professor García-Caro!

caro book

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