Ryan Szpiech is an Associate Professor in the Departments of Romance Languages and Literatures and Judaic Studies and an affiliate of the Department of Comparative Literature at the University of Michigan.
He studies the cultures and literatures of medieval Iberia, focusing especially on cultural interaction, exchange, and conflict. His interests converge around polemical writing (religious disputations and conflicts) and translation (of languages, alphabets, styles, beliefs, identities, and ideas) as elements defining the relations between Jews, Christians, and Muslims.
He has focused much of his research on religious conversion as a vehicle for cultural exchange (real and imagined) between disparate groups in the Middle Ages. His first book, _Conversion and Narrative: Reading and Religious Authority in Medieval Polemic_ (Pennsylvania, 2013), analyzed narratives of religious conversion and their function within polemical writing in the 12th to the 15th centuries. He has edited books on medieval exegesis, polemics, and science, and is currently working on a history of translation from Arabic in Iberia in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. He is currently editor-in-chief of the scholarly journal Medieval Encounters.