James Nemiroff is currently a Lecturer of Spanish in the Department of World Languages and Cultures here at Iowa State. He comes to the Department after earning his Ph.D in Romance Languages and Literatures from the University of Chicago in 2016. He also earned a second masters in Hispanic Philology from the Spanish National Research Council in Madrid in 2011. He joins the faculty of the World Languages and Cultures Department after having taught at the University of Chicago, in Barcelona at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra and as Visiting Assistant Professor of Spanish at Kalamazoo College.
His research focuses on the representation of Judaism in sixteenth- and seventeenth- century Spanish literature. More particularly, his scholarship analyzes the interconnectedness between literature, historiography, and religious practice in the Early Modern Spain and examines how religious identities and historical chronicles imitate each other to create performed forgeries. As distinct from other scholars in Early Modern Spanish history, literary studies and Jewish studies, his research investigates to what degree the terms “Hebrew” “converso” and “Jew” go beyond their sociological distinctions in the 16th and 17th centuries and become categories of performance. Dr. Nemiroff’s graduate studies and published articles consider religious identities as both figures of thought and figures of flesh and blood, exploring how religious traditions configure hermeneutic spaces that can be interpreted distinctly by Old Christians, converted Christians and Crypto-Jews.
He is currently at work on two interrelated research projects. The first, a digital humanities project is a collaborative concept dictionary on Early Modern Historical drama. The second is a book project arising out of my dissertation entitled Lope’s Forgeries: Lope’s Toledan Comedias as Dramatic Historiography.
If the central crux of his research agenda is to examine to what degree Judaism can be interpreted as a theory of performance, his teaching philosophy also align and dialogue with those interests. In all of the classes that he teaches, whether they are Spanish 101 classes, a seminar on Golden Age Spanish Literature or a Writing Seminar taught in English, he always preaches the importance of ánimo, which in his classroom possesses two meanings. In the 21st century context, ánimo signifies the adventurous spirit that my students should have as they learn a new language and perform a new sense of self in the process. However, being a Golden Age Spanish scholar by training, he also emphasizes the 17th century meaning, which refers to the courage that students must possess in order to take intellectual and personal risks during their time in his classroom and in college as a whole.