Spotlight: Jacqueline Loss

Dr. Jacqueline Loss, professor of Latin American Literary and Culture Students and the Director of Graduate Studies at LCL, is an internationally published researcher and educator. She is the author of two books, numerous articles and book chapters and is the coeditor of one collection of essays and another anthology of short stories. Her primary research interests include Cuban literature, history, and culture, and she has translated into English the works of many prominent Cuban writers and artists such as Víctor Fowler Calzada, Ernesto René Rodríguez, Jorge Miralles, Jorge Mañach, and Anna Lidia Vega Serova.


Born in Connecticut, Loss developed a love for literature in translation from Latin America at a very early age. While Spanish is not her native language, she gained a familiarity with it early through her extended family. Her great-aunt, originally from Austria, had emigrated to Mexico, and her maternal grandfather, also an Austrian refugee, spoke Spanish fluently, attending to his many Spanish-speaking patients as a doctor in Bridgeport, Connecticut. “From the moment I learned to read,” Loss confessed, “I poured over books and started using literature as a means to escape.” She went on to do her undergraduate studies in Hispanic and Continental European Literatures at Boston University, where, through the guidance of some wonderful mentors, professors of Spanish themselves, she started speculating about a career as a professor. She carried out her graduate studies in comparative literature at the University of Texas at Austin.


In her research, Loss threads a delicate balance between her work in cultural studies, theory, and as a translator. Rather than having theory imposed on translation or having translations being wholly disconnected from theory, she believes in finding a middle path where both act as organic foils to each other allowing for the exploration of interesting questions of identity, politics, and history. Her second book, Dreaming in Russian: The Cuban Soviet Imaginary weaves this balance in exploring how Cubans remember the approximately three decades of diplomatic, political, economic, and cultural relations between the Soviet Union and Cuba and how they shaped the histories, identities, cultures, and linguistic orientations of Cubans both on the island and in diaspora. Drawing on interviews with Cuban artists and scholars along with resources from cinema and archival collections, Loss paints a rich tapestry of Cuban cultural heritage that shows how many in the island (and abroad) still retain aspects of the Soviet era in negotiating their lives, identities, and social relationships. Similarly, her translations highlight a range of complex psychological states, historical heritages, and personal testimonies that capture the diverse postcolonial and post-Soviet experiences of Cubans and Cuban Americans. They particularly show how such experiences can provide valuable interventions in thinking about theoretical questions related to local and global discourses of identity politics.


Loss’s interest in translation studies has also made its way into her classroom. She believes that effective teaching involves collaborative thinking and maintaining a dialogue with students that sometimes takes everyone out of their comfort zones. In her classes, students not only read and engage Latin American literatures and histories both in Spanish and in translation, they are also encouraged to be translators themselves, to gain a first-hand experience about challenges and rewards of working with multiple languages and cultural contexts. She recalls that a few years ago in a writing seminar, filled largely with seniors and Spanish majors, students collaborated with one another and with her in carrying out a rough initial translation of a canonical essay by Jorge Mañach. From this act of translating,” she notes, “students learned not just about history, literature, and translation theory, but also about how to transplant early twentieth century registers of Cuban writing into US English.” Students also made use of various digital tools, and were fortunate enough to hear first-hand from several expert guests, including our very own librarian Marisol Ramos. Praising the guest lecturers that influenced her strongly throughout her undergraduate and graduate studies, Loss tries to regularly invite scholars and artists to our department. Since the class, Loss has been steadily revising this translation. In fact, it has recently been published by Linkgua in Barcelona, Spain, with acknowledgements to the contributions of all of her students. In the near future, she hopes to offer a translation studies class at the graduate level where she envisions doing similar collaborative work with students.


Arnab Dutta Roy

Spotlight: Simone Puleo

Simone Maria Puleo is a PhD candidate in the Comparative Literary and Cultural Studies section of LCL. He is a native of Palermo, Sicily and moved to the United States when his parents decided to relocate their pastry business, living briefly in New York and Connecticut before settling in South Florida. Before coming to UConn Simone obtained a BA and an MA in English at Florida Atlantic University. After the bustle of Boca Raton, Simone loved the tranquility at the University of Connecticut.


