Translating the Americas

Early Modern Jewish Writing on the New World

Translating the Americas is a two-day workshop organized by Flora Cassen (WashU) and Ronnie Perelis (Yeshiva University) and sponsored by the American Academy for Jewish Research. The workshop is dedicated to the theory and practice of translation with a specific focus on Jewish writing from the early modern period. It brings together scholars from North and South America, Europe, and the Middle East. We will examine and discuss letters and texts that functioned as bridges—“translations”—between languages, religions, Empires, the Old World, and the New World.


Monday 1/25 @ 12:00-2:00 PM Eastern Time, Translation Between Early Modern Worlds and Cultures

  • Martin Jacobs (WashU): "Spain’s New World Expansion through a Post-Expulsion Sephardi Lens: Joseph ha-Kohen’s Translation of Gómara"
  • Jesús de Prado Plumed (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México): "Translatio and the converso : Alfonso de Zamora’s Epistle to the Jews of Rome (1526) and the material politics of polemics"
  • Kirsten MacFarlane (University of Oxford): "From Constantinople to Amsterdam: Polemics, Interfaith Debate, and Jewish-Christian Relations in the case of the English Hebraist Hugh Broughton and Ottoman poet Abraham ben Reuben"
  • Ignacio Chuecas (Finis Terrae University, Santiago de Chile): "Old Jewish Prayers for a New World: Translations of the Spanish-Portuguese prayer book (siddur) in the Early Modern Americas (16th -17th centuries)"

Tuesday 1/26, @ 12:00-2:00 PM Eastern Time, Translation in Practice and Theory, Then and Now

  • Iris Idelson-Shein (Ben Gurion University): "From Metaphors to Mechanisms: Facts and Figures of Jewish Translation in Early Modern Europe"
  • Stephanie Kirk (WashU): "Carlos de Sigüenza y Góngora’s Paraíso occidental and the Act of Translation"
  • Ryan Szpiech (University of Michigan): "Shapes of Turning: Conversion and Translation in Medieval Iberia"
  • Sarah Pearce (NYU): "Medieval Jewish Writing in the New World: The American Afterlives of Judah Halevi"

For questions, contact Flora Cassen or Ronnie Perelis