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About Dr. Federica Francesconi


[email protected]
(208) 459-5061
Strahorn Hall, 202


Jewish History, Society, and Culture in the Early Modern and Modern Age; Jewish-Christian Relations; History of the Inquisition; Family and Gender; Mediterranean History; Jewish Ceremonial Art; Israeli History and Culture.

Personal Statement

I grew up in Bologna in northern Italy that hosts that first university in Europe. I find that being on the faculty at The College of Idaho, the first academic institution that has hosted students in the state of Idaho, is a meaningful coincidence. I am honored to serve as the first Howard Berger-Ray Neilsen Chair in Judaic Studies. I feel deeply privileged to have the possibility to work with colleagues who are great teachers, accomplished scholars, and admirable administrators. But mostly I look forward to working with students of the college who impressed me since my first visit to campus with their degree of preparation and motivation; working with them will be indeed challenging and stimulating. In the fall I will be teaching “Jewish History” and “Introduction to Judaism.” When I don’t teach or do research, I like reading novels and poetry, riding, swimming, hiking, and… watching soccer and basketball!


Professional Experience

Federica Francesconi teaches a broad variety of courses in Jewish history, religion and culture, women and gender, Jewish-Christian-Muslim relations, Israeli culture and society, and the history of Jewish art. Her research and publications address the social, religious, and cultural aspects of the early modern and modern history of Jews in Italy, focusing on the multifaceted politics and dynamics of ghetto life. She is currently completing a book, Invisible Enlighteners: Modenese Jewry from Renaissance to Emancipation. Her next major project is titled “Cosmopolitan Intimacy: Jewish Spaces as Crossroads for Multi-Religious Communities in Eighteenth-Century Italy.” Federica has held fellowships at the University of Pennsylvania, the University of California, Los Angeles, and the University of Oxford. For the past three years, Federica has served as a visiting assistant professor in Jewish studies at the University of Oregon.



  • Ph. D., University of Haifa
  • M. A., Università di Bologna
  • B.A., Università di Bologna


  “La censura dei libri ebraici “infetti et perniziosi” nella Modena del Seicento: processi, negoziazioni e discussioni di ebrei e cristiani nei fori dell’Inquisizione,” Archivio Italiano per la Storia della Pietà 26, 2014: 383-407.
  “Confraternal Community as a Vehicle for Jewish Female Agency in Eighteenth-Century Italy,” in Faith’s Boundaries: Laity and Clergy in Early Modern Confraternities, ed. Nicholas Terpstra with Adriano Prosperi and Stefania Pastore (Turnout: Brepols 2013), 251-276.
  “‘This Passage Can also Be Read Differently…:’ How Jews and Christians Censored Hebrew Texts in Early Modern Modena,” Jewish History, Vol. 26, Nos. 1-2, 2012: 139-160.
   “Dangerous Readings in Early Modern Modena: Negotiating Jewish Culture in an Italian Key,” in Cooperation and Control: Producing Hebrew Books in Early Modern Italy, ed. Joseph Hacker and Adam Shear (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2011), 133-155.
   “From Ghetto to Emancipation: The Role of Moisè Formiggini” in Jewish History, Vol. 24, Nos. 2-3, 2010, 331-354.