Growing up in the United States, Simone was exposed to English novels, such as Lord of the Flies, while in the American school system. At home he had access to many classics of Italian literature, such as Dante’s Divina Commedia. When he applied to CLCS at UConn, Simone decided to build on the interdisciplinary approach acquired during his undergraduate degree to bring together his interests in English Literature and in his Italian roots. He has found a real home in CLCS because it has provided him with the freedom to pursue work across disciplines: he is working under Wayne Franklin in English, Sarah Winter in CLCS, and with Norma Bouchard, an Italian professor previously in LCL who is now Dean of the College of Arts and Letters at San Diego State University.


Reflecting on his hybrid of cultural background, Simone developed an interest in works at the intersection of Italian and American literatures and cultures. He decided to explore an unusual vein of nineteenth-century travel writing—Americans traveling to Italy during the Risorgimento (the Italian Unification Movement). These visitors to Italy arrived during a moment when liberal and anti-clerical political sentiments were on the rise. The Americans travelers, mostly of Protestant background, tended to fall into two categories: those that saw Italy as an “open-air museum” that fetishized Italian artworks and the legend of the Renaissance, and the travelers who enjoyed art and history, but who were more invested in its people, in contemporary Italian politics, and in what was happening in Italian society. This latter group of travelers, including the famed transcendentalist author Margaret Fuller, became active in the political debates of the Risorgimento instead of contenting themselves with a more superficial cultural engagement.


Simone brings his personal interests and bi-cultural background into the classes he teaches and to his music. He’s played music his whole life, experimenting with genres ranging from Brazilian percussion to punk rock. While he says that he sees his music as a “respite from academic work,” the two nonetheless inform each other. He uses the poetry and the poetics he has internalized while studying literature to help him write lyrics for his songs. His tendency to merge disciplines has not only been beneficial to his music, it has also shaped his approach to teaching. In a twentieth-century Italian literature class he taught recently, Simone had his students look for visual representations of the cityscapes in Italo Calvino’s novel Invisible Cities. From this vantage point, students could reflect on the connections between modes of storytelling whether oral written, or visual. Simone believes that the merging of fields is essential to cultivating geopolitical and critical awareness in the students.

Valerio Cappozzo’s Medieval Dream Dictionary

The Italian Studies and the Medieval Studies programs welcomed the return of Valerio Cappozzo to present his just release book, Dizionario dei sogni nel medoevo: Il Somniale Danielis in manoscritti letterari (Dream Dictionary of the Middle Ages: the Somniale Danielis in literary manuscripts). Dr Cappozzo directs the Italian Language program at The University of Mississippi. He had presented the early results of his work during a visit to UConn in 2007. Although passionate about how dream symbolism relates to literature, he joked that his project had been such a long time coming that it had “become a real nightmare” for him.

Cappozzo discussed the significance of dreams and how the interpretation of symbols found in dreams can be applied to literature to make sense of an author’s intentions. We know people have been interpreting dreams since at least the beginning of representation and in that history, there is a remarkable coherence between dream interpretations and dreamed symbol archetypes. He used “tooth” as an example for a dream symbol: between 1220 BC Egypt and today, losing a tooth has been consistently viewed as a bad omen, most often as a premonition of death. He notes that the desire to find meanings in dreams was as manifest in the Middle Ages as it is now, though the frameworks for exploring this has changed profoundly due to vast transformation in culture, science, and religion since then. That dreams retain a certain symbolic consistency over time despite that change is one reason we keep returning to them.

In his talk Dr Cappozzo focused on the dream symbols found in the Somniale Danielis, “the Dreams of Daniel”, a book of symbols used by Daniel in the Book of Daniel to interpret dreams he believed to be prophetic. He then went on to an analysis of the dream symbols in the Divina Commedia a work in which dreams are used systematically to foreshadow events later in the cycle.

Prof Cappozzo said that there is a disconnect between dreams and reality that makes it difficult to establish simple equations between them the link between the one and the other. While dreams can recall fragments of reality, they do so following an unconscious logic of their own. In the original manuscript of Somniale Danielis, the complexity of dreams is reduced to a series of symbolic structures in order to make their potential meanings more available. Dr Cappozzo concluded with a quote from Cinderella to encapsulate one of the reasons he believes we keep searching for their meaning: “A dream is a wish your heart makes.”

by Olivia Merchen

Translating Cuban Letters with Kristin Dykstra and Anna Kushner

On September 12th, the award-winning translators, Anna Kushner and Kristin Dykstra, spoke about the challenges of translating Cuban works for an English-speaking audience in the US in an event titled “Translating Cuban Letters” hosted by LCL. Kushner is the translator of prominent Cuban works such as The Autobiography of Fidel Castro by Norberto Fuentes, and The Halfway House by Guillermo Rosales. Dykstra is a writer, literary translator, and scholar who has translated authors including Reina María Rodríguez, Juan Carlos Flores, and Angel Escobar among others. Both the speakers emphasized that the work of a translator does not only involve an attention to differences in language, but also to the contexts in which language makes meaning.

