- » Dr Emily Colbert Cairns
Dr Emily Colbert Cairns
Assistant Professor, Faculty Fellow
Academic Department: Modern and Classical Languages
Office: Pell Center for International Relations and Public Policy
- B.A. in Spanish and mathematics, Hamilton College (2006)
- M.A. in Spanish, University of California Irvine (2008)
- Ph.D. in Spanish, University of California Irvine (2012)
My research focuses on conversos and crypto-Jews in the early modern period in the Spanish-speaking world. My dissertation, "The Other Sephardic Diaspora: Feminine Representations of Sephardic Identity in the Early Modern Atlantic World," deals with the role that women had in preserving and representing Sephardic traditions in a transatlantic context. I worked with three fictional texts written throughout the Mediterranean: "La espanola inglesa," "La Celestina" and "La Lozana Andaluza," as well as the Inquisition records of Isabel de Carvajal, a crypto-Jew from New Spain (today Mexico). I worked with the original manuscripts of this trial at the Bancroft Library in Berkeley, Calif. I also presented conference papers on these texts and have a forthcoming article on the role of Queen Esther in the manuscripts of Isabel de Carvajal and in Lope de Vega's "La Hermosa Ester." I am currently working on an article-length study on "La Lozana Andaluza" and the manuscripts of Isabel de Carvajal. I look forward to working with the Touro Synagogue in Newport as my research focuses on the original population that settled in Newport at the time of the synagogue's founding in the early 17th century. I look forward to exposing students to this rich history at their doorstep.
Language learning is part of Salve Regina's Core Curriculum and is an opportunity for students to enrich themselves by exposure to new cultures and histories central to this country's history. Newport is a particularly special place in this regard. Founded with the idea of cultural hybridity, the composition of Newport remains diverse to the present day. Learning another language exposes students to new cultural contexts and ideas and gives students a critical lens through which to analyze their own culture. I believe in students actively engaging with other cultures. During my graduate studies at the University of California Irvine, I founded and ran a language exchange program that brought together university students learning Spanish with the local Spanish-speaking community. I plan to bring this program to Salve Regina's students and Newport's Spanish-speaking populations.