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Claire Morgan Gilbert
St. Louis University (St. Louis, MO 63103-2097)
The Arabic Voices of the Spanish Monarchy (1492-1700)

Preparation of a book-length study about the use of Arabic in Spain and Spanish territories during a period of anti-Arabic legislation and expulsions of Arabic speakers, 1492-1700.

I seek the support of an NEH Fellowship to complete a monograph on The Arabic Voices of the Spanish Monarchy (1492-1700). During the early modern period, the history of Spain was marked by anti-Arabic legislation and expulsions of Arabic speakers. This monograph explains how Arabic translators in this context found professional opportunities, and shows the continuous use of Arabic across Spanish territories. This project engages with topics including the administration of minorities, politics of language, family and empire, cultural intermediaries, and religious conversion. By combining archival testimony with analysis of discursive and legal tools that created cultural hierarchies, I show how Arabic translators took advantage of the same hierarchies they helped enforce. The continuous use of Arabic by these translators allows me to explore themes of language use and power relations that continue to resonate in contemporary society and across humanities disciplines.

Project fields:
Arabic Language; Linguistic Anthropology; Renaissance History

Fellowships for University Teachers

Research Programs

$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
7/1/2017 – 6/30/2018