The translators discussed translation as a mode of understanding and making visible the immense diversity in the diasporic experiences of Cubans and Cuban Americans both within and beyond the United States. Kushner used the example of her translation of The Halfway House to emphasize how Guillermo Rosales captures many of these experiences in stories that include meditations on complex psychological states, crisscrossing cultural narratives, and interweaving histories involving the US, Cuba, Spain, and Russia. Dykstra, on the other hand, foregrounded the way her work helped to break stereotypical perceptions of Cuban culture, replacing the images of “mojitos and old cars” with new narratives that capture the diverse lived experiences of the people of Cuba. Translating figures like Rodrigues, Flores, and Escobar, each from different regions of Cuba, has allowed her to offer a more complex image of the island’s many cultures and peoples.

The event garnered an active participation from an audience that included LCL faculty and graduate students. Professors including Jacqueline Loss, Odette Casamayor-Cisneros, and Peter Constantine enriched the conversation by sharing their views on issues ranging from the challenges and rewards of translating across linguistic and cultural barriers, the institutional and identity politics of translation to the future of translation studies within the broader fields of the humanities and the social sciences in the US.

by Arnab Roy

LCL Lecture: Valérie Saugera and the Secret Language of Butchers

On February 21st, Professor Valérie Saugera described her current research on “Louchébem,” a secret language spoken by Parisian butchers. Saugera is a contact linguist who has published widely on anglicisms in the French language. In this new project she marries linguistics and anthropological research to explore a language that many considered dead. Saugera’s research shows that it is very much alive and used still used by a significant number of butchers in Paris.

She first heard about Louchébem over 10 years ago, while doing her PhD at Indiana University. She describes Louchébem as a “means of disguising vocabulary.” Not quite qualifying as a wholesale language, but more than just vocabulary, Louchébem turns out to be a language system. Speakers replace the first consonant in a French word with the letter “L”, move the original consonant to the end, and add a complex list of suffixes to the end. Thus the word for “boucher” (butcher in English) turns into “Louchébem.”  In her lecture, Saugera focused primarily on the suffixes. What she seeks to understand is the degree to which the suffixes of Louchébem are predictive. This will in turn tell us how much Louchebem operates as a language.

We know that Louchébem was already used among butchers in the 13th century and is the first language used by a guild. Evidence of Louchébem has been recorded in various forms ever since, but it use seems to have seriously declined during the Mad Cow Disease crisis of 1991. Studying what is essentially an oral practice, “means accepting gaps in the data and unanswered questions,” Saugera says. The “literature is sparse… There is a plethora of urban myth and tales,” she adds. Only two scholarly articles exist on the topic, but via a wide sample of interviews, Saugera has been able to uncover many details about this supposedly dead language.

Saugera has interviewed 153 butchers and identified 16 suffixes. What is most fascinating is that half of the butchers she interviewed do not know really understand the grammar of Louchébem word formation, they have simply memorized words – a finding that she describes as the “most surprising” thus far. She has also learned from the interviews that, because butchers in France are traditionally male, female family members have usually only a passing knowledge of it. That is, they can often understand it, but do not speak it.

Butchery is a declining industry due to scandals with slaughterhouses, the taxation on meat, and the rise of vegetarianism/veganism. However, Saugera noted that Louchébem has assumed surprising new forms, for instance, in email addresses. The next question Saugera will pose in her ongoing research concerns the consequences of losing a language like Louchébem and why it is crucial to save these “micro-languages”. According to one of her interviewees, “France is the country of conversation, of chit chat… in some ways the practice of Louchébem is a miracle of its own”.

By Claire Boers

Spotlight Sherry Shamash

Sherry Shamash, a beloved instructor of Hebrew has been teaching in LCL for more than 35 years. A Massachusetts native, Sherry earned an MA in Religion from Smith College with a concentration on Jews in the Muslim World. She became a full-time faculty member in the LCL department in 2012.

