Rachel Kaufman on Poetry, Memory, and Crypto-Judaism in New Mexico

Welcome to the 18th episode of the Global History Podcast. Today, we’d like to welcome Rachel Kaufman, a rising second-year graduate student in the Department of History at UCLA.

In her own words, Rachel “works on Latin American and Jewish history. Her current research focuses on crypto-Jewish memory practices in New Mexico and Mexico from the late 15th century to the 20th century.” She is the author of the article, ‘Translating History’, published in Rethinking History: The Journal of Theory and Practice (2020). Her Yale senior essay, ‘Whispered Tradition: New Mexico Crypto-Jewish Memory, Origins to 2007’, was published in The Yale Historical Review (Spring, 2019). She is a contributing editor at the Journal for the History of Ideas Blog, where she has contributed pieces about her work.

Her poetry has appeared in multiple publications, including but not limited to poets.org, JuxtaProse, The Raw Art Review, Carve Magazine, Levee Magazine, and Good Works Review. She spent the year before she started graduate school in New Mexico, researching and writing her first poetry collection, based on the archival history and collective memory of New Mexican crypto-Judaism and the Mexican Inquisition. The completed work, entitled Many to Remember, was published by Dos Madres Press this past year. A selection of Rachel’s published poetry can also be found on her website: rachel-kaufman.com.

In September of 2020, before both of us started our PhD program in History at UCLA, I spoke with Rachel over skype about her work on crypto-Judaism in the New World, the complexities of memory practices, and the importance of poetry in translating the emotions and materiality of the historical archive. Listen on to find out more.

If you have any thoughts, questions, or comments about this episode, or would like to pitch us an idea for a new episode, feel free to email us at theglobalhistorypodcast@gmail.com, or send us a message on our website’s contact formfacebooktwitter, or instagram. If you would like to consult further resources on global history, feel free to visit our Further Resources page.

COVER IMAGE: Page from the Mexican Inquisition trial record of Luis de Carvajal y de la Cueva, Gobernador del Nuevo Reino de León, 1589. Image courtesy of The American Jewish Historical Society, and kindly provided by Rachel Kaufman.

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