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Research Interests

Monique Balbuena is a translator and a scholar of comparative literature and Jewish studies. Her research interests concern the relationship between language and identity, specifically how multilingual writers construct their identity through their choice of languages and intertexts. She has focused on literatures from North Africa's Maghreb and Latin America, and also given special attention to literatures by Sephardic Jews - roughly defined as those whose origins are in the Iberian Peninsula of Spain - especially works written in Ladino, the Sephardic language. She is among a handful of scholars examining the production of contemporary literature, particularly poetry, in Ladino. Balbuena analyzes Ladino not only within the landscape of Jewish literature, but also within the context of how literature written in minor languages informs our reading of canonical works.

Professor Balbuena is currently working on two book projects: Sephardic Literary Responses to the Holocaust, and Ladino Today: Cultural Representation, Language Revival and National Identity.