She is recognized for her dedication to teaching. Her priory, she explains, is “to communicate enthusiasm and get students excited.” In her three classes – elementary, intermediate, and advanced Hebrew – she continually ties her language lessons to current and historic global events. Each semester, her students give an oral presentation. In the first semester, they act out a skit, in the second they tell a story, in the third they produce a commercial, and in the fourth they prepare a cooking presentation. In the advanced courses, the students choose a special topic or period and Sherry designs the course content accordingly. One semester the class covered the Jewish experience during Islamic rule in Spain. Another semester, Sherry discussed the Six-Day War and how popular songs reflect on the events. “This was very emotional at times,” she recalls, “because the students watched videos that re-enacted tragic events during the war.” This year Sherry’s class chose Israeli humor. “There is so much material!” she says, some of which includes short videos or little jokes that stem directly from the WhatsApp conversations between her and her family in Israel.

When it comes to student enrollment, Sherry wishes that there was more cross-pollination between the different sections and departments. “There are so many archaeological excavations in Israel, for instance,” Sherry says, “and knowing some Hebrew would be very useful to students in anthropology.” However, she is aware that students do not always have a lot of flexibility in their schedules to study languages on the side. In the case of Hebrew, she wants students to know that they should not be intimidated by the alphabet. “It is completely phonetic,” she explains, “and students master it within the first two weeks.” Her students all have very different backgrounds, “but everyone who makes the effort succeeds and I am always willing to give extra help.” A nice treat for her students is the movie night she organizes each year. The students do different assessments of the films depending on their level and she brings dinner for them. To see her teaching in action and to hear some of her students describe their experiences in class, take a look at the short video “Why Hebrew?”, produced and posted by UConn’s Center for Judaic Studies.


By Maria Reger

German Studies Professor Makes Climate Change a Humanistic Field

Have you been worried about rising global temperatures? Concerned about fossil fuel emissions? Perhaps distressed by the destruction of the Earth due to climate change? Good news: Professor Sabine von Mering discussed a more positive outlook on climate change and what is being done to stop it in her talk “The Good News About Climate Change” on Thursday afternoon.

Von Mering, a professor of German studies at Brandeis University, presented a hopeful discussion of the measures Germany and other European countries are undertaking to halt climate change. She spoke on how the world can look to Germany as a leader in creating sensible, environmentally-friendly policies.

To start her presentation, von Mering passed out index cards and instructed the audience to write down any words that they associated with climate change. When she asked for some words, the audience members gave her such words as “ozone,” “greenhouse gas” and “fracking.”

She then asked the audience members for words that described their desires for their future and the future of their children. This request elicited such words as “health,” “happiness” and “safety.”

Von Mering noted the difference between the two groups of words, stating that the first set was more scientific and the second set was more general and included things most people want for themselves and for others. She used this difference to launch her discussion on why climate change needs to be considered a socio-cultural problem. She insisted the scientific debate about whether climate change is happening is over and the people who study culture must now advocate for environmentally-friendly ways of living.

“Climate change belongs in the humanities,” von Mering said.

Throughout her talk, von Mering discussed the proven ways of mitigating climate change, including building renewable energy infrastructure, using public transportation, consuming less and from local sources, eating a plant-based diet with less dairy and meat and, perhaps most controversially, she noted, family planning.

During her discussion, von Mering gave examples of how Germans are leading the fight against climate change and pollution. For instance, she played a video taken in the town of Vauben, a German city in which traffic patterns were rearranged so one part of the city was free from noise pollution. This allowed residents to better appreciate nature. She also noted similar action taken in Clichy-Batignolle, a neighborhood of Paris, France.

Von Mering explained bikes can serve as alternatives to personal cars, a big contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. She detailed the rich bicycle culture in Glasgow, Barcelona and Warsaw and the widespread public transportation in Zurich. She also emphasized Germany’s decision to refrain from using nuclear power and Germany’s fossil fuel divestment.

She explained Germany had been able to make so many strides forward because of its stable policy-making environment. Von Mering pointed out “there is a culture of coalitions [in Germany], which means there’s negotiation, there’s compromise and continuity from one administration to another, whereas here [in America], it is almost built-in that that can’t happen.”

Von Mering ended her discussion optimistically by noting how effective change can be made by a committed group of people, noting the example of the fall of the Berlin Wall.

