Islamic Tiles by Effervescing Elephant
Man praying at the Western wall in a traditional Tallit or Prayer Shawl by Beggs

About the Department

The Department of Jewish, Islamic, and Near Eastern Languages and Cultures (JINELC) is devoted to the study of Jewish, Islamic, and Near Eastern languages and literatures; the history and cultures of the Near East; and the Jewish and Islamic civilizations, both individually and comparatively. Its integrated curriculum offers a focal point for crosscultural academic exchange that highlights the shared experiences and mutual influences of the two civilizations while paying close attention to the historical context of social change and cultural production. The members of the faculty conduct their research and teaching through a wide array of methodologies and disciplinary approaches and offer courses in language, literature, history, religion, politics, and culture.

Upcoming Events

November 27, 2018 - 3:30pm

The New World through Jewish Eyes: Recovering a Sixteenth-Century Perspective

Flora Cassen
Busch Hall, Room 18

In 1557, Joseph Ha-Kohen, an Italian Jew and the son of Jews expelled from Spain in 1492, wrote a 600-page book in Hebrew on the Americas. He was the second Jew to mention the New World in writing and the first to pen a whole book about it. The book included mention of Columbus and Cortés; discussions of Spanish and global politics; descriptions of the New World’s geography and inhabitants; and a critique of Spanish colonialism from a Jewish perspective. Based on rare surviving autograph manuscripts of Ha-Kohen’s book, this talk will discuss the functions of manuscript in the age of print and add a Jewish perspective to our knowledge of how early modern Europeans assessed the discovery and conquest of the New World.