Ryan Szpiech

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Ryan Szpiech

Cultures and literatures of medieval Iberia, especially interaction, exchange, and conflict; the concept of translation as a tool for defining the relations between Jews, Muslims, and Christians.

Office Location(s): 4140 MLB 1275
Phone: 734.647.2334
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  • About

    I study the cultures and literatures of medieval Iberia, focusing especially on cultural interaction, exchange, and conflict. My interests converge around the concept of translation (of languages, alphabets, styles, beliefs, identities, and ideas) as a tool for defining the relations between Jews, Muslims, and Christians. 

    I am particularly interested in conversion as a vehicle for exchange (real and imagined) between disparate groups, as well as in modern scholarly debates about how to frame the history and criticism of Medieval Iberia and its cultures (One, two, or three cultures? Conquest or reconquest? Spanish or Iberian? Tolerance or persecution?). I have focused much of my research on the fourteenth-century convert Abner of Burgos (known as Alfonso of Valladolid after conversion). I am currently writing a book on narratives of religious conversion and their function within polemical writing in the 12th to the 15th centuries, and I am also working on a number of smaller projects on the Dagger of Faith of the Dominican polemicist Raymond Martini and the use of Islam as a hermeneutic device by Christians in fourteenth-century anti-Jewish polemic. 

    I am also currently part of a five-member team, organized and led by Dr. Esperanza Alfonso at the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cient√≠ficas, studying the role of the Bible in late-medieval Sephardic culture. Our project, entitled, "The Intellectual and Material Legacies of Late-Medieval Sephardic Judaism: An Interdisciplinary Approach," is supported by a four-year Starting Grant from the European Research Council, awarded to Dr. Alfonso. For more information on the project, see http://www.lineas.cchs.csic.es/inteleg/content/presentaci√≥n.

  • Education
    • Ph.D. Yale University, 2006
  • Selected Publications:
  • Books