Dr Carlos Yebra López is a Visiting Fellow in 2021-22 and will be at CRASSH in Easter Term 2022.
His research focuses on the revitalisation of Ladino by digital means. He is the co-founder and CEO of Ladino 21 Community Interest Company (Non-Executive Director: Alejandro Acero; External Advisor: Dr Eliezer Papo), a public outreach initiative and digital archive devoted to grassroots documentation of Ladino through audiovisual materials in Ladino produced in the 21st century. Ladino 21 enables Ladino speakers worldwide to document the multiple histories and versions of their common identity in various ways, with a focus on semi-structured interviews.
His research project ‘Documenting the Global Diaspora of Ladino in the 21st Century by Digital Means’ is best understood as an outgrowth of Ladino 21. Its goal is to transform the digital material archived in Ladino 21 into a monograph devoted to telling the global history of Sephardi Jews in the first two decades of the 21st century. Through a combination of historical contextualisation and philosophical discussion, a number of vignettes from Sephardi communities in Spain, Morocco, Brazil, France, Bosnia, Israel, Turkey, the US and Canada will help tell the history of Ladino in the 21st century, i.e., that of a vital and living language that preserves a plethora of traditions while adjusting its form and content to the realities of the contemporary world, including the addition of new performance genres, the use of gender-inclusive language, the discussion of Spanish and Portuguese citizenship laws, LGBTQIA rights and the intricacies of the digital world.
During his time at CRASSH, he will explore how language and digital archives are helping knit the worldwide Sephardi community together within the current context of a global village or community that on the one hand, functions as a homogenising force, and on the other, allows for the forging of bonds and networks of separate cultural, ethnic, or religious identities.
Dr Carlos Yebra Lopez is a Teaching Fellow in Spanish and Portuguese at New York University, and a Broome & Allen Fellow at the American Sephardi Federation. An Arabic reader and Ladino (Judeo-Spanish) speaker, his work interrogates contemporary Spain’s debt to its Muslim and Jewish past, particularly from a Global Iberian perspective.
In his PhD Dissertation, ‘Metaphors We Kill By: A Critical Metaphor Analysis of Spanish Mass Press Discourse on Jihadist Terrorist Resistance (2004/2017)’ he used digital corpus linguistics and critical discourse analysis to explore the ideological representation of the notions of ‘democracy’, ‘terrorism’ and ‘jihad’ (holy war) in two Spanish newspapers of record apropos the attacks of Madrid (2004) and Barcelona (2017). His book chapter ‘Medievalist Passports: Contested Rights of Return for the Descendants of Medieval Iberian Jews and Muslims’ (Al-Andalus in Motion: Travelling Concepts and Cross-Cultural Contexts, Kings College London Medieval Studies, 2021), allows us to make sense of the ideological role played by the Sephardim within the broader context of the weakening of the (Spanish) nation-State in a globalised scenario. This is key to his understanding of Judeo-Spanish as a privileged site of the Global Hispanophone, i.e., of how Ladino can spawn creative responses to standardised Spanish that throw into question its geographic, cultural and linguistic borders as a language of imperial power. This interrogation is also transversal to his recent manuscript ‘The Digital (De)territorialization of Ladino in the 21st century’ (Word: Journal of the International Linguistic Association, 2021). Since 2020, Dr Yebra López is the director of the public outreach initiatives ‘Ladino 21’ and ‘The Hyperpolyglot Activist: Learn Languages, Make a Difference‘, and since 2021, he has worked as a Research Director at ‘HYPIA: The International Association of Hyperpolyglots‘.