“I think that you all have a job to do and that starts with raising your voices,” von Mering told the audience.

“I thought it was an interesting statement, embedding environmental concerns in Germany into European and worldwide concerns and showing the example of Germany as one of the countries that try to find solutions for current environmental and, specifically, climate change problems,” Katharina von Hammerstein, a professor of German studies at UConn, whose students attended the talk, said.

“I think Professor von Mering … did a very good job spotlighting certain areas of concern and mixing the very personal experience with the global picture,” von Hammerstein said of the speaker.

“The Good News About Climate Change” was hosted by the Department of Literatures, Cultures and Languages and the Languages Graduate Student Association (LANGSA), as part of UConn Metanoia on the Environment.

Taken from Stephanie Santillo, “There is Good News in the Fight about Climate Change” in The Daily Campus, 02/23/2018

UConn-Based Press Wins Acclaim; LCL’s Jeanne Bonner wins PEN

World Poetry Books, a new literary press established in December 2017 by LCL’s Program in Literary Translation, received international attention after the celebrated poet Anne Carson named its two first titles as her favorite books of 2017. Writing in the Paris Review, Carson noted: “This year, I read two unusually excellent new poetry books from Greece, in unusually excellent translation. Both were published by World Poetry Books. They were: Homerica by Phoebe Giannisi, translated by Brian Sneeden, and Rose Fear by Maria Laina, translated by Sarah McCann.” Both books are available online at Amazon.

World Poetry Books under the direction of acclaimed translator Peter Constantine is a nonprofit press and will publish a minimum of six books a year ranging from new and cutting edge European poetry, to works from overlooked, underrepresented, and indigenous languages. Upcoming titles include translations from Chinese, French, German, and Swedish, as well as the works translated from indigenous languages such as Deori, Gamilaraay, Māori, Ngarluma and Yindjibarndi.

LCL has received yet another piece of wonderful news relating to the translations programs directed by Peter Constantine at both the graduate and undergraduate levels, who joined the faculty of LCL only two years ago, in 2016. Jeanne Bonner, one of our graduate students in the Italian Studies program has been named the 2018 recipient of the PEN Grant for the English Translation of Italian Literature, for her translation of A Walk in the Shadows, by Mariateresa Di Lascia.

PEN’s description of Bonner’s work in its prize announcement read as follows:

Through Bonner’s scrupulous and effective translation, Di Lascia’s rich descriptive prose guides the reader on a passionate “walk in the shadows” of women’s lives in a village of the Italian deep South, where the protagonist is retracing significant moments of her life and seeking “the genesis of all of the deceptions.” With her own peculiarities, Di Lascia has been compared to Elsa Morante, and her work is also said to recall that of Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa, author of the Italian classic The Leopard.

In the house where I have stayed after everyone left and silence finally descended, I drag myself around lazily, covered in dust and wearing my old clothes. Piled high against the wall are boxes bursting with cloth that I bought at sweaty Friday flea markets. I’m now free not to miss any of those markets, and when I go, I have the whole morning to roam among the stands and ransack with both hands the colorful, dirty fabrics that someone, who will remain forever unknown to me, wore many years ago…

Now that old age is approaching and I’ve stopped bleeding early without explanation, my humble appearance and the wrinkles that are late in coming protect me even more than the slovenly clothing that covers my body. Dressed up like this, ageless and sexless, I can finally laugh off the world.

It wasn’t always this way.

Another UConn graduate student received a PEN grant. Brian Sneeden of the English department received the prestigious award for his translation of Pheobe Giannisi’s upcoming book Rhapsodia.

For more information on World Poetry Books or translation at UConn, please contact program director Peter Constantine at: peter.constantine@uconn.edu

Katharina von Hammerstein: Women’s Perspectives on Colonial War

On November 29, Katharina von Hammerstein gave the second presentation in LCL’s Colloquia series on “Women Writing War: Polyphony on Violence in the German-Herero Colonial War.” A professor of German studies, von Hammerstein’s areas of expertise include literature and culture from the eighteenth to the early twentieth-century, women’s literature, and (post)colonial German-African connections. In her talk, she demonstrated the many ways in which both German and Herero women made sense of and attempted to come to terms with the eruption of violence in former German South West Africa (today’s Namibia).

Building on Johan Galtung’s concept of violence, von Hammerstein explained how structural violence from the German side led to the Herero and Nama uprising in 1904. During this uprising, Herero and Nama targeted white men as the “representatives of [oppressive] power,” including settlers and soldiers. They nonetheless explicitly spared women and children, often even bringing them to safety in the midst of violence. In contrast, the German response was merciless and driven by a racist ideology. Few voiced any protest about it with the exception of the German socialist politician August Bebel. The twentieth century’s first genocide was therefore carried out unopposed under the leadership of the now infamous general Lothar von Trotha who killed black men, women, and children alike. Herero and Nama people were deliberately driven from their homes, left to perish in the Omaheke desert or in concentration camps.

While the women’s perspectives differed depending on which side of the conflict they found themselves on, there are parallels in the ways they frame their interpretations. The white German voices von Hammerstein presented were those of settler wives. Else Sonnenberg, for instance, vividly describes the horrors of witnessing the murder of her husband and the looting of her home during the rebellion. Von Hammerstein argued that Sonnenberg foregrounds her victimhood while at the same time claiming agency in helping to “write colonial history.” Testimonies from Herero women are harder to find not only in terms of the quantity of records left, but also in their accessibility to Western scholars. They exist in form of interviews, songs, or oral histories in Otjiherero, the Herero language. Herero women bewail their traumatic losses like the white women, depicting their victimhood through the atrocities against themselves and their people. They, too, express agency in supporting, preserving, and advocating for their community. The critical difference between the two groups of women and their testimonies, von Hammerstein concluded in her compelling talk, resided in the role race played in the colonizing dynamic: while the white womens’ lives were “respected in their precariousness,” black lives did not matter to German imperialists. The advances in “emancipation” for German women in Africa “[thus came] at the expense of non-whites.”

Susan Einbinder Speaks on The Black Death to Initiate LCL Lecture Series

On October 11, Susan Einbinder inaugurated this year’s LCL Lecture Series with her talk “Bone, Stone, and Text: Tàrrega 1348.” Eibinder, who is a professor of Hebrew & Judaic Studies and of Comparative Literature, has earned many of the most prestigious fellowships in the humanities including a Guggenheim, and fellowships at the Center for Advanced Studies at Princeton and at the National Center for the Humanities in Research Triangle Park, NC among others. Her talk presented a case study from her forthcoming book After the Black Death: Plague and Commemoration among Iberian Jews (University of Pennsylvania, 2018) that explores the history of Jewish persecution and its representations during the Black Death in Spain.

Eibinder’s talk gracefully layered archeological findings, a patchy historical record, and eyewitness representations of the events, some of them poetic, to weave together a complex narrative about a massacre of Jews that occurred at Tàrrega, just north of Barcelona, following an outbreak of the plague in 1348. Einbinder reconstructs what she can of the sequence of causes and motives leading to and then following from the massacre. As she does so, she articulates what is particular about the massacre in Tàrrega even as she connects it to a longer chain of Jewish persecutions in response to the Black Death across Europe. Her careful vetting of the evidence then itself becomes a platform from which she asks her audience to recognize conventions that tend to organize testimonies about persecution and violence. She describes how such narratives tend to cast victims and victimizers in fairly stark opposition for reasons that include scriptural tradition, poetic, cultural, and narrative convention, as well as a psychological need to apportion blame unambiguously.

The case of Tàrrega was one in which the violence against Jews was particularly unsparing, and yet, even here we find deviations from the script that neatly divides antagonists and victims. Though the murders at Tàrrega were at least partly the result of religious intolerance among its Catholic inhabitants, counter-intuitively the Catholic court stepped in to punish the perpetrators, including even the mayor and other notables. And yet, although the court imposed fines and required that the town reconstruct its Jewish Quarter, in the end, it never followed through on most of its sanctions. As a result, the few records that have come down to us suggest that those Jews who did survive did not feel safe enough to return to their former homes. And though the evidence suggests a harrowing level of persecution, it turns out that many towns did not experience the levels of violence witnessed in Tàrrega. Ultimately, Einbinder’s work points to a need for special attention when we encounter persecution narratives, not in the aim of dismissing them, but instead with an eye towards restoring what we can of the specificity that they often conceal. What is at stake is not only a better understanding of the causes of ethnic violence, but also a better history and knowledge of how language is used to mobilize, commemorate, denounce or rationalize collective violence.